One of the available treatments for depression is escitalopram, which is sold under the brand name of Cipralex. This medication belongs to the family of drugs known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, which block the reabsorption of serotonin by the brain and cause the serotonin present in the brain to act for a longer time. As with any antidepressant medication, treatment with Cipralex can result in side effects, ranging from mild to severe. A physician should always be consulted if you experience any side effects.
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Effects on Sleep
Because Cipralex acts directly on the brain, it is associated with several side effects relating to the nervous system. A common complaint, which is seen with almost all selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, is difficultly falling asleep. Cipralex also affects the quality of sleep and often reduces the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, while also increasing the time before REM sleep begins. In some people, use of Cipralex can cause fatigue and drowsiness.
Other Neurological Effects
People taking Cipralex sometimes complain of several other side effects related to the nervous system, including dizziness, lightheadedness, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, headache, ringing in the ears or vertigo. In addition, some people experience sexual side effects, such as decreased sex drive, difficulty achieving orgasm or impotence. Effects on vision have also been reported, including blurred vision, dry eyes or visual disturbances and hallucinations. In rare cases, severe side effects, including tremors, balance or coordination problems, twitching, seizures or confusion, have occurred.
Effects on the stomach and digestive tract have been frequently reported by users of Cipralex, including diarrhea, nausea, constipation, heartburn, abdominal pain, decreased appetite and flatulence. Infrequently described side effects include increased stool frequency, gagging, bloating, gastritis, bloating and hemorrhoids. Rare cases of rectal and gastroinstestinal hemorrhage have been reported, although those cases have not been clearly linked to Cipralex, according to Drugs.com.
In some cases, users of Cipralex have experienced effects on the heart, including heart palpitations, rapid heart beat, high blood pressure, ECG abnormalities and varicose veins. Side effects that may occur but that have not been directly linked to Cipralex include heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, heart failure, swelling of the heart and atrial fibrillation.
Flu-like symptoms are another side effect of Cipralex: sneezing, runny nose, coughing, congestion, fever, inflammation of the sinuses, increased sweating and aching, or stiff muscles or joints.
Some users complain of dry skin, acne, rash and itchy skin after taking Cipralex.
Urinary Tract Infection
Cipralex has been reported to cause urinary tract infections and increased urinary frequency in some users.