Lexapro medication side effects and benefits, use with natural supplements

Escitalopram medication information for anxiety, depression

April 12 2017 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Lexapro is prescribed for major depression. To be considered major, depression must occur nearly every day for at least two weeks, and must include at least five of the following symptoms: low mood, loss of interest in usual activities, significant change in weight or appetite, change in sleep patterns, agitation or lethargy, fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or lack of concentration, and thoughts of suicide.
   Escitalopram (Cipralex), Lexapro), the active S-enantiomer of the racemic SSRI citalopram (RS-citalopram), is a highly selective inhibitor of the serotonin transporter protein. It possesses a rapid onset of antidepressant activity, and is a treatment for moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder.


Lexapro side effects, safety, risk, danger
The rate of a Lexapro side effect is higher in patients who take 20 mg as opposed to those who use 10 mg. A common Lexapro side effect is nausea which can occur in one of out five Lexapro users. Another common adverse reaction is insomnia. Not getting enough sleep can actually make depression worse. Additional adverse reactions that are possible include problems with ejaculation, increased sweating, fatigue, decreased libido, and difficulty with orgasm. The sexual side effect is quite bothersome to many users. We have had reports of fatigue as a common Lexapro side effect. Those who are depressed do not appreciate being fatigued.


Just a single dose of a common antidepressant can quickly alter the way brain cells communicate with one another,. The findings, reported online Sept. 18 2014 in Current Biology, are a step toward better understanding the brain's response to widely prescribed antidepressants. In a small study of healthy volunteers, researchers found that a single dose of the antidepressant escitalopram (Lexapro) seemed to temporarily reduce "connectivity" among clusters of brain cells in most regions of the brain.


J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2015. Rhabdomyolysis With Risperidone and Escitalopram Coadministration: A Case Report.


J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol. 2014. Micturition Difficulty and Urinary Retention Associated with Aripiprazole and Citalopram Treatment in a Male Adolescent with Asperger Syndrome.


I am currently on Lexapro, my dr. prescribes 20mg but I only take 1/4 a pill a day and feel quite good on that, the only thing is that it kills my "sex drive" Is there anything that can be taken to help with this issue.
    A. There are several herbs that enhance sex drive or libido, but studies have not been done in combination with this SSRI antidepressant to determine safety in combination with such sex enhancing herbs. If one were to try the herbs, it is a good idea to begin with small dosages.


My brother was (quite without regard) prescribed Lexipro several years ago and is having a very difficult time weaning himself off it. He tried titration as recommended but was in such severe withdrawal that his doctor told him to go back on. He is currently trying to wean onto Prozac as a stand in and then eventually off that. He has major panic attacks, accelerated heart rate and although he is not suicidal, he truly does not believe that he will live much longer in this state. He is 33 years old. I recommended that he look into homeopathic as a life style change, however it is difficult to get him to make the changes in the state that he is in. Do you have any recommendations as to alternative methods of weaning and or holistic approaches to anxiety? Additionally, are there any links between Lexipro and atrial fibrillation?
   A. The anxiety article has a discussion of this topic. It is possible that Lexapro could cause A fib.


Testimonial on reversal of SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction with herbal formula
I had tried multiple individual herbs for my low sexual function (due to anxiety disorder, and also due to SSRI meds) and these had only a mild impact with was not meaningful. After taking Passion Rx for 1 week daily (with a break once every 3 days) I noticed lot of improvement in my erections, sexual desire and orgasms. Although not to a level of my pre-anxiety disorder when i was totally healthy, but I cannot expect more as i am taking a potent SSRI called Lexapro.


Q. I recently ordered your Passion Rx and horny goat weed extract with icariin. I currently take 10 mg of Lexapro per day and noticed that the label stated not to the Passion Rx on the same day as the anti-depression medication.
   A. It is difficult to predict a person's reaction to the use of this prescription antidepressant along with sexual stimulating herbs such as Horny Goat Weed extract  and others.


Q. Will Passion Rx help with libido / erection problems due to taking SSRIs, i.e., Lexapro?
   A. It's possible, but one has to be careful combining herbs for libido enhancement along with Lexapro since the potential side effects are not well studied.

Q. I currently taking Lexapro for anxiety / depression and it helps very much. The only problem is that I am experiencing some mild-moderate effects on my libido and function. My Dr. put me on wellbutrin Bupropion but I don't seem to be tolerating it well. Are there any natural supplements that I could take long term alongside to help raise my sexual desire and contribute to function? (preferabbly something that raises dopamine would be great, as I believe that is the culprit here).
   A. Many people can benefit from the various herbs reviewed on my libido increase article but each person is different regarding what works for them and the dosage that they require. The effects of combining aphrodisiac herbs with antidepressant medication is not easy to predict so a good way is to begin with very low dosages and gradually build up.


How does Lexapro work?
Lexapro works by boosting levels of serotonin, one of the chief chemical messengers in the brain. Lexapro is a close chemical cousin of the antidepressant medication Celexa. Other antidepressants that work by raising serotonin levels include Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.


Lexapro maintenance treatment

Maintenance therapy with this antidepressant reduces the risk for recurrent depression. Dr. Susan G. Kornstein from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, investigated the preventive effect of Lexapro maintenance treatment in 139 patients who had responded to treatment with another similar antidepressant and maintained that response when switched to Lexapro for continuation therapy. Some patients with a major depressive episode need acute phase treatment to get their symptoms into remission, followed by continuation phase treatment to prevent that episode from returning (which would be called a relapse). Time to recurrence of depression in the current study was significantly longer for Lexapro-treated patients -- on average 252 days with Lexapro versus 130 days with placebo. It is possible that other SSRI antidepressants or natural supplements could be as effective as Lexapro for maintenance treatment. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, November 2006.


Generic Lexapro

2006 - Shares of Forest Laboratories Inc. surged after a U.S. court upheld a key patent for its blockbuster anti-depressant Lexapro. Analysts said Forest's victory over generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., wiped away a major cloud hanging over the stock.


Escitalopram (brand names Lexapro, Cipralex, Sipralexa and Seroplex) is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. Escitalpram is approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.


Q. I have a question about Lexapro side effects. Is difficulty with orgasm a Lexapro side effect? My doctor didn't tell me about this when he started me on the medicine.
   A. Yes, difficulty with orgasm is a Lexapro side effect, so is reduced libido and sensation of genital organs.


Q. Does Lexapro help with depression in those who have heart failure?
   A. Lexapro is not of benefit in those who have depression associated with heart failure.

Q. Does Lexapro cause weight gain?
   A. Although the company making Lexapro does not list weight gain as a prominent side effect, many users have noticed weight gain after taking Lexapro. At this time I'll wait for more observations or studies before making a definite comment about the association between Lexapro and weight gain.

Q. I have Hepatitis C and five years ago I underwent treatment for this condition. The medication caused me to experience severe depression and was placed on Lexapro antidepressant. I had never been diagnosed with depression before. I recently got off Lexapro and I'm experiencing some mood changes and impulsive problems...question: can 5-HTP help me? I don't ever want to go back to antidepressants again, and Lexapro never really did anything for me, except get dependent on it.
   A. It is impossible to predict how a supplement will make you feel and whether it can replace the Lexapro without trying it. So, if you plan to take 5-HTP, do inform your doctor.

Q. I have just started on Sam-e to treat depression and am starting out very slow. Perhaps 100mg every other day? II was formally on Lexapro for anxiety primarily but I really donít like the side effects (weight gain and tiredness). 
   A. Each person needs to find the dosage that works for them best. For some it is 100 mg every other day or every third day, for others it is 200 mg a day. The only way to tell is by trial and error.

Q. I'm taking Lexapro, can i take fish oil? Maybe i will stop taking this Lexapro (because of side effects) and start taking 5htp, can i take fish oil with 5htp? i became worried when i read this: "As with other psychotropic drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake, patients should be cautioned regarding the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of Lexapro with NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation. Before you begin taking Lexapro, make sure to tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other medicines, including over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies, diet supplements, etc."
   A. Usually one or two fish oil capsules are safe with practically any medicine or herbal supplement, however we can't make that decision for you, it is something you would discuss with your doctor.


Q. I am in Cipralex since 5 months, I developed moderate sleep apnea and hypopnea since 2 months. I think Cipralex is cause of this sleep apnea?
   A. Lexapro can cause sleep disturbances.

Q. Can a Lexapro withdrawal symptom be hypertension when I have never had a history of hypertension. I weaned off slowly, but even after a month, I'm still getting the brain zaps and now hypertension.
   A. We don't have enough experience with Lexapro withdrawal to know whether persisitent hypertension is a side effect.


Q. I'm 30 in good health and want to better my sex drive. How often do I have to take Passion Rx? Can I just take it on the days that I am going to have sexual intercourse? I am taking Lexapro once a day, would I be able to take Passion Rx sexual herbal formula?
   A. Passion Rx is normally taken two days in a row followed by every other day and then the frequency is reduced to every third day or less depending on need. It takes a few days to start working at its best, and once it does, the effects continue for several days even if no pills are taken. We are not able to predict what interactions would occur in people taking Passion Rx with Lexapro or other SSRI drugs. Some people may not find any problems whereas others may find the combination too stimulating or experience other side effects. We prefer people not take Lexapro on the days Passion Rx is used and to have approval by their doctor.


Q. I am purchasing Passion Rx because Cialis only creates an erection without feeling and no orgasm. Will Passion Rx allow orgasm and will it interfere with my daily dose of 10mg of Lexapro? If so, how can I work around this?
   A. Lexapro side effects occur more frequently in patients who take 20 mg as opposed to those who use 10 mg. Lexapro works by boosting serotonin levels which can inhibit sexual urge and sensation and make erections more difficult. We prefer Passion Rx not be used the same day as Lexapro. As a general rule, Passion Rx is taken at most 3 days a week. If you doctor agrees for you to be off Lexapro on certain days where you take Passion Rx, that would be a good option. However, your doctor may agree for you to take a third of a capsule of Passion Rx on the days you take Lexapro, and perhaps the dose of the Lexapro can be reduced on those days. It may be more difficult for any sexual enhancement product to be effective when a SSRI drug such as Lexapro or Prozac is used due to the continuous serotonin influence. Once the effects of Passion Rx begin to work, they can last several days. We don't suggest using Passion Rx the same day as Cialis. These are general guidelines that your doctor can use to guide you further.


Q. My doctor just prescribed Lexapro ( which is an anti-depressant ) for anxiety. would it be ok for me to use SAM e instead? Also i know that you can not drink with antidepressants, but will alcohol effect SAM e the same way? Can SAM e and Lexapro be taken together?
   A. SAM-e is a powerful antidepressant and should be used with caution. We cannot advise you what treatment options to choose. SAM-e, in high dosages, can cause anxiety and a manic phase. We don't suggest having more than an ounce or two of wine with SAM e. And, Lexapro and SAM-e should not be taken together unless in tiny dosages and supervised by a doctor who is familiar with this combination.


Q. i have a question I'm on Lexapro and i gain allot of weight and i'm trying to loss weight can you help me?
   A. Perhaps you can review the information listed at weight loss page.

Q. First off, thank you very much for doing such terrific work. Yours is one of the few websites I know that provides the different studies performed on each drug so that consumers can make up their own minds.
   I took Lexapro for six years. It worked extraordinarily well for five of them -- zero Lexapro side effects, none of the horror stories commonly associated with this particular SSRI, changed my life in many ways, etc. Then, after a very traumatic event last year, it simply stopped working. Recently I have weaned myself off the drug (over a very extended period of time) and am now on day seven. I have been taking Mind Power Rx for two days now, and while I am still experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the Lexapro, I feel more mentally alert and my anxiety is lower. I'm convinced that your product has helped my mind re-balance itself after years of taking Lexapro. So, all I can say is thank you for formulating such an excellent product.
   I am considering trying 5-HTP at some point, though I'll try to ensure my well-being via exercise and proper diet (both of which I neglected while the Lexapro had been helping) before once again relying on a serotonin supplement. I bought a bottle of 50 mg 5-HTP. My question is as follows. I have read accounts of people who only use it to get through "tough spells", for the duration of a month or two, and then stop without experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Can 5-HTP be used in this way, or must I take it for years as I did with Lexapro medication? Thank you very much--your website is a refreshing breath of air when it comes to accurate information.
   A. As with any medication or supplement, my preference is to use the least amount and frequency that works. Specifically, with 5-HTP, it is difficult to predict in any one person what the appropriate dosage or ideal length of time of use. The best way to tell is day by day, to see how you feel each day, and to take breaks to see if your symptoms are still under control even while not on the 5-HTP. 5-HTP does not have to be taken continuously for years. Taking breaks is advised.


Q. I am currently weaning off of Lexapro for several years, with the advice of my doctor, but I would like to know if it is ok to take something else like St. John's wort or 5HTP while weaning off the Lexapro, so that I do not have the withdrawal symptoms and or have a relapse, I have done so much research on the net and find so many suggestions that it all gets confusing, so some info regarding the use of St. John's wort or 5-HTP would be helpful for me and I can pass it along to the doctor,
   A. The use of 5HTP, St. John's wort or any natural anti-depressant for medication withdrawal has not been well-studied by scientists. There are no easy answers since each person is likely to have a different response. It is not possible to predict any one person's reaction. Therefore, the best one can do is trial and error, using 5-HTP or St. John's wort beginning with low dosages under medical guidance. The 5-HTP dosage required is likely to vary and can range from 25 mg to 50 mg, 100 mg or more. The St. John's wort dosage could range from 300 mg every other day to 300 mg twice daily. The time of use as far as days or weeks can also vary. Some people may only need to take these supplements for a week or two whereas others may need a longer time. Each person is unique.


Q. These are the medications that I'm taking: 10mg Lexapro and .05mg Estradiol with 100mg Prometrium. My questions are: What the effective differences between Lexapro and Sam-e supplement? Could I continue to stay on Lexapro and also take Sam-e supplements? If I take Sam-e, are there any side effects with Estradiol and Prometrium.
   A. SAM-e is a potent supplement and can cause restlessness and insomnia if used in high dosages or combined with prescription antidepressants or hormones. It is a good idea to learn the effects of supplements and medications by themselves for a week or so before considering a combination. Different people have different reactions to medications, supplements and combinations, therefore it is not easy to predict such interactions in any one individual. I suggest learning more about SAM-e supplements before using them. When combining medications and supplements, one has to do so cautiously and with low dosages. Common side effects with Prometrium include breast tenderness, dizziness, abdominal bloating, vaginal discharge, chest pain, and diarrhea.


I recently stopped taking 10mg Lexapro after many years of use. I stared taking 50mg of 5-htp because I believed it would mitigate the withdrawal effects. It did help with the withdrawal symptoms, but I stopped using it after reading of the possible side effects. I now feel worse since I've done that. What would you suggest.
    This is a decision you and your doctor would need to make. Side effects of 5 HTP are mild and reverse when the supplement is stopped.


Regarding kanna, do you see a problem with somebody taking 3 mg of Lexapro using kanna of course, not at the same time and at a very low dose. Maybe kanna in morning / lex at night or maybe alternating kanna with lex every other day. it's always wise to use caution and start small but it can't be much different from taking 5-htp with ssri - low doses - as always. in fact, in a previous e-mail you had mentioned to talk to my doctor but you didn't think low doses of ssri and low doses of 5-htp should be a problem. my psych agreed. I think the same principle would apply here.
    Sceletium tortuosum (Kanna) has been used by South African pastoralists and hunter-gatherers as a mood-altering substance since prehistoric times. I am not familiar with the use of this herb, particularly in combination with anti-depressant medications.


As i am taking antidepressant Lexapro for my depression / GAD, the drug has helped tremendously for depression but has decreased my libido by 90%. Although Passion Rx with yohimbe has helped a Lot, say around 50% of my sexual health has improved, but some part of sexual dysfunction remains dull from the psychological perspective due to the prescription antidepressant influencing the mind strongly that is why i wish to try Mind Power Rx also as it may help enhancing Passion Rx's effects besides other cognitive enhancement benefits.