|Antidepressants – Selective Serotonin Reuptake
|Works by increasing the serotonin in the brain
to help maintain mental balance
|4-6 weeks for the full benefits
|Between 6 months and many years
Lexapro 20 mg
Lexapro 20 mg belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of medications. Lexapro is used to treat the symptoms of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in people. The tablets are film-coated and round containing escitalopram oxalate in strengths equivalent to 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg escitalopram base. It is a prescription medicine that may be used alone or with other medicines. Lexapro 20 mg is an antidepressant that can also be used for the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder. It is prescribed to adults and adolescents as it is not confirmed if Lexapro is safe and effective in children younger than 12 years old.
How does Lexapro 20 mg work?
Lexapro 20 mg works by restoring the balance of certain naturally occurring substances (such as serotonin) in the brain. Escitalopram also increases one’s energy level and provides a feeling of stability and well-being, while simultaneously reducing nervousness and anxiety. SSRI works by increasing the amount of serotonin. Serotonin is generally reabsorbed by the nerve cells (known as “reuptake”). SSRIs such as Lexapro work by blocking or inhibiting reuptake, meaning more serotonin is available for passing messages between nerve cells
Lexapro 20 mg must be taken orally once a day, generally in the morning or evening. It can be taken with or without food as directed by your physician. The dosage will largely depend upon the patient’s medical condition and how they respond to the treatment. Age and medical history will also determine how much medicine the doctor prescribes.
In adolescents, the dosage is once a day, however, it might increase after three weeks. In adults, the dosage could be increased to 20 mg after a week of treatment.
Most people using this medication experience no severe side effects. However, inform your doctor immediately if you notice serious side effects.
The most common side effects of Lexapro include the following:
- Weakness, dizziness, or drowsiness
- Anxiousness or restlessness
- Nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or constipation
- Dry mouth, excessive yawning
- Weight gain or loss
- A decrease in sexual drive or libido
- Difficulty having an orgasm
These effects will subside as the patient continues to take the medicine. It will take about a week or so for the body to acclimate to the medication. However, if any of these problems continue to persist, consult a doctor.
One rarely has a serious reaction to the drug. If you notice an allergic reaction to the drug such as a rash or itching and swelling, get medical help immediately. An allergic reaction may also result in difficulty breathing or severe dizziness.
Anyone experiencing negative and excessive side effects of the medication must consult a doctor immediately. Some of these symptoms are:
- Bloody or black stools
- Fast and irregular heartbeat
- Dark vomit
- Eye pain/swelling/redness widened pupils.
- Vision changes, blurred vision, or tunnel vision
- Racing thoughts or unusual risk-taking behavior
- Extreme mood changes
- Confusion and slurred speech
- Severe weakness
- Loss of coordination
- Rigid muscles or high fever
- Uneven heartbeat or severe palpitations
The patient is advised to get medical help right away if they experience any of the symptoms listed above. Sexual side effects, such as problems regarding orgasm or ejaculatory delay may not diminish over time and should also be reported instantly to a health official.
The consumption of SSRI antidepressants such as Lexapro sometimes increases the risk of bleeding. The combined use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen, naproxen), warfarin, and other anticoagulants may increase this risk. This can result in gums that bleed more easily, frequent nose bleeds, or gastrointestinal bleeding. Immediately consult a healthcare professional should any of these symptoms manifest.
Since Lexapro is a medicine that increases serotonin, it may rarely result in a very rare and serious condition known as serotonin syndrome/toxicity. This risk is magnified if the patient is also consuming other drugs that increase serotonin production. It is important to share medical history with the doctor along with a list of all current medications being consumed by the patient. If the patient notices any of the following symptoms, alert the doctor immediately as it may be a sign of serotonin syndrome: heart palpitations, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, fever, agitation, and restlessness.
This list is not comprehensive, and any persistent problem must be discussed with a healthcare professional.
How long should the treatment last?
Generally, depressive disorders or generalized anxiety disorders need to be treated for long periods. The treatment of acute episodes of major depressive disorders may require several months or even longer. The patient might need to use the medicine other than just in response to the depressive episodes. Patients might need to consume Lexapro 20 mg for an 8-week phase to be able to witness the benefits of this treatment. Nevertheless, the dosage and longevity of the treatment will ultimately depend upon the physician. Those using Lexapro for extended periods should periodically evaluate their need for the drug.
Similarly, anxiety disorder is a chronic condition. The efficiency of Lexapro in the treatment of GAD beyond 8 weeks has not been studied systematically. The long-term use of Lexapro 20 mg for the treatment of GAD should also be re-evaluated periodically by consulting a physician.
Before taking Lexapro 20 mg, make sure your physician is aware of any pre-existing conditions or treatments. These include:
- Drugs such as Triptans, Medications used to treat mood or psychotic disorders (such as tricyclics) SSRIs, SNRIs, amphetamines, or antipsychotics, Tramadol and over-the-counter supplements such as Tryptophan or St. John’s Wort
- Liver problems
- Kidney problems
- Heart problems
- History of seizures or convulsions
- Bipolar disorder or mania
- History of stroke
- Low sodium blood levels
- High blood pressure
- Bleeding problems
- Plans for pregnancy. Consult your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of treating depression during pregnancy.
- Breastfeeding – Lexapro may affect breast milk. It is best to consult your healthcare provider regarding how to feed your baby.
Your healthcare provider should be aware of all medications you are consuming, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Lexapro may interact with other medications or may not work as well when combined with other medicines. Do not take Lexapro if you:
- Are allergic to escitalopram or citalopram or any of the ingredients in Lexapro.
- Take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI)
Frequently asked questions:
Can I stop taking Lexapro 20 mg?
The patient may experience harmful side effects if they stop the medication suddenly. Decrease the dose slowly or as necessary.
How does Lexapro make you feel?
The first few weeks may make you feel sleepy and numb. Patients adjust better after a few months.
Can I consume Lexapro 20 mg with alcohol?
To avoid dangerous side effects such as excessive drowsiness and liver problems, it is best to avoid alcohol when on medication.
How long does the effect of Lexapro last?
Lexapro 20 mg will take roughly six days to clear from your bloodstream.