On this page, Beliefnet is publishing articles provided by Forest Pharmaceuticals, the makers of Lexapro. Forest Pharmaceuticals is solely responsible for this content.

LEXAPRO is a member of a family of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and it has been proven effective in the treatment of both major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). LEXAPRO helps restore the brain's chemical balance by increasing the supply of serotonin, with minimal effect on many of the other chemicals in the brain.

For many patients, LEXAPRO may provide relief from symptoms of depression and GAD after only 1 or 2 weeks, but the full antidepressant/antianxiety effect may take 4 to 6 weeks1.

How SSRIs Work

The brain chemistry of depression and anxiety is not fully understood. However, a growing body of evidence supports the view that people with these disorders have an imbalance of the brain's neurotransmitters. These are chemicals in the brain that allow nerve cells to communicate. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin. An imbalance in serotonin may be an important factor in the development of depression and anxiety.

  • Serotonin is released from one nerve cell and passed to the next. In the process, some of the serotonin released is reabsorbed by the first nerve cell.
  • SSRIs block the reabsorption of serotonin into the first nerve cell.
  • It is this blocking action that causes an increased amount of serotonin to become available at the next nerve cell.
  • Side Effects

    LEXAPRO is well tolerated by most adults. In fact, patients in clinical trials who took 10 mg of LEXAPRO experienced overall rates of side effects similar to patients who took a placebo1,2.  If you think you are experiencing side effects, you should talk with your healthcare professional about your concerns. A simple adjustment in dose may be all that is required. The most frequent side effects reported with LEXAPRO are nausea, insomnia, problems with ejaculation, somnolence, increased sweating, fatigue, decreased libido, and anorgasmia1,2.  Patients taking LEXAPRO typically have mild to moderate side effects which tend to go away with continued treatment. One study of patients taking 10 mg of LEXAPRO showed that these side effects usually do not cause patients to stop taking LEXAPRO. In that study, only 4% of patients stopped taking LEXAPRO due to side effects, compared with 3% of the patients taking placebo1,2.

    References: 1. Data on file, Forest Laboratories, Inc. 2. Burke WJ, Gergel I, Bose A. Fixed-dosed trial of the single isomer SSRI escitalopram in depressed outpatients. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002;63:331-336


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