A patient has been taking paroxetine for 8 months and is experiencing sexual dysfunction. The patient informs the nurse he is going to discontinue the medication due to the side effects. How should the nurse respond?


• The short half-life of some SSRIs, such as paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft), can cause patients to develop withdrawal symptoms if discontinued abruptly.

• SSRI withdrawal symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, paresthesias, insomnia, anxiety, and feelings of electric shock in the body.

• The nurse should educate the patient on the possible withdrawal effects of the medication and remind them to speak to the doctor if they wish to taper the drug safely under the physician's direction.

• Incorrect: Never encourage a patient to stop taking a medication without speaking to the physician first. It is unnecessary to call the physician immediately.

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