If you want to learn more about Lexapro (Escitalopram) potential side effects? Then, this post helps you with that. In this post, we try to cover all important facts about Lexapro, its proper dosing, and how escitalopram can affect you.
What is Lexapro?
Lexapro is a brand name for escitalopram, a generic drug that basically treats depression and anxiety. Moreover, Lexapro majorly used to restore the normal level of certain naturally occurring hormones such as serotonin.
And this is why they are categorized in the class of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). Additionally, escitalopram is also capable to make a person feel energetic and reduces nervousness.
General Chemical Information of Lexapro
- Molar mass: 324.392 g/mol
- Formula: C20H21FN2O
- Bioavailability: 80%
- Trade name: Cipralex
History and Development of Lexapro (Escitalopram)
The early development phase of Lexapro was started in the collaboration between Lundbeck and Forest Laboratories in 1997. And in the year 2000, Lundbeck announces that their new medicine was under their clinical trial.
At the clinical trial, the drug had a European name Cipralex. Finally, in March 2001, the drug was patent under a new name “Lexapro” which was also get approved by the U.S. FDA. In the following year i.e. 2002, a strong dose drug was approved by the FDA for severe depression. And later in December 2003, the medicine also approved for anxiety disorder.
Moreover, In 2006, Forest Laboratories get additional 828 days which is about 2 years and 3 months for the Lexapro. This makes the final patent expiry date from 7 December 2009 to 14 September 2011.
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Why Lexapro is Used? Medical Uses
As state earlier, it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) to treat various mood and anxiety disorders. However, there are also other means of using these drugs especially in reducing premenstrual symptoms.
So, let’s discuss all the uses of this medication in detail.
To Treat Depression
It is an effective medication for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adults.
However, in 2011, various reviews show that the new Lexapro or second-generation antidepressants are more effective. But despite they have their own positive and negative impacts on the person’s mental health.
In addition, the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence states the effective guidelines for the effective dosage of this medication. Moreover, in 2018, escitalopram is one of the most effective medications among the other 21 antidepressant drugs.
To Treat Anxiety Disorder
In the medication for anxiety disorder, Lexapro is also one of the most effective medicine. Additionally, it is also most effective in treating social anxiety disorder.
Lexapro, Escitalopram, and other SSRIs are successful in reducing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. SSRIs do not seem to be effective for the treatment of stress, headaches, or migraines.
What is the Dosage for Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
For instance, the minimum starting dose for treating general-anxiety disorder for adults is 10mg tabs daily in the morning or evening hours. However, the dose of Lexapro will rise to 20 mg after 3 weeks.
And in the case, when there is no improvement, the medicine should continue for at least 28 days. However, in the majority of cases, the daily dose of this drug of 20mg is not more effective than 10 mg. And one should take Lexapro both before and after the meal.
Symptoms After Stopping Lexapro
Some patients experience symptoms after stopping Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) therapy. The Symptoms may include:
- bad mood
- vivid dreams
Side Effects of Lexapro
Following are the common side effects using this drug, including:
- Agitation or restlessness
- Blurred vision
- Diarrhea and drowsiness
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Fever and headache
- Frequent urination
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Increased sweating
- Sexual difficulties
- Taste alterations, tremor (shaking)
- Weight loss or gain
In adolescents and children, antidepressants have a harmful impact. It increased the risk of suicidal thinking, behavior depression, and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone who uses Lexapro or any other antidepressant must consult the doctor first.
However, some studies show an increase in the risk of suicidality with placebo as compared to this drug. Moreover, the risk of suicidality due to depression was less seen in adults 65 years of age and older.
In general, depression and certain other mental disorders can increase the risk of suicidal nature, even the patient is on medication. In addition, the other side effects include pain in the neck and shoulders region.
The patients who are on the medication of Lexapro, show less sexual desire, sexual performance, and sexual satisfaction. And, generally, about one in 11 men reported difficulty in ejaculating.
Some Serious Side-Effects of Lexapro Drugs
These are the following possible serious side effects of Lexapro drug:
- Serotonin syndrome
- Suicidal thinking and behavior
- Abnormal bleeding
- Manic episodes
- High fever
- Slurred speech
- Muscle rigidity
- Angle-closure glaucoma
Interaction of Lexapro With Other Drugs
All SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) like Lexapro, should not be paired with other antidepressant class inhibitors of Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) medications such as:
- Procarbazine or other drugs that inhibit monoamine oxidases such as linezolid (Zyvox) and intravenous methylene blue.
Side-Effects of Interaction of Lexapro With Other Drugs
Generally, it may lead to high blood pressure, high fever, and muscle rigidity. After discontinuation of Lexapro, a patient should be omitted to use any MAO medication for at least 14 days.
However, there are different effects befall when combining SSRIs with other drugs that increase serotonin in the brain, for example:
- Meperidine (Demerol),
- Lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith),
- Triptans (for example, sumatriptan Imitrex, Alsuma), and Tramadol.
Precautions While Using Lexapro
Before taking Lexapro (or any medicine), you should definitely consult with your doctor about any allergies or about your history of infections.
These are the following disease that you should report to your doctor, before starting Lexapro medication:
- Diseases such as liver disease, seizures, intestinal ulcers/bleeding, and depression.
- Heart problems like heart failure, slow heartbeat, recent heart attack, and QT prolongation in the EKG.
- Disorders such as bipolar/ manic depressive disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and panic disorder.
In case of frequent appetite and weight loss in children, it must be reported to the doctor. In such cases, it is mandatory to monitor the weight and overall development measures such as the height of the child.
During pregnancy, the medication should be only taken when required. Because regular medication might harm the unborn baby.
However, babies born to mothers who used this drug during the last 3 months of their pregnancy will rarely develop any complication. But they often show some symptoms such as swallowing and breathing difficulties, seizures, muscle stiffness, or constant crying.
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Lexapro is a medicine whose main function is to treat depression and anxiety. In addition, it is used to restore the normal stability of a natural substance called serotonin in the brain and belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI).
Lexapro was first developed in collaboration between Lundbeck and Forest Laboratories. However, it is good in treating depression and anxiety, but some of the side effects of Lexapro include agitation, blind vision, difficulty in sleeping, dry mouth, frequent urination, increased or decreased appetite, intense sweating, sexual difficulties, and weight changes.
But for sure, it is one of the best medications for depression and anxiety.
What should you not take with Lexapro?
Ans. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors include isocarboxazid, phenelzine, or selegiline. Also, certain pain medications, such as tramadol (Ryzolt, Ultram, ConZip) should not be taken with this drug.
Can Lexapro cause suicidal thoughts?
Ans. According to the FDA, it may increase the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions. Majorly, the risk is higher in children, teenagers, or young adults.
Is 5mg Lexapro enough for anxiety disorder?
Ans. No. The normal dosage for anxiety disorder is 10 mg taken as one daily dose. However, the dose of Lexapro will rise to 20 mg after 3 weeks only after consulting with the doctor.
Does Lexapro mess with certain hormones?
Ans. Lexapro can interfere with the normal functioning of prolactin production— a hormone that affects the breast tissue.
What are the side effects of Lexapro?
Ans. Dry mouth, fever, frequent urination, headache, indigestion, nausea, abnormal appetite are some of the side effects of Lexapro.