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Avatar universal

Side effects of Lexapro

Help!  My close friend has been taking Lexapro for depression for quite some time.  A few month ago, she started relating stories about her work environment that were at first funny and then disturbing.  She claimed that her emails and phone calls were being "tapped" and that her computer would mysteriously go down.  When we questioned her about who would be doing this, she explained that the management of the company didn't like her.  Well, we thought it went away because she switched jobs.  Well, within weeks, she was claiming the same thing there!  She also started making strange phone calls to various aquaintances and friends.

I took Lexapro for a short course a couple of years ago, and after about 3-4 months, I started having incredibly scary nightmares - so bad they would wake me and leave me trembling.  I never had had such an experience.  My mom (coincidentally) also took it for a little while and she started seeing spots moving on the walls at night.  Both my mom and I stopped taking Lexapro as soon as we could, and the symptoms disappeared.

We are very concerned that our friend's behaviour could be the result of the build up of the Lexapro in her system, yet no one talks about this.  I'm looking for advice on how to help advocate for my friend.
14 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Her symptoms may be from the underlying problem that is not being deal with in talk therapy because she is taking meds instead of working on the problem.  Its also possible that the lexapro is the culprit.   The way to find out, and to help her, is through her doctor, or talking to her directly about your experience, and asking her to talk to her doctor.  She may be more open to direct talk than you think.
Avatar universal
Hi, I've been on Lexapro for appx. 6 months now and I have vivid dreams, feel dizzy, and I'm fater than I've ever been in my life (Gained 25 lbs)!  Proir to being on Lexapro, I was on Paxil for anxiety and depression which I also gained weight on.  Once I slowly decreased my dosage of Paxil (b/c of all the horrible side effects) to eventually nothing, I was in pure hell after being off of it for a month!  My mind was constantly racing, mostly with negative thoughts.  I couldn't function or think clearly.  If I were to have a drink or two, then I would start to go over to the dark side and I wanted to kill myself.  The only good thing was that I lost 20 lbs in a 2 month period.  I ended up going to the emergency room and they gave me some kind of a temporary anxiety pill that works for only six hours.  Later I went to my doctor and he prescribed Clonazepam.  I started to take this and it did help me feel better but because it's addicting, you
Avatar universal
I've been on lexapro for three years now and I still love it. It's the only thing that makes me feel normal. The ONLY side effect I've ever had from it has been light-headedness and a little dizziness sometimes.
Lexapro doesn't work for everyone. Personally, I've done some extensive research on it compared to other depression/anxiety drugs and I honestly believe that Lexapro is one of the safest ones on the market. If anyone is talking with their doctor about taking a drug for depression and/or anxiety, I would highly recommend lexapro. But of course you should always check with your doctor.
I've never felt drugged or anything while taking lexapro and I like that it comes in a low doseage. There was a time in the three years of lexapro that I stopped taking it (for financial reasons). I was not taking it for about a month and it was literally the worst month (emotionally) I've had in the past three years. Lexapro is amazing and I honestly couldn't live a normal life without it.
Avatar universal
Does lexapro have any withdrawal symptoms? I ran out last week and now I have fever and dizzinees, as well as auditory disturbances coinciding with the dizziness. This happened once before when I went on a trip and forgot my medications.
Avatar universal
I've never had any withdrawl effects from lexapro. I can feel the difference in my emotions when I don't take it for more than a week, but never had any actually "withdrawl" effects.
Avatar universal
I didn't have any withdrawal symptoms, but I probably didn't stay on it long enough - I had refused an antidepressant for a long time, and finally broke down and agreed to try one.  My dr suggested lexapro.  THe first week or 10 days were great.  I could tell a difference much sooner than I expected to, and my boyfriend was thrilled.  Then all of a sudden, I woke up one morning, and none of my clothes fit - as impossible and bizarre as it sounds I swear I went from a size 8 to a size 12 in 2 weeks!!!  I weighed and realized that I had gained 30 lbs in the less than 3 weeks I had been taking it, and it really was almost an overnight thing.  Needless to say, that was the end of that, and I went back to refusing antidepressants.  Although same cycle...I've recently started accepting that I need to be on one, and I talked to my dr today, and we've decided on wellbutrin.  I'm on adderall for adhd, and was taking buspar for anxiety, but after two+ years, it seems to be losing its effecitveness, so we're sticking with klonopin as needed for anxiety and to hopefully help me sleep.  I know people who swear by lexapro, it just was DEFINITELY not the right thing for me.  Maybe the wellbutrin will be better (just started today).
Avatar universal
I love my LEXAPRO! I have been on it for apprx. 2-3 months. And in the last 3 weeks I have just started feeling back to "normal" but with improvement. The first 2 weeks w/ the side effects were tough for me. Although, I did like the fact that I lost 5 lbs. Initial side effects lost of sex drive, anorgasmic, anorexia (just the lost ability to want to eat - NOT anorexia nervosa - there is a difference), insomnia, and the worst of all SOLEMNENCE. I really felt like someone put my brain in a chastity belt. I called it my "stupid pill" for the first two weeks.

But let me tell you...I am taking it for GAD (General Anxiety Disorder). My life is sooooo much better now. I have a wonderful doctor who summed up my whole life story and diagnosed me in 30 minutes! No therapist has ever been able to do that! And when I was younger I was seeing therapist for a few years with no help.

Now that I think back on my doctor's diagnosis, it all makes sooooo much sense. My life is alot better. My mind used to think 10 million thoughts in every direction and now it does that but all those thoughts are now in one direction. Instead of changing my goals on a daily basis, I can focus on one goal and have been able to retain it. I really wish that I was diagnosed with this disorder when I was young. I think that having GAD has caused alot of my problems in my youth. My life is much better and I have a feeling I will be on Lexapro for life.

To sum it up: my GAD is like having an electrical short. Never fully conecting. For once in my life, I am functioning properly. I am sorry to hear if Lexapro is not working for you. Cuz I think it is wonderful.
Avatar universal
i just started taking lexapro 3 days ago. i am switching from paxil 30mg because it is not doing anything for me at all other than supressing some of my anxiety. i have been on paxil for 2 years and dabbled in wellbutrin to pick up my sex drive. but it was a little overbearing to say the least.

my depression just seems to be getting worse. i have little to no motivation to even get out of bed. i sleep for long periods of time with the most intense dreams ever. most of them being gruesome beyond proper explanation. and i can never wake up even with 3 alarms and even wake-up calls. needless to say i failed an entire semester of my senior year of college just by sleeping. and that just made me more depressed and isolated. and dont forget the buzzes every single day in my head. argh!!! i went without paxil for 5 days a couple of weeks ago and i about lost my mind. i was uncontrollably sobbing and constant buzzing occuring.

i am hopeful that lexapro will help me with my anxiety and depression. but if my dreams get any more intense or i gain any more weight ( gained 25 lbs already), im going to become even more depressed. i need to get out of this hole. i hate being on medication.


sigh
Avatar universal
I began taking Lexapro about 4 months ago. I have had an untreated thyroid problem for quite a few years. When my blood levels reached the high normal range, I spoke whit my physician about increasing the thyroid medication to treat the lingering cognitive and emotional issues.
     My physician vetoed my suggestion and suggested Lexapro. I felt that my thyroid medication should be increased, but agreed to try the drug as a last resort. I had no problem and thankfully I was kept on a very low dose.
     I am 50 years old and, in spite of my underactive thyroid, my weight and cholesterol have remained in the normal range. I was heavy for my normal weight by about 15 pounds but still not considered overweight.
     I was losing a little weight gradually with the synthroid, probably due to my increased activity. I did my research and went back to my physician with medical facts and family history. We increased my synthroid minutely and I do believe that was the entire issue.
     However I felt that the antidepressant was helpful and thought I would remain on it for 6 months to 1 year th break the pattern of anxiety I had developed during my search for a diagnosis to my many physical issues resulting from my lack of thyroid hormone in my body.
     My family always laughs about my healthy eating habits. Suddenly, I was eating bags of hershey's kisses, Giant candy bars, even candy left on desks in the offices I clean nightly. I was unable to control my eating. I felt rotten and was irritable with my husband.
     After many years of lack of interest in sex the thyroid treatment had allowed my husband and I to reconnect. With the Lexapro the desire to be intimate once again disappeared. I was assured that once I finished treatment the desire would once again return.
     In four months I have gained 20 pounds, eaten more candy and garbage than I have in my entire life. I am a college student and I did not complete one accademic class this semester. I simply have no motivation to do anything.
     Two weeks ago I decided that I have had enough of lexapro.I have stopped the medication against all medical advice. I am having terrible withdrawal symptoms, but I am determined to clear my system of this medication that will surely cause more problems that will demand more drugs to treat. High cholesterol, diabetes ( it runs in my family), obesiety, and who knows what else.
      I have found a book called "The Road Back" that addresses issues encountered by persons on antipsychotic, anti depression, or anti anxiety medications.The Program uses nutritional supplements to assist a ton of problems encountered by persons using these drugs, explains how the medications work in the human body ( something my physician was unwilling or unable to do; and explains why people using these drugs inevetibly gain weight.
     This book can be found in part online or you can do a search using the tittle and find it.  
    
htp://www.the roadback.org/workbook.htm  

     I hope that you will check this out. Even if you love being on your medication, you will be able to communicate better with your physician and be of greater assistance to friends and family who may be having medication issues if you are better informed.
     I would appreciate comments from anyone out there who knows what I have experienced and why I made the decission to get off of Lexapro now.

Avatar universal
Hi "witness", Lexapro has to be gradually withdrawn. Please have your physician set you on a withdraw schedule. Even if you are going against his recommendations.

I do agree that about the absolute decline in being intimate. I still have those effects. And it is a bummer sometimes, but we am dealing with it. Mind over matter seems to be working in my favor.

My fiance understands too. He has seen a big difference for the better since I have been on Lexapro. We both have no notion of withdrawing the medication at this time. I forgot to take a pill one day, and I even noticed signs of my before behavior resurfacing. Night and day.

Again, I am sorry that Lexapro does not work for you. As for the eating of junk food. That usually is a cause for "emotional eating" and something else in your life may be the cause for it. Just stalk your kitchen with healthy food and make the conscious effort to buy healthy food (I know easier said than done since most conveinence stores do not carry healthy). Choice is yours.
Avatar universal
I to have been on Lexapro for 3 plus years and zoloft for 8 years prior.  I went on Zoloft for depression and anxiety in 94 and switched to lexapro in 2003.  Realizing that I am no longer living the life that I was depressed in yet anxiety seemed like it was a part of me I weaned myself off of Lexapro over a 3 month period.  It has now been 3 weeks and I am feeling great!  Energy,emotions,feelings, sex drive, less anxiety, less bloated(I weighed 150 when I went on Lexapro and now weigh 182!!!!) Am staring to drop it slowly.  All along I have been a runner and competitive tennis player and worked out 2x a week, ran 4x 4-5 miles and still gained weight over the years!!  Got fed up and feel better for it!! Have klonopin as needed for those real anxious times, traveling,family health issues ... If you want to go off any SSRI take it REALLY slow.  I went from 20mg to 2.5mg over a 3 month time  frame.  1/2mg lowered every 3 weeks and 2.3mg e/o day for a week then stopped. Minimal  withdrawl!  Best to all and thanks for the support!
Pamm
Avatar universal
I just read something in Shape magazine this month that you might find interesting in relation to weight gain while on an SSRI... because of how the drug works as a neuro chemical, a person's saiety (feeling full) takes a lot longer to reach than a normal person. Hence, the weight gain. *sigh* such pros and cons. Now, I guess I have to really watch how much I eat! : )
Avatar universal
How long does the drug remain in your system?  I have been using Lexapro for approximately 3+ years.  I have slowly been weening myself off of it and am pretty much there, I was just curious as to how long it actually remains in your bloodstream.
Avatar universal
Here's a link to a page I found at about.com about coming off of an SSRI - http://bipolar.about.com/cs/antidep/a/0207_ssridisc1.htm - there's a second page about coming off slowly.
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