Lexapro is an antidepressant, used for the treatment of a number of mental health conditions. One of its most common use cases is managing panic disorder. Here is what you need to know about it.

Panic disorder is the problem that can make one’s life significantly harder. Luckily, this mental health condition may be treated with a number of medications, able to release the patient from the symptoms, associated with it like anxiety and panic attacks. One of the common drugs, prescribed in this case, is Lexapro.

About Lexapro

Lexapro is the brand name for escitalopram. It is an antidepressant that belongs to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Some other common and often prescribed SSRIs are Prozac, Celexa, Paxil, and Zoloft.

This type of medication was introduced to the American consumers more than 30 years ago. At first, it was used only for the treatment of depression and later, it has proven to be completely safe and effective option for the treatment of a number of other mental health conditions, including panic disorder. To be more exact, now, it is also prescribed to the patients with bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD, agoraphobia, chronic pain and migraines, and anxiety disorder.

Apart from the effectiveness and multipurposeness of Lexapro, its most important feature is that it has considerably fewer side effects than most other types of antidepressants.

How Lexapro Treats Panic Disorder

People with mood disorders (including panic disorder) tend to have imbalanced serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, responsible for the mood and some processes in the human body, including sleep. SSRIs and Lexapro in particular balance these serotonin levels. By that, the medication improves one’s mood and helps to manage other symptoms, associated with panic disorder.

What Side Effects Lexapro Has

Just like other effective antidepressants, Lexapro possesses some potential side effects and risks. The most common of them include:

  • Faintness and fatigue;
  • Dizziness and nausea;
  • Headaches;
  • Changes in appetite;
  • Disturbed sleep;
  • Sexual problems;
  • Sweating;
  • Irritability;
  • Digestive problems.

These are only some of the possible side effects of the medication. Lexapro may be responsible for many other inconveniences, most of which usually gradually go away as the patient’s body adjusts to the drug. Anyway, if you experience any changes in your general condition while taking Lexapro, consult your doctor to prevent possible worsening.

Some less common but yet possible side effects of Lexapro require immediate attention of a healthcare specialist. These include disturbed breathing, swelling of tissues, vomiting, seizures, and even suicidal attempts.

Lexapro may also cause an allergic reaction. Also, it shouldn’t be taken together with other medications unless your doctor recommends the opposite.

When Lexapro Starts Working

Lexapro is characterized by a cumulative action. This means that you won’t feel the effect immediately after you take the first pill. Most often, it takes about a week before the patients feel improvements in their condition. The full effect of Lexapro is usually experienced after a couple of months of treatment.

What Happens When One Stops Taking Lexapro

You shouldn’t stop Lexapro treatment without the guidance of healthcare expert. The abrupt stop of the treatment causes strong withdrawal symptoms, including headaches, nervousness, higher body temperature, and dizziness. With the help of your doctor, you will be able to reduce your dosage slowly and avoid most of the inconveniences.

What You Need to Keep in Mind When Taking Lexapro

Here is some important information to consider before starting treatment with Lexapro:

Black Box Warning: SSRIs, including Lexapro, may cause suicidal thoughts and behavior. This risk is more significant in young adults, teenagers, and children. This means that people of these age groups require special attention to the changes in their mood during the therapy.

Missing Doses: In case you forget to take Lexapro in time, take your normal dosage as soon as possible. However, if you have remembered about your treatment at the time that is close to your next dose, you should simply miss it. You should never take more than one dose of Lexapro at once to avoid side effects associated with overdose.

Pregnancy and Nursing: Women should take Lexapro during pregnancy or nursing only in case their doctors find its benefits more considerable than possible risks it may possess for the child.

Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol during the treatment. Any liquor increases the toxicity of the drug, making its side effects worse, and makes the treatment less effective.

Elderly: Older people may experience more severe side effects of the medication. This means they need special attention to the dosages and treatment schedule.