Anxiety Home > Paxil for OCD
Paxil® (paroxetine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication approved to treat several conditions affecting the brain, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Paxil is part of a group of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs for short. SSRIs affect a specific chemical within the brain known as serotonin. When the levels of serotonin become unbalanced, it can cause conditions such as OCD. Paxil helps block the reuptake of serotonin so that more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells.
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have intense and recurrent unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or rituals (compulsions) that they feel they cannot control. Rituals such as hand washing, counting, checking something, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these rituals, however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them greatly increases anxiety.
In clinical studies, up to 24 percent of adults using Paxil for OCD treatment reported their symptoms were "much improved," compared to only 11 percent of those who were not taking the medication. Only 3 to 7 percent of people taking Paxil felt that their OCD was worse, compared to 14 percent of people not taking the drug.
(Click Paxil Uses for more information on the conditions that Paxil can treat, including details on how this medication works. This article also discusses off-label uses of the drug.)