Lexapro Side Effects

by on January 21, 2012


Lexapro is an anti-depressant that can be used to treat both depression and anxiety.  In most cases, Lexapro side effects are minimal and limited to minor discomforts like nausea and drowsiness. Though Lexapro is approved for both adults and adolescents, younger patients tend to experience more severe side effects. With all patients, it’s important to monitor progress on this medication to ensure that worsened depression, suicidal thoughts and other severe side effects do not occur.

Common Lexapro Side Effects

In clinical trials, the most common lexapro side effects were the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased sweating
  • Ejaculation disorder
  • Anorgasmia
  • Decreased libido

Adolescents taking the drug experienced the same side effects noted above as well as:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Nasal congestion
  • Vomiting
  • Back pain

These side effects are not serious and pose no serious health risks. However, patients who experience prolonged side effects or find the side effects they are experiencing to be bothersome should contact their doctor to discuss possible options.

Serious Lexapro Side Effects

lexapro Allergic reactions to Lexapro and other escitalopram medications can occur. An allergic reaction is characterized by the following side effects and should be addressed immediately:

  • Rash or hives
  • Itching
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling of the face and mouth

If you experience side effects that indicate an allergic reaction to the medication, see a doctor immediately.

Other side effects that are severe and indicate the need to see a health care provider immediately include:

  • Bloody or dark stools
  • Confusion
  • Decreased coordination or concentration
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular, fast or slow heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Memory Loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Restlessness
  • Exaggerated feelings of well-being
  • Swollen, peeling or blistered skin
  • Seizures
  • Severe ringing in the ears
  • Severe dizziness
  • Persistent or severe headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vision changes
  • Tremor
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Menstrual changes
  • Painful, persistent erection
  • Stomach pain
  • Fever
  • Severe muscle stiffness

If any of the above side effects occur, you should consult a doctor immediately. Many of these symptoms indicate a more serious condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Suicidal Thoughts or Actions

Though escitalopram is intended to treat depression, some side effects actually involve worsened symptoms. The individual and those close to him or her should be aware of these possible side effects and consult a doctor immediately if they occur.

Behavioral side effects to watch for include panic attacks, agitation, strange behavior, aggression, irritability, impulsiveness and hostility. Worsening of depression and any suicidal thoughts or actions should be addressed immediately. These types of Lexapro side effects are most common among adolescents and teens.

Lexapro and Insomnia

Difficulty sleeping, also known as insomnia, is a common side effect. Studies reported that up to 12 percent of people taking this drug had difficulty falling and staying asleep.

General changes in sleep habits such as sticking to a strict schedule, avoiding stimulating activities before bed and creating a relaxing sleep environment may help treat this side effect. If insomnia persists, consult a health care professional for additional options.

Sexual Lexapro Side Effects

Side effects related to sexual health can occur in both men and women. Impotence, decreased sex drive, decreased sexual satisfaction and inorgasmia are among the side effects that may occur when taking Lexapro. In general, these side effects are more common among patients being treated for general anxiety disorders than they are for patients being treated for depression. In all instances, discussing the problem openly with your doctor is encouraged to find a solution to these types of side effects.

With careful monitoring, Lexapro can be an effective daily treatment for depression and anxiety. Lexapro (escitalopram) should always be used with a doctor’s supervision. Be honest with your doctor about all medications you are taking as well as your previous medical problems and alcohol consumption.