What is Lexapro?
Lexapro is the brand name of the generic drug escitalopram, which is an antidepressant. It belongs to a group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), which were first introduced in the 1980s.
These drugs are generally effective and have fewer side effects than older antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Lexapro comes in pill or liquid form and is now used to treat various mental health conditions.
Uses of Lexapro
It is not clear how Lexapro reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, we know that this drug has an effect on serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter involved in mood, sleep and other body functions.
It is believed that Lexapro helps to balance serotonin levels in the brain. This can reduce anxiety and improve mood. Lexapro was originally only used to treat depression. However, research shows that it is also effective for other mood disorders and anxiety disorders.
Before taking Lexapro
Lexapro is used to treat anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, and is sometimes used in combination with other drugs. Generally speaking, you must be diagnosed with a mental health disorder before your doctor can prescribe Lexapro for you.
Your primary care doctor can write a prescription. But this process may be better handled by mental health professionals, who can also prescribe medication, such as a psychiatrist.
Before starting this medicine, tell your doctor if you are allergic or allergic to escitalopram, or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. If you have a history of any of the following diseases, Lexapro may exacerbate the history of these diseases. It is also important to remind your doctor:
Discuss with your doctor all the medicines, supplements and vitamins you are currently taking. Although some drugs pose a slight risk of interaction, other drugs may be completely contraindicated or prompt to carefully consider whether the pros and cons of treatment are greater than your case.
Precautions and contraindications for Lexapro
There are many precautions involved when taking Lexapro. You can reduce potential risks by understanding who should not take this drug, potential drug interactions, and black box warnings.
Lexapro is not safe for everyone. Certain people should not take Lexapro or take it with caution, including:
- People with allergies: If you are allergic to escitalopram oxalate, you should not take Lexapro, which means you have a known allergic reaction to the drug and symptoms of allergic reactions, such as difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue.
- Children: The effectiveness of Lexapro for children under 18 has not been determined, and it is generally not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
- People who are pregnant or breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please use Lexapro with caution because the drug may be transmitted to your child. Your doctor should discuss this with you; if not, be sure to ask about the potential risks.
- Elderly: The side effects of the drug may be more serious in the elderly. In this case, your doctor should monitor your dosage and make adjustments as needed to reduce the severity of side effects.
- People taking blood thinners: Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin and warfarin will increase the risk of bleeding in people taking Lexapro.
- People taking serotonin medications: Taking Lexapro with other serotonin medications and St. John’s wort increases the risk of serotonin syndrome.
According to the boxed warning (the strictest warning issued by the FDA for prescription drugs), taking Lexapro can lead to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, especially in children, adolescents, and young adults. Close monitoring by a psychiatrist or doctor is important, especially if you are a teenager or young person taking Lexapro.
If you have suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to get support and help from trained counsellors. If you or someone you love is in immediate danger, call 911.
Lexapro is an allosteric serotonin reuptake inhibitor that distinguishes it from other SSRIs. It is generally well tolerated and effective. Other commonly used FDA-approved SSRI treatments that have similar problems with Lexapro include:
Lexapro tablets are available in 5 milligrams (mg), 10 milligrams and 20 milligrams. The 10 and 20 mg tablets are scored and can be cut in half. The concentration of the oral solution is 1 milligram per milliliter (mL).
The usual recommended daily dose of Lexapro is 10 mg, but you can start with a lower dose and increase it slowly as needed. The dosage of Lexapro recommended by the manufacturer is:
- Major depression over 18 years: 10 mg per day, if necessary, increase to 20 mg per day after three weeks
- Major depression from 12 to 18 years: 10 mg per day, if necessary, increase to 20 mg per day after a week
- Generalized anxiety disorder: 10 mg per day
If you are experiencing depression or anxiety for the first time, you can take Lexapro for a period of time, such as six months to one year. However, for individuals with chronic mental health conditions, it may be necessary to take Lexapro for many years.
All listed dosages are provided by the drug manufacturer. Check your prescription and talk to your doctor to make sure you are taking the correct dose.
Although there are no specific dosage recommendations for Lexapro, if you are older or have major diseases that affect your metabolism, such as kidney or liver disease, you should take the drug with caution. If this is the case, your healthcare provider may adjust your dosage as needed to reduce any related side effects.
How to take and store Lexapro
Take Lexapro as directed by your doctor. If you have any questions about this medication, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.
- Lexapro is usually taken as a tablet or oral solution once a day, morning or evening, with or without food.
- The missed dose should be taken as soon as you remember, unless it is very close to your next dose, in which case you should take the regular dose. Do not take two or more doses of Lexapro at the same time.
- Doses higher than 20 mg are not approved by the FDA. Staying within the recommended dose helps reduce the risk of side effects or adverse reactions.
- Lexapro should be stored at room temperature, away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom.
- If you travel with Lexapro, be sure to put the medicine in the original packaging in your carry-on baggage and bring your prescription with you.
It is important to realize that taking Lexapro will not immediately relieve your symptoms. Once you start taking Lexapro, it may take one to four weeks to feel better, and you may not experience the full benefits of the drug until you follow the recommended treatment plan for a few months.
Taking the medication as prescribed will ensure that you experience its full effectiveness.
Lexapro side effects
As your body adjusts to the medication, the side effects should gradually disappear. If you find that they are getting worse or affecting your quality of life, please discuss your concerns with your doctor. By carefully following the dosage instructions given by the doctor and reporting any negative effects, side effects can be minimized.
The most common side effects are:
- sleep disorder
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Irritability and nervousness
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Excessive sweating
- Flu-like symptoms
- Sexual side effects
If you experience any of the following unusual side effects of Lexapro, please seek help immediately:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue
- Stiff muscles
- Fast heartbeat
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Lexapro warnings and interactions
Be cautious when taking Lexapro with other medicines. To help avoid any possible drug interactions, please let your doctor know about any other prescription and over-the-counter medicines you are currently taking.
When taking Lexapro, due to the increased risk of serotonin syndrome, the following serotonin medications should not be used or only used with extreme caution and close monitoring:
- Other SSRIs, such as Celexa (Citalopram)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), used to treat mental illness
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Pamelor (nortriptyline)
- Triptans used to treat migraines, such as sumatriptan
- St. John’s Wort
Avoid alcohol while taking Lexapro, as it reduces the effectiveness of the drug and may increase its toxicity.
If Lexapro is not effective for you, your doctor will try to find another medicine that may help, such as another SSRI or a different class of antidepressant. If it has not been implemented, you may also find psychotherapy helpful.
You should stop taking Lexapro only when your symptoms are stable for a period of time under the guidance of your doctor. Your doctor will help you gradually reduce the amount of medication to minimize any withdrawal reactions.
If you stop taking it suddenly, you may notice withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Muscle tension
- Can’t remember things
Very good sentence
The overview of using Lexapro to treat mental health conditions does not cover all possible outcomes of taking this drug. If your doctor prescribes this medicine, be sure to follow the instructions carefully. If you have other questions, it is best to be answered by a medical professional.