Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Side effects of anxiety medications

Q. I have been taking an SSRI (paroxetine HCl) for many years for chronic anxiety and, at times, panic attacks. What are the side effects of the long-term use of SSRIs?

A. Fortunately, SSRIs are generally safe drugs. Like all medicines, they can produce side effects in some people: insomnia, rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, stomach upset, nausea, and diarrhea are most common. They also can diminish sexual interest, desire, performance, satisfaction, or all four.

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