Paroxetine: Package Insert and Label Information (Page 4 of 6)


Paroxetine tablets, USP contains paroxetine hydrochloride, an SSRI. It is the hydrochloride salt of a phenylpiperidine compound identified chemically as (-)- trans -4 R -(4′-fluorophenyl)-3 S -[(3′,4′- methylenedioxyphenoxy) methyl] piperidine hydrochloride hemihydrate and has the molecular formula of C 19 H 20 FNO 3 •HCl•1/2H 2 O. The molecular weight is 374.8 (329.4 as free base). The structural formula of paroxetine hydrochloride is:

Structural Formula
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Paroxetine hydrochloride, USP is an odorless, white to off-white crystalline powder, having a melting point range of 120°C to 138°C. It is freely soluble in methanol, soluble in ethanol, sparingly soluble in dichloromethane and slightly soluble in water.

Each paroxetine tablet, USP intended for oral administration contains paroxetine hydrochloride hemihydrate equivalent to 10 mg or 20 mg or 30 mg or 40 mg of paroxetine. Each film-coated tablet contains 10 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, or 40 mg of paroxetine equivalent to 11.1 mg, 22.2 mg, 33.3 mg or 44.4 mg of paroxetine hydrochloride, respectively. In addition, each tablet contains the following inactive ingredients: dibasic calcium phosphate anhydrous, hypromellose 6 cP, lactose anhydrous, magnesium stearate, polyethylene glycol 6000, povidone, sodium starch glycolate, talc, and titanium dioxide.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of action of paroxetine in the treatment of MDD, SAD, OCD\, PD, GAD, and PTSD is unknown, but is presumed to be linked to potentiation of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system resulting from inhibition of neuronal reuptake of serotonin (5-hydroxy-tryptamine, 5-HT).

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

Studies at clinically relevant doses in humans have demonstrated that paroxetine blocks the uptake of serotonin into human platelets. In vitro studies in animals also suggest that paroxetine is a potent and highly selective inhibitor of neuronal serotonin reuptake (SSRI) and has only very weak effects on norepinephrine and dopamine neuronal reuptake.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Nonlinearity in pharmacokinetics is observed with increasing doses of paroxetine.

In a meta-analysis of paroxetine from 4 studies done in healthy volunteers following multiple dosing of 20 mg/day to 40 mg/day, males did not exhibit a significantly lower C max or AUC than females.

Paroxetine hydrochloride is completely absorbed after oral dosing of a solution of the hydrochloride salt. In a study in which normal male subjects (n = 15) received 30 mg tablets daily for 30 days, steady-state paroxetine concentrations were achieved by approximately 10 days for most subjects, although it may take substantially longer in an occasional patient. At steady state, mean values of C max , T max , C min , and T ½ were 61.7 ng/mL (CV 45%), 5.2 hr. (CV 10%), 30.7 ng/mL (CV 67%), and 21.0 hours (CV 32%), respectively. The steady-state C max and C min values were about 6 and 14 times what would be predicted from single-dose studies. Steady-state drug exposure based on AUC 0-24 was about 8 times greater than would have been predicted from single-dose data in these subjects. The excess accumulation is a consequence of the fact that 1 of the enzymes that metabolizes paroxetine is readily saturable.

Paroxetine is equally bioavailable from the oral suspension and tablet.

Effect of Food
The effects of food on the bioavailability of paroxetine were studied in subjects administered a single dose with and without food. AUC was only slightly increased (6%) when drug was administered with food but the C max was 29% greater, while the time to reach peak plasma concentration decreased from 6.4 hours post-dosing to 4.9 hours.

Paroxetine distributes throughout the body, including the CNS, with only 1% remaining in the plasma.

Approximately 95% and 93% of paroxetine is bound to plasma protein at 100 ng/mL and 400 ng/mL, respectively. Under clinical conditions, paroxetine concentrations would normally be less than 400 ng/mL. Paroxetine does not alter the in vitro protein binding of phenytoin or warfarin.

The mean elimination half-life is approximately 21 hours (CV 32%) after oral dosing of 30 mg tablets daily for 30 days of paroxetine.

In steady-state dose proportionality studies involving elderly and nonelderly patients, at doses of 20 mg to 40 mg daily for the elderly and 20 mg to 50 mg daily for the nonelderly, some nonlinearity was observed in both populations, again reflecting a saturable metabolic pathway. In comparison to C min values after 20 mg daily, values after 40 mg daily were only about 2 to 3 times greater than doubled.

Paroxetine is extensively metabolized after oral administration. The principal metabolites are polar and conjugated products of oxidation and methylation, which are readily cleared. Conjugates with glucuronic acid and sulfate predominate, and major metabolites have been isolated and identified. Data indicate that the metabolites have no more than 1/50 the potency of the parent compound at inhibiting serotonin uptake. The metabolism of paroxetine is accomplished in part by CYP2D6. Saturation of this enzyme at clinical doses appears to account for the nonlinearity of paroxetine kinetics with increasing dose and increasing duration of treatment. The role of this enzyme in paroxetine metabolism also suggests potential drug-drug interactions [see Drug Interactions (7)]. Pharmacokinetic behavior of paroxetine has not been evaluated in subjects who are deficient in CYP2D6 (poor metabolizers).

Approximately 64% of a 30-mg oral solution dose of paroxetine was excreted in the urine with 2% as the parent compound and 62% as metabolites over a 10-day post-dosing period. About 36% was excreted in the feces (probably via the bile), mostly as metabolites and less than 1% as the parent compound over the 10-day post-dosing period.

Drug Interaction Studies There are clinically significant, known drug interactions between paroxetine and other drugs [see Drug Interactions (7)].

Figure 1 Impact of Paroxetine on the Pharmacokinetics of Co-Administered Drugs (log scale)

Figure 1 Impact of Paroxetine on the Pharmacokinetics of Co-Administered Drugs (log scale)
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Figure 2 Impact of Co-Administered Drugs on the Pharmacokinetics of Paroxetine

Figure 2 Impact of Co-Administered Drugs on the Pharmacokinetics of Paroxetine
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Theophylline: Reports of elevated theophylline levels associated with paroxetine treatment have been reported. While this interaction has not been formally studied, it is recommended that theophylline levels be monitored when these drugs are concurrently administered.

Drugs Metabolized by Cytochrome CYP3A4
An in vivo interaction study involving the co-administration under steady-state conditions of paroxetine and terfenadine, a substrate for CYP3A4, revealed no effect of paroxetine on terfenadine pharmacokinetics. In addition, in vitro studies have shown ketoconazole, a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4 activity, to be at least 100 times more potent than paroxetine as an inhibitor of the metabolism of several substrates for this enzyme, including terfenadine, astemizole, cisapride, triazolam, and cyclosporine. Paroxetine’s extent of inhibition of CYP3A4 activity is not expected to be of clinical significance.

Specific Populations The impact of specific populations on the pharmacokinetics of paroxetine are shown in Figure 3.

The recommended starting dosage and maximum dosage of paroxetine is reduced in elderly patients, patients with severe renal impairment, and patients with severe hepatic impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].

Figure 3 Impact of Specific Population on the Pharmacokinetics of Paroxetine (log scale)

Figure 3 Impact of Specific Population on the Pharmacokinetics of Paroxetine (log scale)
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13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility

Two-year carcinogenicity studies were conducted in rodents given paroxetine in the diet at 1 mg/kg/day, 5 mg/kg/day and 25 mg/kg/day (mice) and 1 mg/kg/day, 5 mg/kg/day and 20 mg/kg/day (rats). These doses are up to 2.0 (mouse) and 3.2 (rat) times the MRHD of 75 mg on a mg/m 2 basis. There was a significantly greater number of male rats in the high-dose group with reticulum cell sarcomas (1/100, 0/50, 0/50, and 4/50 for control, low-, middle-, and high-dose groups, respectively) and a significantly increased linear trend across dose groups for the occurrence of lymphoreticular tumors in male rats.

Female rats were not affected. Although there was a dose-related increase in the number of tumors in mice, there was no drug-related increase in the number of mice with tumors. The relevance of these findings to humans is unknown.

Paroxetine produced no genotoxic effects in a battery of 5 in vitro and 2 in vivo assays that included the following: Bacterial mutation assay, mouse lymphoma mutation assay, unscheduled DNA synthesis assay, and tests for cytogenetic aberrations in vivo in mouse bone marrow and in vitro in human lymphocytes and in a dominant lethal test in rats.

Impairment of Fertility Some clinical studies have shown that SSRIs (including paroxetine) may affect sperm quality during SSRI treatment, which may affect fertility in some men.

A reduced pregnancy rate was found in reproduction studies in rats at a dose of paroxetine of 15 mg/kg/day, which is 2.4 times the MRHD of 75 mg on a mg/m 2 basis. Irreversible lesions occurred in the reproductive tract of male rats after dosing in toxicity studies for 2 to 52 weeks. These lesions consisted of vacuolation of epididymal tubular epithelium at 50 mg/kg/day and atrophic changes in the seminiferous tubules of the testes with arrested spermatogenesis at 25 mg/kg/day (8.2 and 4.1 times the MRHD of 75 mg on a mg/m 2 basis).


14.1 Major Depressive Disorder

The efficacy of paroxetine as a treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) has been established in 6 placebo-controlled studies of patients with MDD (aged 18 to 73). In these studies, paroxetine was shown to be statistically significantly more effective than placebo in treating MDD by at least 2 of the following measures: Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), the Hamilton depressed mood item, and the Clinical Global Impression (CGI)-Severity of Illness. Paroxetine was statistically significantly better than placebo in improvement of the HDRS sub-factor scores, including the depressed mood item, sleep disturbance factor, and anxiety factor.

Long-term efficacy of paroxetine for treatment of MDD in outpatients was demonstrated in a randomized withdrawal study. Patients who responded to paroxetine (HDRS total score < 8) during an initial 8-week open-label treatment phase were then randomized to continue paroxetine or placebo, for up to 1 year. Patients treated with paroxetine demonstrated a statistically significant lower relapse rate during the withdrawal phase (15%) compared to those on placebo (39%). Effectiveness was similar for male and female patients.

14.2 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

The effectiveness of paroxetine in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) was demonstrated in two 12-week multicenter placebo-controlled studies of adult outpatients (Studies 1 and 2). Patients had moderate to severe OCD (DSM-IIIR) with mean baseline ratings on the Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS) total score ranging from 23 to 26. In study 1, a dose-range finding study, patients received fixed daily doses of paroxetine 20 mg, 40 mg, or 60 mg. Study 1 demonstrated that daily doses of paroxetine 40 mg and 60 mg are effective in the treatment of OCD. Patients receiving doses of paroxetine 40 mg and 60 mg experienced a mean reduction of approximately 6 and 7 points, respectively, on the YBOCS total score which was statistically significantly greater than the approximate 4-point reduction at 20 mg and a 3-point reduction in the placebo-treated patients. Study 2 was a flexible-dose study comparing paroxetine 20 mg to 60 mg daily with clomipramine 25 mg to 250 mg daily or placebo). In this study, patients receiving paroxetine experienced a mean reduction of approximately 7 points on the YBOCS total score, which was statistically significantly greater than the mean reduction of approximately 4 points in placebo-treated patients.

The following table provides the outcome classification by treatment group on Global

Improvement items of the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale for Study 1.

Table 10 Outcome Classification (%) on CGI-Global Improvement Item for Completers in Study 1 in Patients with OCD

Outcome Classification


Paroxetine 20 mg

Paroxetine 40 mg

Paroxetine 60 mg

(n = 74)

(n = 75)

(n = 66)

(n = 66)










No Change





Minimally Improved





Much Improved





Very Much Improved





Subgroup analyses did not indicate that there were any differences in treatment outcomes as a function of age or gender.

The long-term efficacy of paroxetine for the treatment of OCD was established in a long-term extension to Study 1. Patients who responded to paroxetine during the 3-month double-blind phase and a 6-month extension on open-label paroxetine 20 mg to 60 mg daily were randomized to either paroxetine or placebo in a 6-month double-blind relapse prevention phase. Patients randomized to paroxetine were statistically significantly less likely to relapse than placebo-treated patients. provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the US Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by Every individual package label entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the US National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.

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