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Avatar universal

Need HELP to take lexapro or not please???

I have had Anxiety for the last 15 years on and off I try and deal with it myself without prescription drugs.  I took Zoloft about 15 years ago didn't seem to really help much so I stopped taking it.  Then about 8 years ago my anxiety got so bad I was starting to not want to leave my house I would have panic attacks out in public.  Didn't want to go far from home or go to places where there was a lot of people and thought medically I had many things wrong with me..  At this time in my life I was in an abusive marriage.  I tried Zoloft again but felt it gave me bad side effects so I stopped the meds.  I left my abusive husband and my anxiety, panic attacks and bad feelings all went away.  I remarried 4 years ago things were going good till I became pregnant 2 years ago had many complications and almost died.  Since then my panic, anxiety and hypochondria about my health has returned.  I have been trying natural remedies, watch my diet, yoga, and am now going to try B Complex vitamins and st johns wort. I have gone to a therapist also in the past.  The doctor wants me to try Lexapro.  One of my major anxieties is taking medicine because that's why I almost died when I was pregnant the dr gave me the wrong medicine and I had a bad reaction to it.  I am tired of feeling crazy and having the anxiety I need to be well for my children and enjoy life more.  Can anyone help give me strength to either take the meds or tell me some natural remedies I can try that will help me.  Thank you
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1696489 tn?1370825574

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What is Lexapro?
Lexapro (escitalopram) is an antidepressant belonging to a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Escitalopram affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression or anxiety.

Lexapro is used to treat anxiety in adults. Lexapro is also used to treat major depressive disorder in adults and adolescents who are at least 12 years old.

Lexapro may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information about Lexapro
You should not use Lexapro if you also take pimozide, or if you are being treated with methylene blue injection.

Do not use Lexapro if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.

Video: Treatment for Depression
Treatments for depression are getting better everyday and there are things you can start doing right away.
Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using Lexapro. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Lexapro should not be given to a child younger than 12 years old.

Before taking Lexapro
It is dangerous to try and purchase Lexapro on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. Samples of escitalopram purchased on the Internet have been found to contain haloperidol (Haldol), a potent antipsychotic drug with dangerous side effects. For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or visit www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide.

You should not use Lexaproif you are allergic to escitalopram or citalopram (Celexa), or if:

•you also take pimozide; or

•you are being treated with methylene blue injection.

Do not use Lexapro if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine. After you stop taking Lexapro, you must wait at least 14 days before you start taking an MAOI.

To make sure Lexapro is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

•liver or kidney disease;

•seizures or epilepsy;

•diabetes;

•heart disease;

•bipolar disorder (manic depression); or

•a history of drug abuse or suicidal thoughts.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using Lexapro. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

FDA pregnancy category C. Taking an SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy may cause serious lung problems or other complications in the baby. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking Lexapro. Do not start or stop taking this medicine during pregnancy without your doctor's advice.



Escitalopram can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.



I just took this information from Drugs.com.  I hopw you find it helpful.  Also, I want you to know that you are not alone in this.  I have had my meds changed countless times over the years.  AND I HAVE LEARNED TO TRUST MY DOCTOR.  I do not read the pamphlet that comes with the drug, because all that does is scare me into not taking it.  But I will ask my doctor questions about it, and I will ask my pharmacist as well.  I hope you feel better soon - Blessings - Blu
Avatar universal
Whether Lexapro would work or not is unknown, as we all react differently.  St. John's Wort is an antidepressant, not anti-anxiety.  There are many natural remedies for anxiety, but are usually used in a formula to target the different parts of the body that anxiety is affected by -- for example, a relaxant to target GABA, something to balance the adrenals to limit cortisol production, etc.  A good book to get you started on this is Natural Highs by Hyla Cass, a psychiatrist at UCLA.  A naturopath can offer you professional guidance as you don't appear to know your natural medicine, and it's far more complex than seeing a doctor and he or she just gives you a pill to get you out of the office for the next patient -- it's much more whole body oriented, and will involve diet, exercise, relaxation techniques along with the remedies.  Much more complicated.  Good luck.
480448 tn?1426952138
HI there!

There's a couple things I'd like to touch on.  For one, while you have had chronic anxiety for quite a long time, you admit that most of it resolved once the causative factor was eliminated (abusive marriage for example).  

You say you've gone all this time without meds, but you haven't really.  Instead, you only took a med long enough to feel the side effects, you became frightened, then stopped.  So, to be fair, you never really gave those meds a chance, but you DID make the decision to try a med, on more than one occasion.  As I'm sure you know, it can take up to 4-6 weeks before a noticeable improvement is seen.  

You suffer from the fear of meds as do a lot of other anxious people.  Some just inherently worry about that kind of stuff, some get overly focused on the side effects, and convince themselves they will have a horrible reaction, then when they DO experience the typical start-up side effects, they panic.  To add insult to injury for you, you've had a bad experience with a real medication error, which would scare anyone.

I personally am a supporter of meds in some circumstances, and one of my personal criteria would be someone who has exhausted other avenues with no relief, or someone who has suffered for a LONG time....not a week or two of anxiety.  The other time I feel meds are warranted is when symptoms are so severe that a person is struggling to get through daily life..when anxiety has become debilitating.  

Now, with that said, you KIND of fit ALL of those categories, yet you also kind of DON'T (confused yet?  LOL).  The reason I say that is because for one, your efforts thus far don't appear to necessarily be the "right" ones, in terms of your choices for a more "natural" approach.  Also, a good bit of the time you report anxiety in your past was largely related to circumstances in your life that would cause anyone anxiety.  I think it's fair to say you suffer from chronic anxiety, but my guess would be that's more a result of staying in bad situations, kind of setting yourself up to fail.  I would doubt ANYONE would see results from ANY kind of anxiety treatment while they are in the middle of a very stressful situation.  You definitely report debilitating symptoms, with severe agoraphobia, but again, I'm not sure you ever really were on the right path to be able to say, "well, I tried X, Y and Z and nothing worked".  Make sense?

The decision to to try a medication is a very individual one.  There are MANY approaches to treating anxiety, and different things work for different people. Myself for example..I suffer from panic disorder and have also experienced debilitating agoraphobia where I have basically been housebound a few times in my life.  For me, I couldn't even BEGIN to think about working on myself in therapy or on my own because I couldn't get past the symptoms long enough.  The first time I tried a med was shortly after I was diagnosed with PD, and it was Zoloft, with an as needed Rx for Ativan.  The combination worked WONDERS for me.  It enabled me to focus on the important part...therapy.  Unless you learn how to react in a certain way when anxiety hits, and unless you can learn to change your thinking to get out of that anxiety cycle, a med will be self limiting.  A medication really CAN be a great tool when used with a treatment plan that includes therapy, and self therapy, where you do some work on your own too.  It's not a cure and it doesn't "fix" anxiety.  In order to manage chronic anxiety, the thought processes must change.

One of the biggest challenges for you, if you decide to try a med will be to try to get past your fear of taking the med.  You're going to be prone to an anxious reaction, even if you tolerate the med fairly well..and most of these meds DO commonly cause some short-lived side effects, that for some, can be difficult to tolerate.  It's true that often times one has to feel a little worse before they feel better.  You would really have to work hard to distract yourself to keep you from overanalyzing how you are feeling..and you would maybe even need a temporary short-term course of an anxiolytic, like Xanax or Ativan.

You also COULD try what Paxiled suggested, and find a practioner who is well versed in the more natural approach, and along with some intensive therapy, give that a try.  Perhaps if you were trying a more appropriate regimen, guided by a well educated naturopath, you might see better results.

We'll be here to support you and help you the best we can, whichever path you choose, and remember that this decision is yours to make.  We all have very different experiences, and they are all just as valid.  Just because I had a great experience with meds doesn't mean you will also, just like you won't necessarily go through the nightmare Paxiled unfortunately did.  I always encourage people to try to go into it with an open mind and allow themselves to have their OWN unqiue experience.

Please keep in touch and let us know how we can help.  We understand...you're among people who get it.  Anxiety stinks, no doubt about it.  Sorry you're suffering with it.
Avatar universal
thanks for the comments I was trying the st johns wort this is what my doctor told me to try since i didn't want to try the lexapro thanks for the suggestions I live in a small rural community it is hard here to find natural doctors or natural stores any suggestions.
Avatar universal
thanks for the help.  the first time i took Zoloft it was for 6 months and didn't seem to help the second time I tried it i only took it for 3 days I couldn't take the side effects.  My doctor has given me Ativan to try and it does help some but it isn't a cure all and I know that.  I have seen a therapist and she says that I have the tools to help myself without medicine and that I do so very well when I push myself but sometimes I just let the anxiety take over and not let myself help myself.  I would just like to try natural things instead of pumping my body full of chemicals.  It is very hard for me to take any kind of prescription medicine since the drug error. I have a hard time in my area finding a natural doctor or natural store I live in a very rural area of Central PA. Thanks for all the suggestions and help.
480448 tn?1426952138
HI again, thanks for checking back in!

I think if you've seen success with therapy and when you push yourself, then you know what you need to do.  To be honest, the KEY to long term effective management of anxiety in most cases is the work put in by the patient themself.  While I think meds can be a helpful tool in a treatment plan, I think you're fear of meds is going to be a hurdle in and of itself, which will cause MORE anxiety.  Some people who fear meds kind of have to get past that, as in some situations, they are barely functioning, or they haven't had success with other forms of treatment.  You seem to have options, and you have some past success to lean back on.

I found that I made REAL and significant progress when I reallt started trying...when I forced myself to do things outside of my comfort zone, when I set goals for myself and worked hard to meet them.  It's all about changing the mindset.  Anxiety is very much about the cycle of thinking and worrying.  If we can manage to change the way we think, the anxiety loses its power.  

I would recommend getting back in therapy, and start picking up some self help books.  There are tons.  One I would highly recommend is "The Anxiety and Phobia Worrkbook" by Edmund Bourne.  It's very much written like a textbook, with lessons and exercises, it's very hands on, and has been helping people for years.  MANY mental health professionals recommend that book.

Good luck...keep in touch ok?
480448 tn?1426952138
BTW, here is a list of resources I've compiled.  There are SO many great books out there about anxiety and panic.  This list is a good starting place.  You can pick a feew that seem interesting to you.  Definitely pick up the one I recommended above.  

http://www.medhelp.org/health_pages/Mental%20Health/Anxiety-and-Panic-Resources--Books--Websites--Self-Help-Programs/show/1285?cid=60
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your support and recommendations.  It helps to know your not the only person going through all this.
480448 tn?1426952138
You're more than welcome.  Keep us updated ok?  You're NOT alone!
Avatar universal
And as to my recommendations, I try not to get too specific because we're all different.  Do get that book I mentioned, it's a good primer on a psychiatrist who turned to using natural remedies where appropriate.  I will tell you the substance closest to ssris such as Lexapro is 5-HTP, a form of tryptophan, an amino acid that along with B6 and other cofactors manufactures serotonin in the body.  It treats both depression and anxiety, but again, it would work best in conjunction with natural relaxants such as passionflower and adrenal balancers such as holy basil and ashwagandha.  But sometimes the much stronger drugs are what we need.  Only experience will tell you that, but I always caution that if the anxiety isn't crippling, because medication of all sorts can be problematic, cautious medicine would suggest trying other means first because the medication isn't going anywhere, it will always be there to be tried if your preferred means fail.  Good luck.
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