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Effectiveness of Paxil in Treating Different Mental Disorders
In the list of top 200 prescription drugs in the United States Paxil occupied the 14th line (according to the total amount of prescriptions issued in 2005). Impressive success isn’t it? This article is meant to investigate whether such a success was provided by the unique effectiveness of the medication in treating mental disorders or by the extremely effective marketing program of the drug manufacturer.
 
First of all, it should be mentioned that Paxil or Paxil CR (its updated version) is a modern antidepressant of the SSRIs family, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the treatment for a group of different mental disorders. The effectiveness of the medication in treating patients with a particular disorder was shown in a number of clinical trials, and the results of some will be summarized below.
 
Major Depressive Disorder. The effectiveness of Paxil in treating this type of depression was officially established in two placebo-controlled studies, in which both young and elderly patients with major depression participated. The therapeutic effect provided by Paxil was compared to the effect of placebo (“sugar” pill). Naturally, the medication provided better results in treating depression than a “sugar” pill. Over a year only 15% of patients taking Paxil experienced depression recurrences vs. 39% of those, who was treated with sugar pills. It is worth to note, that those studies also showed that Paxil was equally effective for men and women.
 
Panic Disorder. According to the product labeling information, there were three clinical trials conducted to assess the efficacy of Paxil in treating panic disorder. Two of the studies proved the efficacy of the medication in reducing the number of panic attacks or even their complete elimination. However, the third study showed that Paxil effect in treating panic disorder was equal to the efficacy of placebo pills.
 
Social Anxiety Disorder. Here the results of the clinical studies presented obvious evidences of Paxil effectiveness. 64% of those patients, who received Paxil as the treatment for social anxiety disorder, reported that their condition was very much improved or much improved in result of Paxil treatment course. For comparison, only 34.7 % of the participants treated with placebo pills noted some improvements of their condition (author note: as for me, 34 % of effectiveness is also a great achievement for the sugar pill; taking into account 0% of side effects, perhaps, placebo may also be considered as the treatment option for social anxiety disorder:).
 
Premenstrual Disphoric Disorder.  In the clinical studies the doses of 12.5 and 25 mg of Paxil was used to treat women with PMDD. As the drug label says Paxil was “significantly more effective” than placebo pills in helping women treat the symptoms of premenstrual disphoric disorder.
 
Along with the official data on the effectiveness of Paxil, it is also interesting to investigate the evaluation of the medicine by patients, who use Paxil in real life instead of clinical conditions of the official trial procedures.
 
According to the database on the www.askapatient.com, Paxil received 2.9 average rating on the 5-grade scale. The patients feedbacks on this medication vary from purely negative statements, like “it was the worst antideppresant I have ever been on” and “Too many side effects and not enough depression relief to be worthwhile” to quite positive and motivating feedbacks like “This drug has DRASTICALLY improved my life” or “This medication has effectively saved my life”.
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In general, the success of Paxil treatment just as many other medications, especially those, which work in human brains, depends much on many factors, including individual peculiarities of the patient, his health condition, environment, proper medical diagnosis of the problem and defining the optimal treatment option.
 
By the way, it looks like that the popularity of Paxil has decreased during the past years - according to the statistics, in year 2007 Paxil descended to the 123 place in the list of the top prescription medicines in the USA, yielding leading position to other antidepressants, such as Lexapro, Effexor, and Cymbalta.
 
Nick


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