Cipralex is a prescription medicine that belongs to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by enhancing levels of neurotransmitter serotonin responsible for improving mood.

The nerve cells in your brain transmit signals among themselves using chemicals like serotonin. Once the message is passed, the cells take the chemical inside the cell to send the next signal. This process is called “reuptake.”

SSRIs such as Cipralex prevent this reuptake, boosting serotonin levels in the brain and improving your mood and other symptoms. It is commonly used as it is effective has fewer side-effects compared to other types of antidepressants.

So, if you have depression or generalized anxiety disorder, your doctor is most likely to prescribe this medicine. Although the drug is relatively safe, like all other medicines, it has some side-effects.

While some of these are trivial, others may be severe and impact your health.

Understanding the side effects can help you to figure out the plan of action.

Common Side Effects, How Common Are They?

As discussed before, Cipralex is well tolerated compared to other antidepressants

In cases where side-effects are present, some common ones could be:

Common Side effects

Adults

  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Sexual problems
  • Shaking
  • Dry mouth
  • Infection
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping trouble
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetitive
  • Constipation
  • Yawning

Children and adolescents

  • Agitation
  • Increased muscle movements
  • Trouble urinating
  • Weight change
  • Increased thirst
  • Slowed growth
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Nosebleeds

The mentioned side effects are mild and are likely to subside on their own.

Serious side effects

  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Violent actions or aggressiveness
  • Panic attack or anxiety that is new or getting worse
  • Feeling angry, restless, or irritable
  • Felling to act on violent impulses
  • A significant increase in activity
  • Trouble in sleeping
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Severe allergic reaction

It can have the following symptoms:

  • Swelling of tongue, mouth, face, or eyes
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Severe itching or blisters
  • Fever with joint pain
  • Convulsion or seizures

Serotonin syndrome

It is a condition where the serotonin levels in your body are high, mainly caused if you also take some other medicine that increases serotonin levels such as lithium and SSRIs.

Some common symptoms are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Problems in co-ordination
  • Twitching muscles
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Agitation
  • Fever or sweating
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Coma
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea
  • Low salt levels
  • Muscle stiffness

Low salt levels can cause dehydration and the mentioned symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Memory or thinking problems
  • Unsteadiness
  • Headache
  • Difficulty in concentration
  • Weakness
  • Seizures

Manic episodes

If you have bipolar disorder, taking Cipralex without other medicine may result in maniac episodes.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Severe sleeping trouble
  • Reckless behavior
  • Talking more than normal or quickly
  • Greatly increased energy
  • Racing thoughts
  • Unusually grand ideas
  • Excessive irritability or happiness

Vision problems

Cipralex may dilate your pupils, increasing the risk of glaucoma.

Symptoms include:

  • Changes in your vision
  • Eye pain
  • Redness or swelling in or around your eye

What To Do When Experiencing Each?

Cipralex can cause a range of side effects. This part will deal with how you can manage some common adverse effects.

Nausea

It is commonly faced early in the treatment and usually subsides once your body adapts to the medicine.

You can do the following to manage nausea

  • Eat smaller meals and have them more frequently
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Take Cipralex after food, unless directed otherwise
  • Suck on a sugarless hard candy
  • Talk to your doctor if it lasts for long or you are not able to manage it

Weight gain

The weight gain could be due to water retention or lack of physical activity. Besides, once your depression eases off your appetite may increase. If you are concerned with weight gain, you can talk to your doctor and discuss ways to manage it.

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Some tips that may help are:

  • Include low-calorie nutritious food items
  • Cut back on sugary drinks and sweets
  • Track your diet using a food diary
  • Be physically active
  • Take help from a registered dietitian
  • Talk to your doctor about altering the dose or changing the medicine

Fatigue and Drowsiness

You can try the following:

  • Do some physical activity such as walking or running
  • Take a nap during the day
  • Take Cipralex at bedtime or evening if your doctor agrees
  • Avoid driving and operating dangerous machinery
  • Talk to your doctor about changing the dose

Sleep Problems

The following can help:

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks and foods, especially late in the day
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take Cipralex in the morning if your doctor approves

If it is too problematic, you can talk to your doctor about taking a sedative medicine.

Dry mouth

Here are some tips that can help:

  • Suck on sugarless hard candy or chew sugarless gum
  • Breathe through the nose instead of your mouth
  • Suck on ice chips or sip water regularly
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeinated beverages, which make the mouth even drier
  • Floss daily and brush twice a day

If it becomes bothersome, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of Cipralex for you.

Constipation

Cipralex may alter the functioning of your digestive system and other organs and thus cause constipation. The mentioned tips can come hand in such cases:

  • Eat high-fiber food, including fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Drink enough water
  • Take a fiber supplement
  • Exercise regularly

You can consult your doctors for stool softeners if all these measures are not helpful. 

Dizziness

The following can help prevent or manage dizziness:

  • Use canes or handrails for support
  • Rise slowly from sitting or sleeping position
  • Avoid tobacco, caffeine, or alcohol
  • Avoid operating machinery and driving
  • Take medicine at bedtime if your doctor is okay with it
  • Drink enough fluids

Agitation, restlessness, anxiety

Cipralex may cause restlessness, agitation, or anxiety due to its stimulating effect on the brain. It may be a problem when you want to relax but are unable to.

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The following can help:

  • Try muscle relaxation, deep-breathing exercises, or yoga
  • Exercise regularly, including biking, jogging, aerobics, or walking

You can even talk to your doctor about switching to an antidepressant with a sedating effect or one that is not stimulating. Also, be alert for impulsive or racing thoughts with high energy as they can be signs of bipolar disorder. In such cases, talk to your doctor immediately.

Sexual side effects

Cipralex may reduce your sex drive or cause difficulty in reaching orgasm. It may also cause erectile dysfunction in men

You can try the following:

  • Talk to your doctor about taking the medicine once-a-day if you are taking it more than once
  • You can even talk to your doctor about switching to medicine with fewer side effects
  • Talk to your partner and communicate your problems. Adjusting your sexual routine and indulging in more extended foreplay may help.

If nothing works, you can also consult your doctor about medicines such as Viagra to temporarily improve erectile dysfunction.

When And How To Seek Medical Help To Treat Side Effects

While most side effects are mild and short-lived, it is best to consult your doctor if you have the following symptoms:

Symptoms of Overdose

  • Being sick
  • A fast heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Feeling agitated
  • Shaking

Serious Side Effects

  • Passing out or severe dizziness
  • Painful erections that last for more than four hours
  • Bleeding that does not stop within ten minutes
  • Long-lasting weakness or confusion
  • Constant headaches
  • Frequent muscle cramps
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • High temperature with confusion, twitching, agitation, and trembling
  • Signs of gastrointestinal bleeding such as the coughing of vomit, vomiting blood, red or black stools, and blood in your pee
  • Bruises without apparent injury
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Weight loss or gain without trying
  • Changes in periods such as bleeding or spotting between periods or heavy bleeding

Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction

  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Swelling of face, tongue, mouth, lips, or throat
  • Difficulty in talking or breathing
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