What is Lexapro?
Lexapro and its generic counterpart escitalopram are prescribed for patients who struggle with pronounced anxiety. This drug is also often prescribed for those who are clinically depressed. This is one of a limited group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Drugs like Lexapro seek to boost the level of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is essentially a chemical that improves a person’s sense of well being.
Important information about Lexapro
Like other drugs we’ve discussed such as BuSpar and Effexor XR this drug should not be used if the patient is using MAO inhibitors. You must discontinue the use of MAO inhibitors two weeks prior to using Lexapro and should wait 7 days following the discontinued use of Lexapro before resuming use of any MAO inhibitors.
Lexapro is not meant to be used by women who are pregnant. Unborn children can develop life threatening lung conditions when their mother uses this drug while pregnant.
Suicidal thoughts are common among those who start a regimen of Lexapro. This often lessens over time, but caregivers should be aware that this is one of the early side effects of the medication. Doctors will want to check the patient on a regular basis while the patient’s body adjusts to Lexapro.
What to avoid while taking Lexapro
Several anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, diclofenac (Voltaren), etodolac (Lodine), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), indomethacin, nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) and piroxicam (Feldene) can cause bruising and bleeding among those who also take Lexapro.
This drug should also not be used in tandem with other anti-depressant drugs including almotriptan (Axert), amitriptyline (Elavil), citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), frovatriptan (Frova), imipramine (Tofranil), naratriptan (Amerge), nortriptyline (Pamelor), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) rizatriptan (Maxalt), umatriptan (Imitrex), or zolmitriptan (Zomig).
Here is a list of other medications to stay away from when taking Lexapro.
- Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
Possible side effects of Lexapro
Some who use Lexapro have experienced allergic reactions that can include a rash, hives or swelling in the face, lips, throat and tongue. Medical attention will be required to manage these problems.
Significant mood swings including depression, suicidal thoughts, panic and insomnia are other potential side effects.
Other issues you might experience while on Lexapro include…
- A loss of coordination
- Dry mouth
- Elevated heart rates
- Inability to concentrate
- No appetite
- Strong physical reactions to things happening around you
- Trouble breathing
What do I do if I overdose on Lexapro?
An overdose of Lexapro may not be fatal, but in the worst-case scenario it could leave the patient in a coma. If you believe too much of the drug has been taken you should seek medical attention.
Major depression in a patient may actually be enhanced with the use of any anti-depressant. Agitation, anxiety, mood swings, mania and hostility are all potential problems while taking Lexapro. Like other anxiety reducing drugs Lexapro can make an individual sleepy. Care should be taken to gauge how a patient will respond to this drug when dealing with situations where being alert is vitally important.
Where can I get more information?
Forest Laboratories Inc. is the manufacturer of this drug and they provide company information about Lexapro here. Information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can be found here. You will need an Adobe Acrobat reader to view this file. You can freely download this software here.