Lexapro is an SSRI that is primarily used for depression. It affects the neurotransmitter serotonin by decreasing its absorption and thus increasing the brain’s serotonin level. Once levels of serotonin are returned to a normal and healthy balance, there is a decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms.
Lexapro is used in the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. It may take 1 to 4 weeks or longer before an individual feels the full benefit of this medication. At times, this medication is prescribed off-label to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder or panic disorder. This type of SSRI is also used in drug rehabilitation facilities to treat dually diagnosed patients suffering from depression caused by opiate withdrawal. It is similar to Celexa. It has an average half life, only remaining in the body for about 2-4 days. Lexapro has less severe side-effects than other drugs.
Lexapro may cause side effects. Notify your doctor if these side effects do not go away or are severe.
Common side effects are:
- Ejaculation disorder
- Changes in sex drive
- Back pain
- Nasal congestion
Some less common but more serious side effects of Lexapro are:
- Very stiff muscles
- Feeling of unsteadiness and poor coordination
- Fever or excessive sweating
- Confusion or difficulty focusing
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Increased depression or suicidal thoughts
- Unusual mental or mood changes
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
People can experience withdrawal symptoms when stopping Lexapro use. Consult your doctor before ceasing use as symptoms are decreased by slowly tapering off this medication. While these withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, they may be quite uncomfortable. They include:
- Burning or tingling feelings
Lexapro should not be taken with MAO inhibitors, which are also antidepressants, because the interaction of these two groups of medications can be fatal. Taking Lexapro with NSAIDs such as ibuprofen can cause complications as well.
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