Lexapro Side Effects And Warnings

Facts and Information About Lexapro and its Side Effects

Side Effects Of Lexapro

Lexapro Side Effects and Coping Tools

Depression is a form of mental illness that affects millions of people around the globe. Lexapro has become one of the more popular antidepressants prescribed by doctors today to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). However, there are quite a few side effects of Lexapro, although some are uncommon and even rare. As with any pharmaceutical product, it is important to be aware of the pros and cons, as well as the side effects associated with taking that medication.

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is the most common brand name of the drug Escitalopram Oxalate. It is an antidepressant within a class of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs. Taken in tablet or oral solution form, Lexapro is specially formulated to affect certain chemicals in the brain that can become unbalanced. When a chemical imbalance occurs, depression and/or anxiety often develop.

Precautions

Over the years, several new purposes for this medication have been identified to include Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD, and Panic Disorder. If taken as prescribed, Lexapro has been shown to be a highly effective medication although there are people who experience side effects. In addition, there are known risks associated with certain illnesses, some physical conditions, and strong potential for drug interactions.

For example, anyone who has taken an MAO inhibitor within the past two weeks should never take Lexapro since this can cause a very serious interaction. There are also a number of health conditions that a doctor needs to know about if Lexapro is being considered. These include:

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Seizures

What are "Side Effects"?

Before going over the list of Lexapro side effects, we want to offer a definition of what exactly they are. Also known as an adverse event, a side effect is a physical or mental reaction to various substances to include prescription medication. The one thing we cannot stress enough is that everyone prescribed Lexapro will have a different experience. In other words, some people will have a mild reaction while for some it will be more intense. In addition, side effects can last only a few days or much longer.

A few contributing factors for side effects include:

  • The type of prescription medication
  • Dose of medication
  • A person's current health
  • Age, gender, and weight
  • Physical activity
  • Diet

There are four reasons that side effects develop to include starting Lexapro, having the dose increased, a second medication being added for the treatment of depression, and not following the doctor's orders. Lexapro side effects that develop immediately after being prescribed this drug typically last only a few days. However, if they are associated with a change in dose, the doctor may choose to cut back and when they develop because of a secondary medication, a decision may be made to stop that drug or change it.

Now, Lexapro side effects caused by someone not following the orders as prescribed are an entirely different issue. With this being such a powerful drug used to treat a very serious mental health condition, a person takes a great risk by reducing or increasing dose, or not taking the medication on schedule. Of course, to avoid more serious Lexapro side effects, an individual should talk to the doctor before making any changes whatsoever.

Any drug to include Lexapro approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration must list all known side effects when introduced to the market. These side effects are the result of many clinical trials and medical studies. The goal is to let the public know what to expect but also the greater potential risks.

Lexapro Side Effects

In truth, the list of common side effects associated with Lexapro is quite lengthy. In fact, there are so many things on the list that most people feel overly concerned, at least at first. However, after becoming educated about actual risk, it becomes clear that the list of common side effects is not as bad as it appears.

Lexapro is no different from other antibiotics used today in that they all cause problems to some degree. Keep in mind that even when a person experiences more than one of list the things listed below, the effects are generally short-lived but if they do last longer than a week, there are methods of coping to help.

Below is a list of the most common side effects associated with Lexapro and while these are experienced most often, every person is unique so the exact intensity will differ.

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Erectile dysfunction/difficulty with ejaculation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Infrequent/incomplete bowel movements
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Poor energy

The Lexapro side effects listed below are not as common and they typically occur less frequently:

  • Bloating and/or gas
  • Congestion/sinus problems
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Indigestion
  • Nose inflammation
  • Poor appetite
  • Sexual problems
  • Stomach cramping
  • Tingling and/or numbness
  • Toothache

Following are Lexapro side effects deemed rare but also severe:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Deep vein blood clots
  • Excessive physical activity and/or cheerfulness
  • Extrapyramidal Reaction
  • Extremely low blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart Attack
  • Hemorrhage
  • Hepatitis
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Kidney failure
  • Low blood platelets
  • Low sodium in the blood
  • Lung blog clot
  • Mental disorder with loss of reality
  • Muscle damage with risk of kidney failure
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
  • Pancreatic inflammation
  • Prolonged Q-T Interval on EKG
  • Rapid ventricular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Serotonin Syndrome
  • Severe hives
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
  • Stomach or stomach lining inflammation
  • Stomach or intestinal bleeding
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone Secretion
  • Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis
  • Uncontrollable quivering

The following are also rare but less severe Lexapro side effects:

  • Anger and/or annoyance
  • Blood clots in an organ, organ space, or organ tissue
  • Blood from the anus
  • Blood hemorrhage beneath the skin
  • Bronchitis
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness and/or sluggishness
  • Frequent urination
  • Hives and/or rash
  • Increased Prolactin in the blood
  • Joint and/or muscle pain
  • Low interest in sexual intimacy
  • Nosebleeds
  • Painful menstrual cycles
  • Problems walking
  • Restlessness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Spinning sensation
  • Throbbing heart
  • Vein inflammation

Coping Tools for Lexapro Side Effects

Keep in mind that the exact course of action for dealing with the side effects of Lexapro will depend on the doctor, the type of depression, severity of depression, and the way the person's body responds. However, we felt it important to offer some helpful coping tools for some of the Lexapro side effects listed above as common occurrences.

  • Fatigue and/or Drowsiness: These is one of the most common Lexapro side effects but easy to remedy. For one thing, a brief nap will definitely help but so will physical activity. An individual might also try taking Lexapro prior to bedtime. One important note - operating heavy machinery and driving should be limited or even avoided while experiencing either symptom.
  • Insomnia: Although not everyone has a problem with insomnia, some do. To increase energy, most doctors will recommend taking this medication first thing in the morning, staying away from foods and beverages that contain caffeine, and getting physical activity.
  • Nausea: This too is a common side effect usually begins about one week after starting Lexapro. In most cases, the nausea will subside but in the meantime, an individual should take this drug on a full stomach, eat smaller meals and more frequently, suck on peppermint hard candy, use an over-the-counter antacid, and drink plenty of water.
  • Constipation: Unfortunately, constipation is something that most people deal with when taking antidepressants. To help, it is important to increase the amount of water consumed. In addition, an individual should eat more high-fiber foods, exercise daily, take a natural fiber supplement, and if necessary, use a stool softener.
  • Dizziness: Many people who take Lexapro complain of having bouts of dizziness. Obviously, it is important to take appropriate measures to stay safe but along with this, there are a few coping tools. For example, we recommend getting out of bed in the morning or rising from a sitting position slowly, avoid alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, take Lexapro prior to bed, drink more fluids, and use a steading devices such as handrails and canes as needed.
  • Dry Mouth: While not considered one of the more severe Lexapro side effects having a dry mouth is definitely an annoyance. For this, a person can suck on ice chips or sip on cold water, suck on hard candy, chew gum, breathe through the nose opposed to the mouth, and avoid caffeine.