Lexapro (escitalopram) is one of the most popular antidepressants, thanks to its low risk of side effects and high rate of effectiveness compared to other antidepressants.
If you are considering taking Lexapro for your depression or anxiety, you might be wondering: how long does it take for Lexapro to work?
What is Lexapro?
Lexapro is a brand name prescription medication that is also sold under the generic name escitalopram.
It belongs to a type of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs were first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1987; Lexapro was approved l in 2002.
Other common SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa), , sertraline (Zoloft), and fluoxetine (Prozac).
Lexapro is commonly used for major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults.It is only the second antidepressant in the United States to be approved for MDD in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17.
How does Lexapro work?
SSRIs like Lexapro help to treat depression and anxiety by acting on the chemistry of the brain.
The medications increase serotonin in your brain,, a chemical thought to affect your mood.
We still aren’t sure exactly how this leads to improved symptoms of depression and anxiety. But it is common for people using Lexapro to experience a lifted mood, regain interest in old hobbies that they once enjoyed, and feel the physical symptoms of depression diminish.
How long does it take for Lexapro to work?
Like other drugs in its class, Lexapro acts on the chemistry of the brain and increases the amount of neurotransmitters, including serotonin.
If you are using Lexapro to treat mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, it may not work right away.
Lexapro may start to improve physical symptoms like sleep patterns, appetite, and energy levels after about one to two weeks.
This is a good sign the medication is working, but you likely will not notice a significant change in your mood and emotional symptoms until you’ve been taking Lexapro regularly for up to four to eight weeks.
What are some common side effects of Lexapro?
Lexapro is generally better tolerated than other SSRI antidepressants, But everyone reacts to medication differently, so you may or may not experience fewer side effects.
The side effects of Lexapro are slightly different for children and adults.
Possible side effects of Lexapro in adults include:
- Weight gain
- Dry mouth
- Unusual changes in sex drive and other sexual issues like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation
- Loss of appetite
- Sleepiness, sleep disturbances or drowsiness
- Trouble sleeping
Children, adolescents, teenagers, and young adults may experience the same possible side effects listed above for adults, but may also experience symptoms including:
- Weight change or weight loss
- Suicidal thoughts
Lexapro is also associated with rare but serious side effects, including severe allergic reactions, extremely high blood pressure, seizures or convulsions, low salt levels, serotonin syndrome, manic episodes, and vision problems.
If you experience any side effects that are severe or feel life threatening, seek medical attention immediately.
It can take up to four to eight weeks to experience the full effects of Lexapro .
Physical symptoms associated with depression and anxiety may begin to improve in as little as one to two weeks, while mood-related symptoms take longer.
Certain drugs are at an increased risk of adverse drug interactions such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
If you suffer from major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder, you may benefit from Lexapro.
Seek medical advice from your healthcare provider to determine whether Lexapro is right for you.
What are some common side effects of Lexapro?
Lexapro is generally better tolerated than other antidepressants in its class, so the side effects associated with Lexapro may be less than the side effects associated with other antidepressants.
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