Introduction to Lexapro
Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to treat depression and other mood disorders. It works by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain, which helps regulate and improve mood. Lexapro is available in tablet form and can be taken once or twice a day, depending on your doctor’s recommendation.
What is Lexapro
Lexapro is the brand name for a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medication that contains the active ingredient escitalopram. Although Lexapro is not a brand available in Canada, escitalopram is available as the brand Cipralex or various generic brands.
Lexapro is used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It can also be used to treat other mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), panic disorder, as well as certain bipolar disorders.
Lexapro is effective for treating depression and anxiety. It can also help reduce symptoms of other mental health disorders such as OCD, PTSD, SAD, PMDD, and panic disorder. Depending on your symptoms, Lexapro can help you with:
- More energy
- Better sleep
- A more normal appetite (not too low or too excessive)
- Better mood
- Finding more pleasure in life
- Less time spent worrying or obsessing
- Fewer or less severe panic attack episodes
As with all medications, you may experience some unwanted side effects when taking Lexapro. The more common side effects may include mild symptoms of headache, nausea, insomnia, and dry mouth. Some people experience sexual side effects such as decreased libido or erectile dysfunction from taking Lexapro. If symptoms become bothersome for you, speak to your doctor. More rare and serious side effects may include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pain
- Bleeding or serious bruising
- Agitation or restless leading to thoughts or plans of suicide
If you think you may hurt yourself at any time, seek medical attention right away.
How to take Lexapro
Take Lexapro by mouth regularly and at the same time each day. Medication affects everyone differently. For some people, Lexapro may cause drowsiness. In others, it can cause insomnia. Depending on how it affects you, you may choose to take it early or late in the day. Whichever time works best for you, stick with it and be consistent every day.
The usual starting dose of Lexapro is 5-10 mg taken once a day. The dosage can be increased up to 20 mg, under the doctor’s supervision. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations on how to take Lexapro.
Lexapro is typically taken once or twice a day. It can be taken with or without food and should not be taken with alcohol. It is important to take Lexapro at the same time each day to maintain an even level of the medication in the body.
If you miss a dose of Lexapro, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time.
It is important to consider factors such as drug interactions, warnings, withdrawal, and overdose.
Lexapro may interact with other medications, herbal supplements, vitamins, or alcohol. It is important to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all your medications, including over-the-counter products and supplements.
Lexapro is not right for everyone. Your doctor is the best person to help assess if this medication is likely to help you and if it is a safe medication for you. Make sure they are aware of your full medical history, other medications, what you’ve tried in the past, and how you’ve responded.
Abruptly stoppingLexapro may lead to withdrawal symptoms such as flu-like symptoms, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, and mood fluctuation. Before you make any changes to your medication routine, check with your doctor first.
An overdose of Lexapro can be dangerous and may lead to serious side effects. Symptoms of an overdose include hallucinations, confusion, loss of consciousness, or seizures. If you think you have taken too much Lexapro, seek medical attention right away.
What is the difference between Lexapro and other SSRIs?
Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like other antidepressants such as Zoloft and Prozac. While there are many similarities, each SSRI medication can be slightly different in how well they work in a specific person, the side effects, drug interactions, dose, and cost. Work with your doctor and pharmacist in picking out the right SSRI for you.
Are there any long-term effects of taking Lexapro?
Many people use Lexapro long term to maintain control of their depression or anxiety symptoms. How long you should take Lexapro is highly individualized. Check in with your doctor to decide what the right duration of treatment is for you. They can help you make a good decision about the long term risks versus benefits of Lexapro.
Is Lexapro addictive?
No, Lexapro is not addictive. If you try to stop or reduce the dose of Lexapro too quickly, you can get withdrawal symptoms such as a flu-like syndrome, headache, and feeling irritable. However, this is only a physical reaction and does not mean you’re addicted to Lexapro.
Can I take Lexapro with other medications?
Yes, many people use Lexapro along with other medications to treat other physical or mental health conditions. Let your pharmacist and doctor know about all your medications, including whenever there are any changes, so they can help keep you safe from drug interactions.