Lexapro, also known by its scientific name Escitalopram, is a very popular antidepressant used to treat depression associated with mood disorders. It is also used in certain cases to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and anxiety. If you have never used Lexapro before, you need to familiarize yourself with the drug interactions and the side effects associated with it.
The recommended dosage of Lexapro is 10-20 mg a day. The elderly should take smaller doses and pregnant women should avoid taking the drug altogether. However, the effectiveness of Lexapro over an extended time period has not been sufficiently studied. So, if doctors are prescribing Lexapro to a patient over a long period of time, continuous evaluation of the patient is necessary.
Citalopram and other SSRIs have been shown to cause sexual side effects in most patients, both males and females. Although usually reversible, these sexual side effects can sometimes last a very long time after discontinuation. This disorder is known as Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction. Weight gain is another possible side effect associated with Lexapro.
Discontinuation from antidepressants, especially abruptly, has been known to cause certain withdrawal symptoms. One possible discontinuation symptom from Escitalopram is a type of spontaneous nerve pulse known as paresthesia or "electric shock sensations", described by some patients as a feeling of small electric shocks, which may be accompanied by dizziness.
I have had a personal experience with Lexapro. My father was prescribed the drug by his physician, and it was making him shake. After approximately 2 weeks, he had to stop taking it, and then he began having hallucinations and was only able to sleep a couple hours per night.
Lexapro withdrawal symptoms can occur at any dosage. Lexapro withdrawal symptoms can begin within eight hours of a missed dose and can last from one to eight weeks. Various patients, such as my father, have reported hallucinations as a side effect experienced from the withdrawal.
If already using Lexapro, the best advice is to taper off slowly instead of quitting suddenly. It is important to develop a specific tapering schedule with your health care provider to minimize Lexapro withdrawal symptoms. Anyone discontinuing Lexapro runs the risk of suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
Other discontinuation symptoms include extreme sensitivity to loud sounds and bright lights, chills, hot flushes, cold sweats, reddening of the face, abdominal pain, weight gain and extreme mental fatigue. Also possible is severe irritability and sadness/depression like symptoms.
I hope you have found this information helpful. Be sure to disclose to your physician any other drugs you might be taking before requesting a prescription for Lexapro. Although the aforementioned side effects do not occur in some people who take the medication and may be mild in those who do experience the effects, they can happen to even the most healthy individuals, so you should be cautious when using this drug.