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Lexapro (Escitalopram)

What is Lexapro? Lexapro, also called escitalopram, is part of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and is used to treat depression and anxiety. Lexapro is available by prescription only. Lexapro comes in tablet or liquid form and is usually taken once a day. It may take up to a month to feel the full effects of Lexapro. A person's doctor may slowly increase the amount of Lexapro taken each day to find the correct dose of this medication.

 

Important Information Before Use:

  • Antidepressants, including Lexapro, may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior in children, teens, or young adults under the age of 24. Your doctor can help you decide if the benefit of this medication outweighs the risk of using it.
  • Do not take Lexapro with other SSRI medications, particularly Celexa. Do not take Lexapro within two weeks of taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor; you should let your doctor know if you have taken a MAO inhibitor recently.
  • Talk to your doctor before you take Lexapro if you have ever had a heart attack, seizure, or any type of liver, kidney, or heart disease.
  • You should also mention any serious reactions you have had to other similar medications.
  • Lexapro may interact with other medications or supplements, including MAO inhibitors, aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), migraine medications, anticoagulants, antihistamines, antidepressants, antacids, medications for anxiety, St. John's Wort, sleeping pills, antipsychotics, high blood pressure medications, and more. If you are taking other prescription drugs or vitamins, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Lexapro.

Important Information During Use:

  • Lexapro can cause problems in newborns if taken during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. You should talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for depression if you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Lexapro.
  • Don't drive or work with heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you; Lexapro can make you very drowsy. Using alcohol with Lexapro can worsen this side effect.
  • If you are having any type of surgery, including oral or dental surgery, then you should tell your doctor or anesthesiologist that you take Lexapro.
  • Take only the amount of Lexapro that has been prescribed by your doctor. Signs of Lexapro overdose include sweating, drowsiness, fast heartbeat, seizures, nausea, and loss of consciousness.
  • Call your doctor if you experience serious or severe side effects from Lexapro.

 

Lexapro Side Effects

Serious:

  • Irregular, pounding, or fast heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Hallucinations
  • Unusual levels of excitement

Less Serious:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Sweating
  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Sneezing or runny nose
  • Flu symptoms
  • Increase in appetite

Withdrawing:
Work with your doctor to reduce your dose of this medication slowly over time. You should not stop taking Lexapro abruptly. Weaning slowly off of this medication over time will reduce the amount and severity of Lexapro withdrawal symptoms. You should not reduce or discontinue this medication on your own.

Possible Symptoms of Lexapro Withdrawal:

  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia

 

Comparing Lexapro

 

Last Update: 02-20-2013

 

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