Purpose, Dosage & Side Effects – Forbes Health
Before prescribing Lexapro, your healthcare provider will check for any interactions with medications you’re already taking, says Dr. Munir. Also, determining the right dose may take some time, as your doctor will need to analyze your response and the tolerability of the medication. “The dosage is individualized,” says Dr. Nadkarni.
While the National Alliance for Mental Health explains that there are currently no known problems with long-term use of an SSRI like Lexapro, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America warns that there may be shown to have adverse effects with long-term use, such as an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, although these data are difficult to interpret given the known risks of cardiovascular disease in patients with depression . It is possible that the longer a person takes an antidepressant, the less likely it is that the dosage and their symptoms will be evaluated, another reason why it is important to be followed by a professional rather than continuing this medication without proper supervision.
As with any medication, it is important to maintain an open dialogue with your doctor about how you feel you are tolerating Lexapro, if your symptoms appear to have worsened, and if you feel you are not getting the type of care you think you deserve.
Lexapro is available in 5, 10, and 20 milligram tablets and can be taken in the morning or evening, with or without food. It is also available in the form of an oral solution whose doses vary according to the number of drops: generally five, 10 or 20 drops.
The FDA recommends storing Lexapro with the lid tightly closed at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, although anywhere between 59 Fahrenheit and 86 Fahrenheit is acceptable when traveling.
When it comes to timing, consistency is key, says Dr. Munir. For this reason, your doctor will recommend that you take Lexapro at the same time each day, as adopting a daily routine can help with compliance.
Doctors also advise against the consumption of alcohol while taking Lexapro. “Alcohol interacts with all mood-altering drugs and should be a caution when taking Lexapro,” says Dr. Munir. A common problem with mixing alcohol and Lexapro is that the combination can cause excessive drowsiness.
Can you take Lexapro while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Although Lexapro can be taken during pregnancy and does not appear to be linked to “major malformations” in the fetus, it has been linked to a higher risk of low birth weight, according to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital. Additionally, although Lexapro can also be taken while breastfeeding, it is important to be aware that it can pass into breast milk and has been associated with some side effects, including restlessness and irritability of the baby.
If you’re planning to conceive or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to talk to your doctor to decide what treatment is right for you, says Dr. Nadkarni.
How long does it take for Lexapro to start working?
It usually takes about four to six weeks for Lexapro to have a noticeable effect, notes Dr. Munir. That said, treatment can sometimes produce changes in the brain sooner, says Dr. Nadkarni.
During the first two weeks after taking Lexapro, improvements in sleep, appetite and energy may occur, but it may take up to eight weeks to see a positive mood change, according to NAMI.