There’s a good chance that you or someone you know takes Lexapro. It’s one of the most popular antidepressants on the market, and millions of people rely on it to manage their depression and anxiety. But do you really know what it is and how it works?
If you’re considering taking Lexapro, it’s important to learn all you can about the drug before making a decision. Here are seven facts that will help you make an informed choice.
1) Lexapro is an antidepressant.
Lexapro is a prescription medication that is used to treat anxiety and depression. It is a brand name for the generic drug called escitalopram. The drug is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, which means that it works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Escitalopram is one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the United States.
2) Lexapro is used to treat depression and anxiety.
Since Lexapro is an antidepressant, you can then expect that this medication is being prescribed to manage depression symptoms. Because of how it affects the amount of serotonin in the brain, the drug is said to enhance mood and reduce depression over time.
Another use for Lexapro is to treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety is a serious mental health problem that affects millions of people all over the world. That’s why it is not surprising how this drug has become very popular.
Lexapro is also being prescribed for other conditions including depressive psychosis, dementia, arteriosclerotic dementia w/ depressive features and dementia w/ depressive features.
Other off-label uses include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and insomnia.
3) Lexapro does not take effect immediately.
Although the drug increases serotonin levels, it takes a few weeks before you can feel its full effects. This shouldn’t be a problem because the primary goal of treatment is to actually reduce depression and anxiety over time.
Unlike other anti-anxiety medications like Xanax where you can feel the effects within 1 to 2 hours, you need to take Lexapro for about 4 to 6 weeks before you can benefit fully from the drug.
If you do not immediately feel the effects of this drug, it’s important not to stop taking the drug. Take the medication as prescribed by your doctor. If you’re not feeling the effects even after six weeks on the medication, the best approach is to speak to your doctor about it so you can look at alternative treatment methods.
4) Lexapro has some common side effects.
Like any other drug, Lexapro can cause common side effects. If you have been prescribed this drug, some of the symptoms you may encounter include the following:
- dry mouth
- appetite loss
- sexual issues
5) Lexapro can interact with other drugs and substances.
Unfortunately, Lexapro can interact with a lot of other drugs and medications. Because it affects the body’s chemical balance, you have to be careful about what you take or use along with this drug.
In most cases, it is advisable that you consult your doctor before taking any medication at all while on Lexapro. Some of the common drug interactions include aspirin, MAO inhibitors , and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen.
6) A person can abuse Lexapro and develop an addiction.
Since escitalopram is not considered as a controlled substance, many people have the misconception that taking it will not cause addiction. However, because there are those who abuse the drug, this can result in drug dependency and even addiction.
How does addiction to the drug happen? In many cases, users continue to increase their dosage for a faster effect. The problem, however, is that as with any drug, increasing your dosage can also increase your tolerance level. When your drug tolerance becomes higher, then you will need to take more and more of the drug. The higher your drug tolerance, the easier it is for you to become addicted and develop dependency.
Even when people do not increase their dosage, there’s a chance that they can still become addicted. This is when they keep taking Lexapro even after their prescription period has ended. When you take the drug for too long, you can start becoming dependent on the drug and stopping the drug will result in withdrawal symptoms.
Other users buy Lexapro illegally even without prescription and take the drug thinking that it can give them a sedative effect. And if they find that the effect is not immediate because they have a wrong understanding of the drug’s effects, then they mix it with other drugs and alcohol in order to get better results. This is dangerous as this can result in drug overdose.
7) Lexapro addiction is treatable.
If you find yourself addicted to antidepressants like Lexapro, help is available. As with any drug addiction, whether it’s prescription medication or even illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin, you should seek help immediately.
Consulting with a professional treatment professional can help you get into a personalized treatment program. Be patient with yourself during the treatment process. It will take time to see positive results, but you should be able to recover from addiction successfully if you are ready for change and follow through on it.