Lexapro (generic name: escitalopram) is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety in adults and major depressive disorder in adults and adolescents who are at least 12 years old.
In addition, it can also be prescribed for those suffering from Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly referred to as ADD or ADHD.
The reason is because many folks who suffer from from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder also suffer from depression and anxiety, which are common co-occurring conditions in those with ADHD.
It usually comes in 5mg, 10mg, or 20mg tablets. It is also available in a 5mg/5ml peppermint flavored liquid solution that is taken orally by mixing with water. See this helpful dosage guide.
Remember to take it with a full glass of water. When taking the liquid version, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Side effects may include: drowsiness, sleep problems (insomnia), and mild nausea. In addition, it may cause weight changes.
More rare and serious side effects may include: skin rash, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, headache, loss of appetite, muscle stiffness, mood swings, agitation, suicidal thoughts, or sweating. Serious side effects may be an indication of serotonin syndrome, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
You may have unpleasant side effects if you stop taking this medication suddenly. Read this warning about the possible health risks of withdrawal.
In clinical trials, some patients reported an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly in children, teens, an young adults. Read this warning about antidepressants and suicide.
This drug may be related to serious or life-threatening birth defects such as lung problems in newborn babies whose mothers take the medication during pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, or if you become pregnant while taking it, notify your doctor. Read this warning about antidepressants and pregnancy.
Read this warning about the possible health risks that can result from mixing antidepressants and alcohol.
Do not take this drug together with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAOI before you can take Lexapro. After you stop taking it, you must wait at least 14 days before you start taking an MAOI.
Be sure to get it prescribed by a psychiatrist, rather than a primary care physician, with follow up medical monitoring appointments. Drugs affect everyone differently and a psychiatrist can adjust the dose and times as needed to best help your situation.
Buyer beware if purchasing via the internet. Samples of this medication purchased on the Internet have been found to contain haloperidol (Haldol), a potent antipsychotic drug with dangerous side effects.
Before taking this medicine, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have: liver or kidney disease, seizures or epilepsy, bipolar disorder (manic depression), or a history of drug abuse or suicidal thoughts. If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take Lexapro.
Inform your doctor if you are taking any other medications: For example, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), diclofenac (Voltaren), indomethacin, piroxicam (Feldene), nabumetone (Relafen), etodolac (Lodine), and others. Taking any of these drugs with Lexapro may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.
Other drugs can adversely affect this one, so it is essential that you inform your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. If your are taking a combination of drugs, do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
It may take 4 weeks or longer before the beneficial effects are noticeable, and up to two months before the full effect is released. Try to be patient. It is best to store it at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Make sure you take it regularly at the prescribed times, and do not stop using this medication without first talking to your doctor.