#1
Old 04-01-2008, 03:47 AM
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Experience with Lexapro

My girlfriend (the currently lapsed poster Amelioration) has recently been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and has just started taking the drug Lexapro and, naturally, she is worried about the side effects. I want to be able to reassure her but beyond the statistics that she looked up I know nothing about the drug and while anecdotes aren't statistically valid they tend to be more reassuring. So I was hoping some people here might have some experience with Lexapro and could share anything that might help, what kind of side effects you might have had, how long they lasted etc. I really appreciate help I can get.
#2
Old 04-01-2008, 10:05 AM
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My wife was prescribed Lexapro by her physician for depression and anxiety. It was an absolute nightmare.

While it helped her symptoms, she couldn't deal with the side effects. She gained weight, and it killed her libido. What's worse was that if she missed a dose, or took it too late, it made her nauseated to the point that she couldn't work for days.

It all started when she decided to quit the medicine cold-turkey because of the initial side effects. Within a day of quitting, she had flu-like symptoms that put her in bed for a week. After four days of constant throwing up, she did some research online that indicated that it might be related to Lexapro withdrawal. Upon restarting the medication, her symptoms disappeared within a day. Meanwhile, her doctor denied that these side effects could be related to stopping the medication.

She felt trapped that she could not get off the medication, and terrified that she would miss a dose. It was like being addicted. If we had any trouble with a prescription refill or anything, she would be incapacitated.

Eventually, she started seeing another doctor for the sole purpose of weaning her off the medication. It took nearly two years. To reduce her dose down from 5 mg (the smallest pill), she had to switch to the liquid form so that she could decrease the dose by one drop per week.

While on the medication, she had times where she would be sitting at work, and the symptoms would come on. She would get diapheretic (sweating profusely) accompanied by incapacitating nausea. On the drive home, she would have to stop repeatedly to throw up. She started keeping a bucket in the car for the trips home.

The worst part was that both her original physician and the second physician made it apparent that they felt she was exaggerating her side effects. My wife is a registered nurse, and this upset her even more.

Today, she's finally off the medication. Unfortunately, she's also back to being depressed and anxious, but refuses to even consider medication after the last experience.
#3
Old 04-01-2008, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robby
My wife was prescribed Lexapro by her physician for depression and anxiety. It was an absolute nightmare.

While it helped her symptoms, she couldn't deal with the side effects. She gained weight, and it killed her libido. What's worse was that if she missed a dose, or took it too late, it made her nauseated to the point that she couldn't work for days.
My ex-wife had pretty much the same experience on Lexapro. Gained weight, killed her libido, nausea problems related to timing of dosages.

The worst part was that she seemed to get a great deal WORSE on the mental illness front when she started taking it. What had been a slow, halting descent with periods of progress became a rocket ship into the abyss. Of course, my personal theory is that the depression and anxiety issues were only symptoms of much deeper problems that weren't getting treated - and so the meds were wrong for her because they were not treating the real problems.

On the general subject of withdrawal, I was on a bare minimum dose of Effexor during our brief marriage, more to satisfy her than myself. It too was a nightmare to get off of, and I had to do it cold-turkey during my divorce process because my doctor refused to help me and insisted that I stay on it. It was a really good thing that I wasn't working at the time, because I would not have been able to work and generally avoided even driving during that first hellish week.
#4
Old 04-01-2008, 11:24 AM
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Many men in my life are on Lexapro, including my husband. It works very well for him. The side effects mostly went away after the first couple of months. It quit working after a few more months, but they upped the dosage and he's been happy with it for 2yrs now.
The only lingering side effects have been sexual, but they're minor, and they're better than being clinically depressed.
Right now he's out of meds and I'm going to throttle him.
Lexapro is good. YMMV.
#5
Old 04-01-2008, 11:28 AM
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I have not taken Lexapro myself, but I did a lot of research into various antidepressant meds when I was suffering from post-partum depression, and found that the effects are highly variable by individual. Like, highly. The advice I've seen most often is that if you're on a medication that causes intolerable side effects, or isn't helping with the anxiety/depression, it's appropriate to try a different medication instead. With the caveats that 1) this should be done under a doctor's supervision, of course, and 2) all medications are going to have some amount of side effects.
#6
Old 04-01-2008, 11:32 AM
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I guess I was one of the luckier people; I did gain a few pounds (though when you're starting at 105 even an extra 5 pounds is more than I'd have liked) and it did a number on not my libido as such but on my ability to orgasm, but otherwise it worked pretty well for me. I was on it for a bit over a year and have done okay since being off of it.

If nobody has told her to, she needs to ramp her dosage up slowly, not just start at full dose. And the same goes for if she goes off of it after any period of time at all. I tapered slowly and had no problems, but these sorts of drugs do cause all sorts of withdrawal problems if you go off them too quickly.
#7
Old 04-01-2008, 01:21 PM
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My wife takes it and I can ditto the sexual side effects statements. Not just reduced, it is almost non-existent. If I dont make a move she could care less if we did it or not. When we do have sex, it takes her forever to climax. Incredibly frustrating for both of us.

It helped to stabilize her moods but it kills the bedroom.
#8
Old 04-01-2008, 02:00 PM
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Alistair McCello, please be aware that not everybody has trouble getting off of a particular med. I had read absolute horror stories about getting off of Effexor, like Chimera's, but I took it for several months and had absolutely no problem getting off of it; I stopped with no tapering, and was fine. So its different for everyone.
#9
Old 04-01-2008, 02:13 PM
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I mentined getting off it under the idea of "better safe than sorry."

I know somebody else who went off another of these drugs, the way her doc told her to (only two weeks cutting back!) and was feeling like crap for a couple of weeks until she mentioned to me that she'd gone off of it. Aha! Since then, she's been tapering a lot more slowly and has had no more problems.

Everybody is different/. Lexapro is supposed to be easier on most people as far as side-effects go in general, but YMMV.
#10
Old 04-01-2008, 02:23 PM
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I guess I must be one of the lucky ones. After the year I had, losing my brother, my 6 year old cousin and her father in horrificly tragic accidents, my doctor finally decided to have me try Lexapro for my anxiety and depression. I've been on it for a little over a month, and so far, all of the initial symptoms (dizziness and a slight bit of nausea) are gone. I never did suffer the libido problems others complain about (thank OG!). The only symptom I still have are late afternoon headaches. I've been assured that those, too, will go away, so my fingers are crossed on that one.

I wish your girlfriend luck with whatever route she chooses!
#11
Old 04-01-2008, 02:24 PM
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The biggest benefit I experienced with Lexapro was right at the beginning last October, which said to me that it HAD to be just a placebo effect. Then I had colds ALL winter long, constant sinus infections. Those aren't listed as a side-effect, officially, but I did find a lot of chat groups where people complained about it. I also had problems with doses being time-sensitive. Miss it by an hour and I'd feel dizzy. It seemed to stop working as well after a couple of months -- I'd have mood swings as though I'd missed doses, even when I was taking it exactly as directed.

Getting off Lexapro has been a bitch, I've been somewhat dizzy and moody, but not ill to the point of vomiting. It's been about six weeks now.

I'm thinking a good exercise plan is my best bet. YMMV.
#12
Old 04-01-2008, 02:30 PM
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This is Amelioration, hijacking Alistair's account:

Thanks for the comments, everyone; they've been helpful in showing the broad scope and effects of this drug. It's helping me realize that, at least for the moment, the potential side effects might damage my mental/social health more than the illness itself is, at least considering the amount of stress in my life at the moment.

whiterabbit (or anyone else who could potentially answer this), is tapering off the drug necessary, even if I've only been on it for five days? I've been taking 5 mg/day since last Thursday, but it's impairing my ability to concentrate and I've noticed a sharp increase in headaches, sweating and general moments of brief panic since then. Since at the moment, the drug is doing me more harm than good (I've got lots of stressful things going on until the end of the semester), I'd like to postpone the Lexapro until after the end of finals. My plan is to taper off over the next couple days, using quarter doses, but I don't know if I've already screwed up my system enough to need a longer tapering time to avoid withdrawal.

Thanks for your help!
#13
Old 04-01-2008, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alistair McCello

whiterabbit (or anyone else who could potentially answer this), is tapering off the drug necessary, even if I've only been on it for five days? I've been taking 5 mg/day since last Thursday, but it's impairing my ability to concentrate and I've noticed a sharp increase in headaches, sweating and general moments of brief panic since then. Since at the moment, the drug is doing me more harm than good (I've got lots of stressful things going on until the end of the semester), I'd like to postpone the Lexapro until after the end of finals. My plan is to taper off over the next couple days, using quarter doses, but I don't know if I've already screwed up my system enough to need a longer tapering time to avoid withdrawal.

Thanks for your help!
Are you planning on going of antidepressants completely, or switching to one that may work better for you?
Things I've learned (although I am not a doctor):
My husband was warned not to expect an improvement for the first two weeks, or even up to a month. After a month, however, the change in his quality of living was apparent to anyone. (not wanting to off one's self is great!)

My brother started on Effexor. After a 3mo trial, it was not working for him. It never worked for him at any point. His doctor switched him to Lexapro with no tapering off the Effexor. The 2nd one worked, but sporadically. Possibly because he only took it sporadically. I don't think he's on it right now. (but he's also dropped out of school again and out of work)

And as an update to my above post, the latest shipment of pills came in today's mail. I talked to my husband on the phone. The person I talked to this afternoon is a different person than the one in my house this morning (he was in withdrawl for several days). He feels much better already, and his headache is gone.
Looks like I don't have to work late tonight after all.
#14
Old 04-01-2008, 04:01 PM
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I was on Lexapro briefly about 5 years ago. It didn't harm my libido per se but made orgasm virtually unattainable. This was a side-effect I could not bear, so Lexapro and I parted ways.

My ex-to-be has been on it for a couple of years now and last I heard was helping her tremendously.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 04-01-2008 at 04:01 PM.
#15
Old 04-01-2008, 04:32 PM
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I have been on Lexapro for about a year. No serious side effects. I had reduced libido for a few months last spring, but no serious problems since then. I recommend taking it in the evening, about two hours before going to bed. I've found that this helps me sleep. Taking it in the morning tended to cause drowsiness. It is very important that it be taken consistently every day. Delaying a daily does, even by just half a day, can lead to severe mental symptoms.
#16
Old 04-01-2008, 08:01 PM
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I was in a severe depression when my iron level was border-line blood transfussion level. Doc prescribed Lexapro.... It tossed me into a level of paranoia that scared the crap out of me because I thought I was losing my mind. Extreme anxiety issues, memory loss (I got lost 2 blocks from home because I didnt recognize anything), and a few other "fun" things.

I had a website that explained some people with bi-polar that was on Lexapro had bad reactions. Unfortunately, it's on an old 'puter system so i'm not sure if I still have it.
#17
Old 04-01-2008, 08:29 PM
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I know you're looking for info about a drug for anxiety, but I think you and your girlfriend should know that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is also an excellent treatment for anxiety (some studies say as effective as medication), especially if she is just developing symptoms. I would say (and her doctor should, too), that she shouldn't be on medication alone for anxiety; the combination of medication and CBT are very effective to treat disordered anxiety.

- featherlou, recovered from an anxiety disorder and off meds for four years now.
#18
Old 04-01-2008, 10:47 PM
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I have been on Lexapro for awhile. I took myself off it (I do NOT recommend doing so), but I had no side effects from going "cold turkey", or if I did, they were so minor, I did not notice them.

People are all over the map when it comes to SSRI's, as can be seen in this thread. Someone in a thread a few months back called Lexapro, Sex-a-no. That's it for me--no libido, no orgasm, no thought of sex--well, not quite. It lifted my mood enough where I could envision the possibility of perhaps having sex, but execution of same was too much to bother with (and how this is different than depression eludes me).

Other symptoms I notice while on Lexapro:

I tend to be more impulsive and jokey. Not always appropriately.
I am very tired--like I need a nap every afternoon. One good thing about this is that I do sleep well at night while on it.
At first there is a loss of appetite and I find I don't crave sweets (choc) as much, but no real nausea for me.

No sweats, no paranoia, no dizziness. Just loss of libido, need for sleep and feeling revved up (not hyper or manic, just more willing to be silly in situations where I shouldn't be clowning. Loss of inhibitions would be a good term).


I don't plan on staying on it for much longer, but this time I will go off it with my doctor's approval. (RNs are notorious at doctoring themselves, not always to their best interest. I am no different).

Do NOT take yourself off this all by yourself. Call your doctor. Share your concerns and symptoms. Let him or her decide with you. Hope you feel better soon.
#19
Old 04-01-2008, 10:57 PM
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I don't think you'd need to taper after only five days.

The orgasm thing didn't hit me for the first couple of months, when side effects are supposed to go away! It was worth it for a while, though, I was much more functional otherwise.
#20
Old 04-02-2008, 05:06 AM
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I take both Lexapro and Cymbalta. I took Lexapro alone for a while. I had been on Paxil previously.

I've lost about 100 pounds while on Lexapro. My libido is thinking about waking up again. I DO get the headache and nausea withdrawal symptoms if I skip a dose (usually because I've slept through the time I'd normally take my pills). Lexapro and Cymbalta seem to be a very good combination for me. However, in this field, people's mileage does vary considerably.
#21
Old 04-02-2008, 11:42 AM
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I took Celexa, which is chemically similar, for a year. During that year, I had NOT ONE orgasm. I still had my normal desire, just had no ability. The doctor wouldn't try Lexapro because she expected I would have a similar problem with that. Discontinuing Celexa was not a problem for me, though.
#22
Old 04-02-2008, 12:53 PM
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I'm on Lexapro, as are two of my sisters. We have found it works very well on our depression and anxiety. I have no problems with it at all. I have no physical side effects that I am aware of. I have no problems with libido or arousal or orgasm. I would give it a very glowing review, and - as I often say in these threads - I've done 'em all.

However, it is essential to understand that there are many many choices. That if a drug or a dosage doesn't work for you talk to your doctor. Just because Lexapro gives you problems doesn't mean that another will. Being patient and having to fine tune, maybe several times, is part of the process.

May I also add that it pisses me off beyond measurability that NO doctors tell you to not stop anti-depressants cold turkey. I've had to transition many many times and never had a problem, but for christ sake. How many people just on this board have a predicably horrible time when they don't taper down and then assume that it's the meds and never try another? It makes me angry that too many people won't ever try a different med that could really, really make a difference in their lives because no one told them how to properly use them??? I'm not talking about the people who have an especially hard time tapering down, I'm talking about the average user.

BTW, I occassionally go more than a day without a Lexapro and don't have any issues whatsoever. I also responded immediately and well, in like three days.
#23
Old 04-02-2008, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by featherlou
I know you're looking for info about a drug for anxiety, but I think you and your girlfriend should know that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is also an excellent treatment for anxiety (some studies say as effective as medication), especially if she is just developing symptoms. I would say (and her doctor should, too), that she shouldn't be on medication alone for anxiety; the combination of medication and CBT are very effective to treat disordered anxiety.

- featherlou, recovered from an anxiety disorder and off meds for four years now.

Seconded. CBT was amazingly helpful for me as well.
#24
Old 04-02-2008, 01:55 PM
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I've expreienced Lexapro, Wellbutrin, Xanax...the wife's had those plus Cymbalta over the years. It took _careful_ work with the physician AND a therapist (CBT) for the Wife and I to turn around.

We are NOT who you need to be talking to.

I experienced the same sexual (PORN STAR LONGEVITY!) side effects (NO FIREWORKS AT THE END!), they went away when tapering off to Wellbutrin.

This stuff is different for everybody. I tapered off Lexapro just fine, had to quit Wellbutrin cold turkey (not recommended, but I was on a business trip...it didn't go well)

A lot of this stuff takes 2 weeks to start working right (I swear, Lexapro took 2 days for me), and 2-4 weeks to wean off, it's not something you do without forethought.

I'm completely off meds and therapy and feel _great_. The wife is off therapy and will be weaning of the Cymbalta in May.

Last edited by Unintentionally Blank; 04-02-2008 at 01:56 PM.
#25
Old 04-02-2008, 03:45 PM
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On Lexapro and CBT here at the moment.

So far with the Lexapro the following statements hold true for me:

- I didn't have major side effects.
- I do have slight nausea immediately after taking my dose, but that never goes into actual sickness and always goes away not long after.
- I feel "better" in general. The baseline of my mood is lifted, which means that I'm more inclined to listen to my psychologist and actually act on the advice he's giving me.
- I can miss a day without feeling terrible, but have never pushed my luck for more than 24 hours.
- I have no decrease in libido, but have difficulty reaching orgasm. Where I used to be a 2-minute wonder, it now takes some serious work on my & my husband's part to reach orgasm.

My doctor has been very good to me about this. She's made sure I keep her updated with my status with the drugs, and she's put a very firm 6 month limit on. At the 6 month point we will do another test and if it looks like my moods are still stable then we'll work on gradually coming off of it.
#26
Old 04-27-2013, 02:01 PM
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I started Lexapro about a month ago, after suffering horribly during every period, feeling weepy the rest of the time, having insomnia and fatigue. Blood tests revealed that my thyroid is a bit wacky.

The first dose kept me awake all night. I've also had increased sweating, some tremors, muscle weakness and difficulty concentrating. It took me a few weeks to get through the worst of all that. When I reported these effects to the doc, he wrote me a presciption for Celexa which I have not yet filled.

I have lost about 5 lbs but some of that could be attributed to my protein shakes for breakfast.

This is a whole new frontier for me, a person who has never been on antidepressants before.

I definitely have a much better mood and can get through a period without feeling like my life is draining out of me.
#27
Old 04-27-2013, 02:32 PM
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Another dude checking in. Erections weren't a problem I could not climax.

I wonder if this is what male porn stars do in order to last so long with out blowing their wad?

Last edited by Grrr!; 04-27-2013 at 02:32 PM.
#28
Old 04-27-2013, 02:47 PM
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FYI: This is a 5 year old thread.

I have been on lexapro since November 2012. I'm also on Wellbutrin.

I don't feel "better" but I do feel less "smashy".
I do feel a bit nausea, but it usually goes away.
I have missed a few days in a row with no problem.
I had no libido to begin with, so no difference there.
I haven't notice any weight gain, but I'm pretty fat already.

I still feel very depressed but a little bit less suicidal.
#29
Old 04-27-2013, 04:44 PM
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I was on Lexapro for a while (six months?). quit cold turkey, and began experiencing what I later learned were "brain zaps." The best description I can provide is that it was sort of like being startled every time I re-aimed my eyeballs. I could move my head around, and as long as I kept my eyes locked on a stationary point, no problem. But if I shifted my gaze to something else, I felt a whole-body jolt, as if someone had jumped out from behind a corner and scared the crap out of me (OK, maybe not that bad).

This continued for maybe a month or two before fading away. I understand that for some people it's worse. Google "brain zaps" and see what people have to say about it.
#30
Old 04-27-2013, 05:36 PM
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SSRI's are notorious for having a lot of variation in effect on the patient. I had physical/sexual side effects from Lexapro, but it wasn't the horrifying brain fog that Paxil was. I gave it up because I felt normal except for the irritating sexual stuff.

Last edited by foolsguinea; 04-27-2013 at 05:37 PM.
#31
Old 04-27-2013, 08:04 PM
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Just another data point:

Took it for about 6 months, it worked decently well for severe anxiety at first.

Didn't eat, lost about 35 pounds, no sex drive.

Then the nightmares started. Massively long, vivid, and terrifying nightmares. Two or three of them per night. Seriously fucked-up shit that made me think that I was losing my mind to think up horrible events and scenes like that.

Ended up dropping it after I woke up one night from another nightmare and got into a panic attack so bad that I starting thinking about killing myself because it would be a "more pleasant death" than my brain and heart exploding.

I've heard from lots of other people that nightmares are really common with SSRIs - I wish it had been listed as a possible side effect, because it really was intense, and unexpected, and awful.
#32
Old 04-28-2013, 01:35 AM
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I found out that one of my best friends is on Lexapro. And my doctor's son and daughter. And my cousin and her daughter.

Seems like the club we've joined is growing rapidly.
#33
Old 06-05-2013, 01:36 PM
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I've lost about 14 lbs. since March, which is when I started taking Lexapro. (I also have a protein shake once a day and I swim and walk.)
Anyway, my doctor is ecstatic. And the side effects are pretty much gone except for sweating and dry mouth.
#34
Old 06-05-2013, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foggy View Post
FYI: This is a 5 year old thread.

I have been on lexapro since November 2012. I'm also on Wellbutrin.

I don't feel "better" but I do feel less "smashy".
I do feel a bit nausea, but it usually goes away.
I have missed a few days in a row with no problem.
I had no libido to begin with, so no difference there.
I haven't notice any weight gain, but I'm pretty fat already.

I still feel very depressed but a little bit less suicidal.
I'm also on the Lexapro/Wellbutrin combo so it's hard to say which drug to attribute which side effects to. The big, most annoying one for me is that I forget stuff all the time. Stuff that normal people do not forget. I used to have an excellent short term memory and now it has gotten to the point where some days I can't even remember the names of my coworkers.

I gained some 20 pounds, which I'm back to losing again.

But depression is so much easier to deal with. I can actually be depressed and get up and go to work or exercise or whatever it is I need to do to feel better.
#35
Old 06-06-2013, 03:37 PM
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I'm on lexapro now. The nausea went away for me. However, like celexia, my sex drive is close to 0. It sucks, but I'll take that over feeling like shit all the time.
#36
Old 06-06-2013, 06:09 PM
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I was prescribed Lexapro for migraines several years ago. I took it for a month or two. It did nothing for the migraines and I gained a lot of weight in a remarkably short time.
#37
Old 02-29-2016, 10:15 PM
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Lexapro for sleep

My Dr. Prescribed me a small dose to see if it would let me w/sleep. Does anyone here take it for that reason and if so how ling did it take to work?
#38
Old 03-01-2016, 06:42 AM
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For a time I took a low dose of Lexapro, not for the purpose of helping sleep, but that's definitely what it did. I started taking it in the morning and would be groggy for most of the day, so I switched to night and slept like a log, if you don't mind the occasional nightmare.
#39
Old 03-02-2016, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arita View Post
My Dr. Prescribed me a small dose to see if it would let me w/sleep. Does anyone here take it for that reason and if so how ling did it take to work?
My daughter started on Lexapro about 2 months back. It does not seem to make her sleepy; she takes it in the morning. She also has trazodone (an older antidepressant) which has sleepiness as a side effect; in her case the side effect is the desired benefit (she takes it at night to normalize her sleep schedule) and the antidepressant effect is actually a beneficial side effect for her.

Depending on why you're having trouble sleeping, I guess I could see the Lexapro helping: if the depression gets your mind locked into unhelpful patterns that won't let you sleep, stopping that mindset might let your need for sleep take over.
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