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What is Lexapro?

  • Lexapro, also available as escitalopram, is an antidepressant. It belongs to a group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that helps treat anxiety in adults. It may improve your feeling of well-being along with energy level and decrease nervousness.
  • Lexapro affects the levels of specific chemicals in the brain that may change people suffering from depression or anxiety. Lexapro helps treat major depressive disorder in adults and adolescents (at least 12 years old).

Important Information

  • Lexapro can cause any new symptoms, like anxiety, mood or behavior changes, trouble sleeping, panic attacks,
    or if you feel irritable, impulsive, hostile, agitated, restless, aggressive, more depressed, hyperactive, or suicidal thoughts.
  • Ensure that your doctor knows if you also take opioid medication, stimulant medicine, herbal products, or drugs for mental illness, depression, migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease, serious infections, or prevention of vomiting and nausea. These medicines may interact with Lexapro and cause a severe condition called serotonin syndrome. 
  • Some young people have suicidal thoughts when they first start taking an antidepressant. Your doctor should check your progress regularly. Your family or caretakers should be alert to any change in your mood
  • Lexapro is not under the recommendation for use by anyone younger than 12 years old. 

What to know before taking Lexapro?

Do not take Lexapro within two weeks before or 14 days after using an MAO inhibitor. It could cause a dangerous drug interaction. MAO inhibitors include linezolid, isocarboxazid, rasagiline, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and selegiline.

To ensure Lexapro is safe for you, tell the doctor if you have ever had:

  • Seizures;
  • Kidney or liver disease;
  • High blood pressure, heart disease;
  • Low sodium levels in your blood;
  • Bleeding problems;
  • A stroke;
  • Suicidal thoughts or drug addiction; or
  • Bipolar disorder (manic depression)

Ask the doctor about taking Lexapro if you are pregnant. Using SSRI antidepressants during late pregnancy may cause medical complications in the baby. However, you may face a relapse of depression if you suddenly stop taking your antidepressant. Therefore, consult your doctor before you start or stop taking Lexapro.

If you are breastfeeding while taking Lexapro, tell your doctor if you notice agitation, feeding problems, drowsiness, or poor weight gain in the nursing baby.

How to take Lexapro?

  • Take Lexapro precisely as per the doctor’s prescription. Read & follow all the directions on the prescription label and medication guides carefully. Occasionally, your doctor may change your dose.
  • Take the drug at the exact time each day, with or without food. Carefully measure the liquid medicine. Use the available dosing syringe or a medicine dose-measuring device rather than a kitchen spoon.
  • It may take up to 28 days for your symptoms to improve. Keep using the medicine per the directions and tell your medical healthcare provider if your symptoms do not improve.
  • The doctor will require you to check your progress regularly. Doctors need to check the height and weight of a child before recommending it to a child.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine, or you could face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Instead, follow your doctor’s directions regarding tapering your dosage.
  • Store Lexapro away from heat and moisture at room temperature.

Lexapro dosage

Usual adult dosage for a generalized anxiety disorder:

  • Initial dose- 10 mg orally one time a day, increase the amount after at least a week of treatment to 20 mg a day
  • Maintenance amount- 10 mg to 20 mg orally one time a day
  • Maximum dose- 20 mg orally once a day

Usual adult dosage for depression:

  • Initial dose- 10 mg orally one time a day, increase the amount after at least a week of treatment to 20 mg a day
  • Maintenance amount- 10 mg to 20 mg orally one time a day
  • Maximum dose- 20 mg orally once a day

Overdose

In case of an overdose, take urgent medical attention or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222.

What to avoid while using Lexapro?

  • Consult your doctor before taking an NSAID such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), Celecoxib (Celebrex), N(Aleve), Indomethacin, Diclofenac, meloxicam, and others. A combination of Lexapro with NSAIDs may cause you to bleed or bruise easily.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption. Avoid driving any vehicle or performing any hazardous activity until you know this medicine’s effect on you. There could be impairing your reactions.

Lexapro side effects

  • Take medical help if you have allergic reactions due to the use of Lexapro. An allergic reaction sign may include hives or skin rash; swelling of your face, throat, lips, or tongue; difficulty breathing.
  • Report any intensifying or new symptoms to your doctors,
  • such as anxiety, mood or behavior changes, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, or if you feel irritable, impulsive, hostile, agitated, restless, aggressive, more depressed, hyperactive (physically or mentally), or have thoughts about hurting yourself or suicide. 

Contact your doctor immediately if you have: 

  • Pain or burning when you urinate;
  • Tunnel vision, blurred vision, seeing halos around lights, eye pain, or swelling;
  • Unusual risk-taking behavior, racing thoughts, feeling extremely happy or sad;
  • Weight gain or slow growth in a child taking Lexapro;
  • Low sodium levels in the body- confusion, headache, severe weakness, slurred speech, loss of coordination, vomiting, feeling unsteady; or
  • Severe nervous system reaction- high fever, very stiff or rigid muscles, confusion, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling lightheaded.

Seek urgent medical attention if you have serotonin syndrome symptoms, such as hallucinations, agitation, sweating, fever, shivering, rapid heart rate, twitching, muscle stiffness, nausea, loss of coordination, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Common side effects to Lexapro may include:

  • Drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, tiredness;
  • Painful urination;
  • Feeling shaky, increased muscle movements;
  • Feeling agitated or anxious;
  • Dry mouth, sweating, loss of appetite, increased thirst;
  • Sleep problems (insomnia);
  • Yawning;
  • Nausea, constipation;
  • Heavy menstrual periods, nosebleed; or
  • Impotence, difficulty having an orgasm, or decreased sex drive.

It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur, take your doctor’s medical advice regarding side effects. 

What drugs can interact with Lexapro?

Taking Lexapro with several other drugs may cause drowsiness or worsen the effect of this drug. It includes prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, herbal products, and vitamins.