Lexapro is a antidepressant drug used for the treatment depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This drug works by increasing the activity of the chemical serotonin in the brain. This drug requires a prescription.
2 What to Know Before Using
Before taking Lexapro, the risks and benefits for your body should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Inform your healthcare provider for any allergic reactions to these drugs or any other drugs, foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. Carefully read the label of non-prescription drugs for any possible allergic reaction or contraindications.
Studies in children and teenagers 12 years and older with depression have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the utility of escitalopram while safety and efficacy have not been established in children less than 12 years of age. Teenagers who are prescribed with prolonged treatment duration of this drug should have their weight and growth monitored on a regular basis, since this drug may cause weight loss or a decrease in appetite.
Studies in children with generalized anxiety disorder regarding the correlation of age to the effects of escitalopram have not been performed while safety and efficacy have not been established. Studies in the elderly have not reported any geriatric-specific problems that would limit the utility of escitalopram.
Adjustments to the dose of elderly patients may be required since they are more likely to have hyponatremia and age-related liver problems. Adverse effects have been reported in animal studies but studies in pregnant women or animals are still inadequate. Harmful effects to infants have been reported in breastfeeding women taking this drug.
An alternative to this medication should be prescribed or you should stop breastfeeding while using this drug. Drugs should not be taken together to prevent any interactions but in necessary cases inquire your healthcare provider regarding the adjustments in dosage or any other necessary precautions to prevent any unwanted side effects.
Inform your healthcare professional if you are taking any other drugs such as antiplatelet drugs, NSAIDs, blood thinners, MAO inhibitors, MDMA/"ecstasy", St. John's wort, antidepressants, tryptophan, alcohol, antihistamines, alprazolam, diazepam, zolpidem, muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers, escitalopram, amiodarone, pimozide, procainamide, quinidine, or sotalol.
Intake of specific food or using alcohol or tobacco with this drug is associated with an increased risk of certain side effects. Your healthcare professional can give you special instructions about the use of food, alcohol, or tobacco. Inform your healthcare provider for any other medical problems such as bipolar disorder, bleeding problems, glaucoma, hyponatremia, mania, seizures, kidney or liver diseases.
Lexapro must be taken exactly as directed by your healthcare professional. To prevent any side effects, take this drug exactly as directed in the label or as prescribed by your healthcare professional.
This drug may be taken with or without food. Shake the bottle well if you are using the oral liquid before measuring each dose. Use a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or drug cup to measure each dose.
The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid. You may have to take this drug for a month or longer before you experience any improvement in your symptoms.
The dose of this drug will be variable for different patients. The directions on the label or the prescription by your healthcare professional should be followed. The dosage of this drug you take depends on the medical problem for which you are using this drug. Adults and children 12 years of age and older with depression are given 10 milligrams once a day, taken either in the morning or evening.
The dose must not exceed 20 mg per day. Older adults with depression are given 10 mg once a day, taken either in the morning or evening. Use and dose in children younger than 12 years of age with depression must be determined by your healthcare professional. Adults with generalized anxiety disorder are initially given 10 milligrams once a day, taken either in the morning or evening.
The dose must not exceed 20 mg per day. Older adults with generalized anxiety disorder are given 10 mg once a day, taken either in the morning or evening. Use and dose in children with generalized personality disorder must be determined by your healthcare professional. A missed dose should be taken as soon as possible. However, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule if it is almost time for your next dose.
Store the drug in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing. Keep out of the reach of children. Dispose any outdated or expired drugs and ask your healthcare professional for the proper disposal of the drugs.
4 Precautions to Take
In using Lexapro, you must be careful and take some precautions as advised by your doctor.
Regular visits should be made to your healthcare provider to track your progress and to monitor the effectiveness of the drug. Unwanted effects can be screened using blood tests. Taking this drug with a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, linezolid, ethylene blue injection, or phenelzine is not recommended.
Taking this drug during the 2 weeks after you stop a MAO inhibitor and wait 2 weeks after stopping escitalopram before you start taking a MAO inhibitor is not recommended.
Confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, a sudden high body temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or severe convulsions may happen if you fail to do this. Taking this drug with pimozide has been associated with very serious heart problems. This drug may cause some teenagers and young adults to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed, trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. Inform your healthcare professional if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
Check with your healthcare professional first before taking any other drugs with escitalopram, as this drug may cause serotonin syndrome. Your healthcare professional may slowly taper the amount you are taking before stopping it completely to decrease the chance of having withdrawal symptoms such as increased anxiety, burning or tingling feelings, confusion, dizziness, headache, irritability, nausea, trouble sleeping, or unusual tiredness or weakness.
Inform your healthcare professional if you are also taking other drugs that thin the blood, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents, also called NSAIDs or warfarin, as this drug may increase your risk for bleeding problems. This drug may cause hyponatremia which commonly happens in elderly patients, those who are taking diuretic drugs for high blood pressure, or those who have decreased amounts of fluid in the body due to severe diarrhea or vomiting.
Check with your healthcare professional right away if you have confusion, headache, memory problems, trouble concentrating, weakness, or unsteadiness. Be careful in taking this drug before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous, as this drug may cause some people to become drowsy, to have trouble with thinking, or to have problems with movement. Alcohol intake is not recommended while taking this drug. Consult with your healthcare professional before you take any other prescription or non-prescription drugs, and herbal or vitamin supplements.
5 Potential Side Effects
As with many medications, there are several potential side effects associated with Lexapro.
Side effects may vary for each individual and prompt medical attention should be given if they occur. Seek advice from your healthcare professional immediately if you experience any unusual symptoms such as confusion, convulsions, decreased urine output, dizziness fast or irregular heartbeat, headache, increased thirst, muscle pain or cramps, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, swelling of the face, ankles, or hands, unusual tiredness or weakness. Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine, the side effects will slowly disappear. Ask your healthcare professional about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects persists, or are inconvenient, or if you notice any other effects, or if you have any questions about them, consult with your health care professional. Report any side effects to the FDA hotline at 1-800-FDA-1088.
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