What is Lexapro?
Lexapro, or commonly known in medicine as escitalopram, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It was created and manufactured by the “Lundbeck H.” company. Its other trade names are following: Lexam, Lexamil, Seroplex.
How does it work?
Lexapro helps the brain to inhibit serotonin reuptake, and then it increases the concentration of the substance in presynaptic fissures (the space between neurons). All this process, in its turn, provides the strongly marked antidepressive effect. To put it simply, Lexapro increases the levels of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that maintains mental health and balance. Escitalopram either can’t or can hardly interfere with the work of the majority of receptors in our organism.
What is Lexapro used for?
Mainly this antidepressant is used for treating depressive episodes of any severity and generalized anxiety disorder (the state of excessive worrying and tension that intervenes with everyday life and lasts for 6 months or longer), including those with agoraphobia. Though it will do you harm if taken together with MAO inhibitors.
During one of the American studies conducted in 2006, it was proved that 75 percent of patients who suffer from depression face significant improvement in 7 weeks after taking these drugs.
The scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden were studying the effectiveness of escitalopram during PMS. The main attention was given to the common symptoms of PMS: excitability, irritation, stress and feeling of depression. The results showed that after taking 10 mg of Lexapro a day, 86 percent of women felt improvement and 94 percent after taking 20 mg of Lexapro per day.
What is more, it was proved that escitalopram contributes to the beneficial effect when the patient experiences painful symptoms of depression, such as a headache, pain in the neck, chest and stomach (when only start treating). The improvement revealed itself at the first week of treatment with Lexapro and the obvious effect came after 14 days of the treatment.
As a rule, the side-effects reveal themselves during the first two weeks of taking the drug. But in time they disappear. The most common side-effects include:
- loss of appetite or, on the contrary, increased appetite;
- insomnia or drowsiness;
- increased sweating;
- tiredness and dizziness;
- changes in sex drive or ability;
- stomach pain;
- dry mouth;
- flu-like symptoms: a runny nose, sneezing.
Tell your doctor if any of the symptoms above are severe or do not go away.
There are also some side-effects that can indicate something serious. If you experience either of the following symptoms call your doctor immediately:
- unusual excitement;
- seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating);
- fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness.
As for the Lexapro side-effects in women, especially pregnant ones, the harmful effects haven’t been proved yet. So before taking Lexapro consult with your doctor if you are pregnant or can get pregnant during the treatment with Lexapro.
Another important thing to notice is that Lexapro penetrates into breast milk and can alter the baby during breastfeeding. Hence, it follows that if you are a breastfeeding mother – do not take Lexapro without consulting your doctor.
Lexapro dosage varies according to the person. Mainly it is taken one time a day during or independently from eating.
The dosage also varies according to the disorder it is supposed to treat.
Thus, for depression, you are to take 10, maximum 20 mg of Lexapro a day. The antidepressive effect is achieved in 2-4 weeks of taking the drug. When the desirable effect is achieved, the dosage lowers and Lexapro is taken for at least 6 more months.
For panic disorders, 5 mg of Lexapro a day is prescribed. In time, the dosage should reach 10 mg a day (20 mg in some cases). This therapy continues for several months and the maximum effect is usually achieved in 3 months of taking escitalopram.
Take Lexapro exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
Your pharmacist can provide more information about escitalopram.