Q: Does Lexapro sometimes cause sudden outbursts in temper?
A: Lexapro (Cipralex) is in a drug class called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Lexapro is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Outbursts in temper are not specifically listed as a side effect of Lexapro, according to the prescribing information. However, according to the prescribing information for Lexapro, patients being treated with Lexapro for major depressive disorder (MDD) or other conditions should be monitored for worsening of symptoms, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially in the first few months of treatment or when a dose change occurs. The symptoms that need to be watched for include anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, hostility, irritability, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathesia (restlessness), hypomania, and mania. Hypomania or mania are characterized by increased energy and mood. Although there is no distinct connection between these symptoms and worsening of depression or suicidal impulses, it is believed these symptoms may be the precursors to suicidal thoughts or actions. It is important to contact a health care provider to report any new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, thoughts, or feelings. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. Kristen Dore, PharmD
8. Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines and Cipralex can interfere with each other and increase the chances of you having side effects.
Tell your doctor if you're taking these medicines before you start Cipralex:
- any medicines that affect your heartbeat - Cipralex can speed up or change your heartbeat
- any other medicines for depression - some rarely used antidepressants can interact with Cipralex to cause very high blood pressure even when they have been stopped for a few weeks
These aren't all the medicines that can interfere with Cipralex.
For a full list, see the leaflet inside your medicine packet or check with your pharmacist.
Q: I've been on 5 mg Lexapro for 2 weeks and am more depressed than when I started. Is this the right drug for me?
A: Lexapro (Cipralex) is intended for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Some patients do experience worsening symptoms or thoughts of hurting themselves in the first weeks of treatment. Because this is happening to you, you should contact your health care provider at once. Finding the right medication for your depression can take some time and often involves trying several medications to see what works and is well tolerated. For more information, please visit //www.everydayhealth.com/depression/guide/ and //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/lexapro. Michelle McDermott, PharmD
What other drugs will affect Cipralex (Lexapro)?
Taking Cipralex with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking a sleeping pill, narcotic medication, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.
Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with Cipralex, especially:
- any other antidepressant;
- medicine to treat anxiety, mood disorders, or mental illness;
- lithium, St. John's wort, tramadol, or tryptophan (sometimes called L-tryptophan);
- a blood thinner--warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven;
- migraine headache medication--sumatriptan, rizatriptan, and others;
- narcotic pain medication--fentanyl or tramadol; or
- stimulants or ADHD medication--Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, and others;
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Cipralex, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Q: I can't seem to get off the couch. Can my antidepressant Lexapro be the culprit?
A: A number of factors may be involved with the symptom described. A common side effect of Lexapro (Cipralex) is fatigue, which occurs in 2 to 8 percent of patients. Lexapro may be responsible for the feeling of not being able to get off the couch, or it may be the depression. If Lexapro has been newly prescribed, it can take up to four weeks to feel the full benefits of the medication and to build tolerance to the side effects. Keeping an open dialogue with your physician in regard to your current symptoms can help your physician make the best decision about your current therapy. I have included two links for more information: //www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/lexapro and //www.everydayhealth.com/depression/guide/ Lori Mendoza, PharmD
Q: I'm taking Lexapro and Luvox and I'm not able to lose any weight. I know the Lexapro causes weight gain. Is there anything I can do or do I just have to accept the weight gain?
A: The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the class of drugs that includes Lexapro (Cipralex), are indeed associated with weight gain. It is a common side effect of these drugs. Some SSRIs are worse than others, so switching to another SSRI may help. Zoloft (sertraline) probably is the least associated with weight gain within the SSRI class. There are also other antidepressants available that may be appropriate. Consult your healthcare provider to see if switching medications is appropriate based on your specific circumstances. Do not stop or change the amount of medication you take without talking to your healthcare provider first. You can find helpful information about weight management at //www.everydayhealth.com/weight/weight-articles.aspx. Under weight management, you can find information about how to find a nutritionist. Sarah Lewis, PharmD
Q: Does Lexapro cause bloating, gas, and itchy skin?
A: Lexapro (Cipralex) is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) used to treat depression, and it can effect the GI (gastrointestinal) tract. Bloating and gas are not specifically listed as side effects, but it can cause heartburn, nausea, constipation, stomach pain, increased appetite, and diarrhea. Other common side effects include changes in sex drive or ability, dizziness and/or drowsiness, sweating, tiredness, dry mouth, flu-like symptoms, runny nose, and sneezing. It does not list itchy skin. If there is a redness and rash with the itchiness, there may be an allergy to the medication. You should contact your doctor. This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with Lexapro (Cipralex). Patti Brown, PharmD
6. How to cope with s >
What to do about:
- a dry mouth - chew sugar-free gum or sugar-free sweets
- sweating a lot - try wearing loose clothing, using a strong anti-perspirant, and keeping cool using a fan, if possible. If this doesn't control the problem, talk to your doctor. You may need to try a different antidepressant.
- being unable to sleep - take Cipralex first thing in the morning
- feeling sleepy- take Cipralex in the evening and cut down the amount of alcohol you drink. Do not drive or use tools or machinery if you're feeling sleepy. If this doesn't help, talk to your doctor.
- feeling tired or weak - stop what you're doing and sit or lie down until you feel better. Do not drive or use tools or machinery if you're feeling tired. Do not drink alcohol as it'll make you feel worse.
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to Cipralex.
Cipralex can thin your blood a little. If you take Cipralex with blood thinners, your risk of bleeding is increased. Examples of blood thinning drugs include:
Certain water pills can decrease sodium levels in your body. Cipralex may also decrease sodium. Taking water pills with these drugs may increase your risk of low sodium levels. Examples of these drugs include:
Electrocardiograms from Lexapro (N=625) and placebo (N=527) groups were compared with respect to outliers defined as subjects with QTc changes over 60 msec from baseline or absolute values over 500 msec post-dose, and subjects with heart rate increases to over 100 bpm or decreases to less than 50 bpm with a 25% change from baseline (tachycardic or bradycardic outliers, respectively). None of the patients in the Lexapro group had a QTcF interval >500 msec or a prolongation >60 msec compared to 0.2% of patients in the placebo group. The incidence of tachycardic outliers was 0.2% in the Lexapro and the placebo group. The incidence of bradycardic outliers was 0.5% in the Lexapro group and 0.2% in the placebo group.
QTcF interval was evaluated in a randomized, placebo and active (moxifloxacin 400 mg) controlled cross-over, escalating multipledose study in 113 healthy subjects. The maximum mean (95% upper confidence bound) difference from placebo arm were 4.5 (6.4) and 10.7 (12.7) msec for 10 mg and supratherapeutic 30 mg Cipralex given once daily, respectively. Based on the established exposure-response relationship, the predicted QTcF change from placebo arm (95% confidence interval) under the Cmax for the dose of 20 mg is 6.6 (7.9) msec. Cipralex 30 mg given once daily resulted in mean Cmax of 1.7-fold higher than the mean Cmax for the maximum recommended therapeutic dose at steady state (20 mg). The exposure under supratherapeutic 30 mg dose is similar to the steady state concentrations expected in CYP2C19 poor metabolizers following a therapeutic dose of 20 mg.
On this page
- About Cipralex
- Key facts
- Who can and can't take Cipralex
- How and when to take it
- Side effects
- How to cope with side effects
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Cautions with other medicines
- Common questions
What is Lexapro (Cipralex)? How does it work?
Cipralex is an oral drug that is used for treating depression and generalized anxiety disorder.
Chemically, Cipralex is similar to citalopram (Celexa). Both are in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class that also includes fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft). SSRIs work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain, the chemical messengers that nerves use to communicate with one another. Neurotransmitters are made and released by nerves and then travel to other nearby nerves where they attach to receptors on the nerves. Not all of the neurotransmitter that is released binds to receptors and, instead, is taken up by the nerves that produced them. This is referred to as "reuptake." Many experts believe that an imbalance of neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. Cipralex prevents the reuptake of serotonin (a neurotransmitter), which results in more serotonin in the brain to attach to receptors.
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