Lexapro: Uses, Side Effects, Safety, Recalls and More

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is a brand name for the medication escitalopram, which belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is primarily used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), although it may also be prescribed for other conditions such as panic disorder and social anxiety disorder.

Escitalopram works by increasing the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is involved in regulating mood, emotions, and behavior. By blocking the reuptake of serotonin, escitalopram helps to prolong the effects of serotonin in the brain, which can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

It's usually taken orally in the form of tablets or oral solution, and the dosage may vary depending on the condition being treated, the severity of symptoms, and individual response to the medication. It typically takes a few weeks for escitalopram to start working fully, and it's important to continue taking it as prescribed even if symptoms improve.

Common side effects of escitalopram may include nausea, dry mouth, drowsiness, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction. Like other SSRIs, escitalopram can also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly in children, adolescents, and young adults. Therefore, close monitoring by a healthcare provider is important, especially when starting or changing the dosage of escitalopram.

As with any medication, it's important to use escitalopram under the guidance of a healthcare provider and to follow their instructions carefully. Abrupt discontinuation of escitalopram should be avoided, as it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Doses are typically tapered gradually to minimize these risks.

Lexapro Uses

Lexapro, also known by its generic name escitalopram, is a prescription medication primarily used for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which helps to improve mood and reduce anxiety.

Common Side Effects of Lexapro

Like any medication, Lexapro may cause side effects in some individuals. It is important to note that not everyone experiences these side effects, and they may vary in severity. Common side effects of Lexapro may include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Insomnia or drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Nervousness
  • Weight changes (either loss or gain)
  • Changes in sexual desire or ability
  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased sweating
  • Dizziness

Rare Side Effects of Lexapro

While rare, some individuals may experience more severe side effects while taking Lexapro. These side effects should be reported to a healthcare professional immediately. Rare side effects of Lexapro may include:

  • Allergic reactions (rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing)
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior (especially in the first few weeks of treatment or when doses are changed)
  • Serotonin syndrome (symptoms may include confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea)
  • Abnormal bleeding or bruising
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Changes in sexual function (such as priapism)
  • Severe skin reactions (such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome or toxic epidermal necrolysis)

Is Lexapro Safe for Pregnant Women and Children?

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking Lexapro if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding. Studies have shown that Lexapro may pose certain risks to unborn babies, and it is not recommended for use during pregnancy unless the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks. Additionally, Lexapro is not typically prescribed to children under the age of 12.

Lexapro Recall

As of the time of writing, there have been no reported recalls of Lexapro.

Lexapro FDA Approval

Lexapro was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in adults. Since then, it has been widely prescribed by healthcare professionals to help manage these conditions.

Why is Lexapro Prescribed?

Lexapro is primarily prescribed to individuals who are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety disorders. It can help improve mood, reduce anxiety, and enhance overall well-being. It may also be prescribed for other off-label uses, as determined by a healthcare professional.

How Should Lexapro be Used?

Lexapro should be taken exactly as prescribed by a healthcare professional. It is typically taken once daily, with or without food. The dosage may vary depending on the individual's condition and response to treatment. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and never exceed it without consulting a healthcare professional.

Other Uses for Lexapro

While Lexapro is primarily used for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders, it may also be prescribed for other conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder. However, the off-label use of Lexapro should always be discussed with a healthcare professional.

Special Precautions for Lexapro

Before taking Lexapro, it is important to inform your healthcare professional about any pre-existing medical conditions, allergies, or medications you are currently taking. Lexapro may interact with certain medications and medical conditions, so it is essential to disclose all relevant information to ensure its safe and effective use.

Storage and Disposal of Lexapro

Lexapro should be stored at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. It should be kept out of reach of children and pets. If you have any unused or expired Lexapro, it is recommended to dispose of it properly according to local regulations or by following the instructions provided by your healthcare professional or pharmacist.

In Case of Emergency/Overdose of Lexapro

In case of an emergency or accidental overdose of Lexapro, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. Contact your local emergency services or a poison control center for further guidance.

Other Information about Lexapro

It is important to attend regular check-ups with a healthcare professional while taking Lexapro to monitor its effectiveness and any potential side effects. Do not stop taking Lexapro abruptly without consulting a healthcare professional, as it may lead to withdrawal symptoms. If you have any concerns or questions about Lexapro, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional.

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