Paxil is an antidepressant medication that works by adjusting the level of the chemical serotonin in the brain. One function of serotonin is to help regulate mood, and raising the level of serotonin in the brain can bring feelings of well-being. For this reason, doctors sometimes prescribe Paxil for treating the depression associated with bipolar disorder. However, people with bipolar disorder should not take Paxil by itself, because doing so might switch them from depression into mania, a potentially dangerous change. To prevent this problem, doctors treating bipolar disorder may prescribe a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic drug along with Paxil.
Research is ongoing to determine how effective Paxil and other antidepressant medications are in treating bipolar disorder.