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Lexapro Pros & Cons

by
author image Patrice De La Ossa
Patrice De La Ossa is currently finishing her doctoral degree in education specializing in alternative/choice education and resides in Seattle, where she teaches at a local high school and university. Publications range from peer-reviewed journals and The Seattle Times' Newspapers in Education program to blogging as a master teacher and single parent. De La Ossa has attended University of Arizona, Antioch University and Walden University.
Lexapro Pros & Cons
A pharmacist discusses medication with a customer. Photo Credit Jovanmandic/iStock/Getty Images

Sometimes medication is necessary to treat symptoms of depression and anxiety if these symptoms interfere in a person's ability to handle daily life events. Lexapro is an antidepressant that can significantly improve the symptoms of depression and anxiety for many patients. Therefore, if a patient suffers from either depression or anxiety, Lexapro may be beneficial in relieving symptoms. Working with your physician to find the right medication will help in reclaiming a fulfilling life.

Type of Medication

Lexapro is a member of the group of prescription drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is an oral medication that is usually taken once a day. Lexapro has been prescribed to over 18 million people. Lexapro is typically classified as an antidepressant but is used to treat anxiety as well. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is believed to influence mood.

How it Works

SSRIs such as Lexapro help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety by increasing the available supply of serotonin in the brain with minimal effect on many of the other chemicals in the brain. An imbalance in serotonin may be an important factor in the development of depression and anxiety. The balancing act is created when serotonin is released from one nerve cell and becomes accessible to the next, but in the process some of the serotonin released is reabsorbed by the first nerve cell. Lexapro blocks the re-absorption of serotonin into the first cell, which causes an increased amount of serotonin to become available.

Benefits

Depression and anxiety can be debilitating, preventing many patients from functioning fully in life and leaving an impact on their families. Lexapro has proven placebo-controlled trials in patients and is used widely with research on various side effects and drug interactions. This medication is not a controlled substance, fairly inexpensive and will not cause dependency issues. Many patients have relieved symptoms within two to four weeks. The medication improves mood, sleep, energy and appetite, as well as alleviating the symptoms of depression and anxiety helping patients regain a fulfilling life. However, this medication is not intended for pediatric patients under the age of 12.

Precautions

As with any medication, side effects are possible. The risks involved with Lexapro reported from clinical trials indicate the most common side effects associated with the treatment in adults were nausea, insomnia (difficulty sleeping), ejaculation disorder (primarily delay), fatigue and drowsiness, increased sweating, decreased libido, and anorgasmia (difficulty achieving orgasm). For pediatric and young adult patients, additional side effects were reported, such as back pain, urinary tract infection, vomiting and nasal congestion. Patients of all ages who are using an antidepressant therapy should be monitored closely for clinical worsening, suicidal tendencies or unusual changes in behavior.

Future

Lexapro should be taken even if you start feeling better, otherwise your symptoms could return or worsen. This medication should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy. Although Lexapro is not considered addictive, there are withdrawal symptoms reported when ending treatment. These include irritability, dizziness, sensory disturbances, anxiety, confusion, headache, unstable mood and insomnia. Many patients many require medication long-term, while others may only need it for a shorter period.

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