Can Certain Foods Affect Lexapro?

barman pouring red wine in the glass
Alcohol can affect Lexapro. (Image: donfiore/iStock/Getty Images)

Lexapro, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, treats depression and anxiety disorders. While this medication may interact negatively with a variety of other medications or supplements, the only known food interaction is with alcohol. Always talk to your doctor to rule out all potential interactions before taking this medication.

About Drug-Food Interactions

Food may delay or increase the absorption of certain medications. Medications that are affected by food generally recommend that the drug be taken on an empty stomach, either one hour before eating or two hours after eating. With the exception of alcohol, Lexapro is not a medication affected by food. Lexapro prescribing information suggests that the medication can be taken with or without food.

Lexapro and Alcohol

Alcohol can worsen the side effects of Lexapro. Dizziness and drowsiness may be particularly severe. The effects of alcoholic beverages may also undo the effects of Lexapro, resulting in an onslaught of depression or anxiety. This reaction may be particularly dangerous for teenagers or young adults, as these individuals are already at a greater risk for suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking Lexapro. The negative effects alcohol can have on Lexapro may occur even if the two are not taken at the exact same time. For this reason, it is best to avoid alcohol completely while taking Lexapro.

Other Interactions

While alcoholic beverages are the only food item that negatively interacts with Lexapro, the medication does have many other drug interactions. Pimozide, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, selegiline, tranylcypromine, warfarin, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, carbamazepine, cimetidine, ketoconazole, lithium, linezolid, almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, sumatriptan, rizatriptan, zolmitriptan, metoprolol, desipramine, sibutramine and tramadol all interact negatively with Lexapro. Other antidepressant, anti-anxiety medications, anti-seizure medications, sedatives, sleeping pills, tranquilizers and antihistamines also may interact negatively with Lexapro. Other interactions with over-the-counter medications, prescription medications or supplements may also occur. Always report all of your current medications and supplements to a doctor before taking Lexapro.

Considerations

It may take four weeks or longer before you feel the full effects of Lexapro. If you are concerned that the medication is not working the way it is supposed to, contact your doctor. Do not stop taking the medication on your own. Doing so may result in unpleasant withdrawal effects, including irritability, agitation, numbness or tingling of the limbs, confusion, insomnia, tiredness, anxiety or other mood changes. Because of these withdrawal effects, it is important to decrease your dosage of the medication gradually under the supervision of a doctor rather than abruptly stopping the medication.

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