Lexapro is an anti-depressant that is classified as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). It is primarily used in the treatment of major depressive disorder. It is also used in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder.
When compared to other Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Lexapro is considered to be a ‘highly selective’ reuptake inhibitor. This means that it has few actions other than blocking the reuptake of serotonin in the brain. For this reason, its side effects are almost entirely related to its effect on serotonin in the brain. Lexapro’s side effects are similar to those of other SSRI’s. Studies have shown nausea, drowsiness, gastrointestinal effects and sexual side effects as very common. Lexapro does not cause significant weight gain.
Lexapro Side Effects Include:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased Appetite
- Sexual Dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction is a significant side effect of Lexapro. People often discontinue the use of Lexapro and other anti-depressants due to sexual side effects. Sexual side effects resolve after discontinuation of the drug. If a person wants to stop taking Lexapro because of sexual side effects they should consider switching to another anti-depressant. The anti-depressant Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is much less likely to have sexual side effects.
Sexual Side Effects Include:
- Decreased libido
- Genital sensory impairment
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Delayed or failure to achieve orgasm
Discontinuing treatment with Lexapro may cause withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The severity of withdrawal symptoms varies from person to person and is highly related to dose and length of treatment. Higher dosage and longer treatment make severe withdrawal symptoms more likely. Abrupt discontinuation also increases the risk of SSRIs withdrawal symptoms. Severe withdrawal symptoms are often experienced in the first 2-14 days. Symptoms can last several weeks and gradually disappear as the brain readjusts itself.
Lexapro Withdrawal Symptoms Include:
- Electric shock sensations
- Flu-like symptoms
Withdrawal symptoms can be minimized by tapering off of the drug gradually by direction of a doctor. It is very important to talk to your doctor if you want to stop taking Lexapro. Lexapro should not be taken with monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Combining SSRIs drugs and an MAOI can cause a potentially lethal condition called serotonin syndrome. Talk to your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs you are taking before taking Lexapro.