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Avatar universal

Lexapro and Memory Problems?

I've been on Lexapro (20 MG) for a little over a year now. It quickly fixed my depression/anxiety problems, and I feel okay mood-wise. Although for the first few months, the libido change (MUCH lower) and anorgasmia had been hard to deal with in the begining, but seems to be better.
The only thing is that I've noticed over the last several months an effect that is rather disturbing and I don't know if it's due to lexapro? Kind of an inability to think straight sometimes, or loss of short term memory. Just an overall feeling of almost a blank mind. (IE I used to write a lot, but since taking lexapro, if I pick up a notebook, i've got nothing).
Is it feasible that my brain-dead feelings are attributed to Lexapro?
I'm afraid to go off of it because of my previous moods before Lexapro (suicidal ideation, etc).

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
102 Responses
Avatar universal
Reading your post was like reading my own thoughts. I have been on 20mg of Lexapro for over 7 yearsrs now. One of the biggest things I have been struggling with is this memory issue and general "flat" brain feeling. It has affected my work and life because I struggle so much trying to recall events. I too considered weening off but I was scared I wood be worse off mood wise. The anxiety and depression was pretty bad. I had in fact cut my dose in half with the supervision of my Dr. and was struggling at half the dose, so I went back up to 20mg. I have also suffered from little to non-existent libido. I have tried being on other medications, Paxil etc...but I did best on Lexapro mood wise. I am not sure what the solution is here, but for what it is worth I have experienced similar symptoms while taking this medication  
387056 tn?1200447377
Memory and cognition can definitely be affected by Lexapro, do not let your doctor tell you otherwise. I was a healthy 24 year old when I started lexapro and when I went off it at 26, my short-term memory had permanently changed. Which made things difficult when I went to graduate school.
1 Comments
is it really permeant? I'm on Lexapro and its been almost two weeks and I stopped it cause I realized what it was doing to me and read online.
Avatar universal
I am sorry to hear about your continued struggled with the short term memory issues. I was afraid of hearing that it wouldn't get better after coming off it. I just wanted to share. I struggled a great deal through law school because I was having so much trouble retaining and recalling information. In fact I took the Bar several times without success because I would spend hours re-reading the information and it would leave me so quickly. No matter how many times I would read it, it was like I was reading it for the first time or when I would try and recall it there was nothing or fragments of information. This affected me greatly. I was not able to pursue my career in law and have since settled in a position that doesn't strain me as much. I had told my psychiatrist about it and he looked at me puzzled and as if he had never heard this before and didn't believe it had to do with the medication. I still believe it does because I know from this forum I am not the only one who has experienced this. I really hope with time your memory will approve. I hope there is hope for the rest of us.  
377600 tn?1225167036
I'm on the same dose and have the same problem. However, I also think my deep depressions also result in memory loss. I feel like my depression is making me dumber by the day.  

If this helps, I was in graduate school--I got through the tough times by telling my brain that I was loading for long-term memory.  I swear to you--it works.

I have always chosen between long term and short term memory--ever since I was a kid.  I realized that the brain holds so much of both.  Then later, as a teen, I read computers do the same thing by scanning information.

Just tell yourself what will be long-term memory and what will not.  I save short-term memory for around the house things and junk news--not the real hard stuff--and movies.

I know this might sound insane, but it has worked for me.

387056 tn?1200447377
I wish it would come back, but I don't think it will anymore than I have tried. All you can do are brain exercises to keep your mind going. I went through a really rigorous grad school program where memory was key. And it never really came back, no matter how many books I read, papers I wrote etc. I was able to bring my math skills back by practicing for the GRE. I wonder if that is a different part of the brain...
Avatar universal
I, too have been on Lexapro for a long time and suffer from brain fog and short term memory loss.  Finding words can be difficult especially as I am in the mental health field myself and am always going to seminars and learning new things and retaining information is so important.  I definitely believe it is the medication, which is very helpful in other ways.  It's a really difficult tradeoff to have to make!
witwaser  
644988 tn?1236368148
My experience for what it's worth, I started on 20mgs 18 months ago, increased over few months to 60mgs (and other stuff too). I had severe brain fog and terrible memory/general cognitive impairment but didn't know what was which..depression/meds etc. Now my brain fog has gone and my memory is much better, the depression whilst still with me is considerably better than it was. I'm still taking 40mgs plus other things too but the brain fog has cleared as 1) depression improves and 2) long-acting benzodiazepines cut down/out..my thinking is way smoother than it was ten months ago, despite not changing dose of citalopram (Lepraxo in UK). I guess we're all different.
365714 tn?1292202708
Interesting... I was on Celexia for about a month and a half and I started to notice similar symptoms. They wanted to change me to Lexapro, but I hesitated and eventually got out of having to take it. From the sounds of it, when I looked it up, it seems Celexia and Lexapro are similar in composition or at least use about the same compounds.
Avatar universal
I was on Lexapro 20mg for 9 months. My memory loss is horrible. If I don't write it down, I don't remember it. It is very difficult for me to concentrate on anything. I space out a lot.... and find it difficult to think. I have always been a deep thinker..a writer...and a person that can spit out facts left and right. I feel like now, I am the opposite. I feel so dumb, as silly as that sounds. I have always been extremely smart... when I began my last year of undergrad, I had to leave. I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't care about anything.  

I want more than anything to go back to school....I hate feeling like a failure.  

I hate when people ask me things,and I don't know the answer. I hate when people tell me something that I said or did, and I have absolutely no recollection. I hate catching myself spacing out.....and thinking about absolutely nothing.  
Avatar universal
This is frustrating becuase I have also noticed a decrease in memory/intelligence.  However, I have only started taking antidepressants a little over a month ago, and it's a type of effexor (37.5 mg).  
Avatar universal
A doc posted on this board a month ago that a high percentage of artists have suffered from depression, in response to an artist complaints about the effects of her med.
He said that it may be her depressed side being shut down that is affecting her creativity, so some of the posters on this thread may be experiencing that.
My doc also said Celexa does not cause memory loss, which differs from what many here feel.
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor 37.5mg) for 3 years now and at first I just thought it was being a 40 year old 1st time mother, but lately it's so bad, I've forgotten I had left the iron laying on a shirt "for just a second" while I went to another room to grab the next thing to iron, and numerous other things.  That's why I came to this site, I wasn't sure if it was age, hormones, I really didn't think that much about the medication, but now I wonder.  I'm gonna check the side effects, but like so many have said, it seems to affect everyone different.  
How about anyone else --on Effexor?
Avatar universal
I found this site by looking for the keywords "Lexapro and Memory"... My memory problem is confined to recall. Apparently, I learn and have a sense of knowing the concept but can not recall the words to express myself. I have been on a very low dosage of 10mg for 4 years. I think about weining myself... but I don't know what else to take. At work I communicate by email 80% of the time so I'm able to take the time to pull the words from my memory... or look it up.

Any ideas about diet, vitamins etc that would help.?
Avatar universal
I also have been on Lexapro for about 4 years.  My short-term memory has all but disappeared.  Someone can tell me something and if I get side-tracked for just a moment I forget. If I have something that is really important I try to associate something to the thought to help me remember.  I also find that I will randomly remember something from a previous day or week that I could not recall that day.  Last year I was forced to look for another job due to layoffs.  I had to completely go cold turkey so I could answer the technical questions required for my profession.  It helped but I was a bear to live with.  I was lucky enough to find a job very quickly so I went back to taking the Lexapro.  I do what I can to stay on the drug since it really has helped me cope.  I used to have the crazy mood swings which went from extreme highs to thoughts of suicide. I can live with the side effects for now. Just wish someday I will get better.
Avatar universal
Lots of people start losing parts of their memory (men in their 30s start, from what I remember reading....) as a normal aging process, so don't rule that out as the cause of your problem.
Avatar universal
I'll had mixed emotions when it comes to Lexapro and memory.

I had memory problems before taking Lexapro. They were depression and anxiety related. After taking Lexapro, these memory problems improved.

I used to always forget things. I think it was because I never paid attention. I never tried to remember things due to my depressed mood. I will still forget things now but not nearly as bad as before.

My mind used to go blank when I was under stress. Lexapro has reduced my stress. My mind no longer goes blank like it did before.

I have experienced memory issues due to Lexapro. I will be thinking of doing something, my mind will switch to something else, and then I'll forget what I wanted to do. I think this is a result of getting distracted easily due to the Lexapro. I never got a chance to put into memory what I wanted to do.

I no longer remember the feelings associated with past events. However, this isn't so bad, because I had some horrible and painful past experiences. Now I no longer have such horrible and painful feelings about them and have less social anxieties and depression as a result.
Avatar universal
I take Lexapro for a condition called neuro-cardiogenic syncope.  Nothing to do with mood, depression, anxiety, etc.  I've had terrible memory problems (to the point that I went to get myself a glass of water, poured it then with a tiny distraction walked away and forgot it for 2 hours).  My memory is at the point that I feel like I've got early onset alzheimer's (not exadurating).  I've wondered if it could be because of the medication and after reading these posts it seems possible.  
Avatar universal
WOW I love that I have found this site. I have taken Lexapro for 5 years 10-20mg for anixiety and My short term memory has all but dissapeared. The Doctors can say all they wnat that Anixety meds do not effect your memory but we know differently!! I would love to have all the doctors who have said the Memory loss is a side effect of depression and take Lexapro and then talk to me in 6 months. I have just stoped taking Lexapro (in fact this is my first week totallly off of the meds because of the memory loss.
I had to turn down a very good paying job because the first day I went there I was in alot of meetings and as I sat in these meeting I noticed that I did not remember half of the stuff they were talking about!!! I got laidoff in Jan and this job started in May so not that much time had gone by that I would not remember how to do a job that I have done for the past 5 years!!! If it was not an old boss of mine that I loved I would have stayed BUT I knew my boss was expecting me to take the floor running with no supervision from her and that was just not going to happen. So we talked and I quit. I am hoping that getting off the Lexapro will help my memory loss. I will make sure I come back in a month or two and let everybody know.

Hang in there!!!
404138 tn?1308945256
I believe lexapro does contribute to memory loss. I will be in the middle of a sentence and will lose my train of thought, cant finish the sentence because my mind completely forgot what I was about to say or what I wanted to say or what I was even talking about to begin with.
Avatar universal
If the docs told you that Lex doesn't cause memory loss, it is probably true. The meds are double blind tested using scientific procedures to verify the effects long before they are approved. I would doubt the researchers are so stupid that they don't figure out if there is a memory effect that many on this thread have convinced themselves exists.
It is extremely difficult to self-analyze any effects of a med, but to analyze personal memory loss presents lots of challenges, especially since it takes a good memory to do the testing. As I mentioned on May 19, lots of people lose memory early.

2 Comments
Doc don t always report side effect for med as they should and this is a well known fact among the health community. They don't do it cause of time. Also I guess that pharmaceutical company don't want us to know. I am experiencing the same thing. Always been fast on learning thing now I am dumb as a brick. Can't compute as I used to do and this is so humiliating at times. You probably don t want us to know that what we experience is true.
Doc don't always report side effect for med as they should and this is a well known fact among the health community. Also I guess that pharmaceutical company don't want us to know. I am experiencing the same thing. Always been fast on learning thing now I am dumb as a brick. Can't compute as I used to do and this is so humiliating at times. You probably don't want us to know that what we experience is true. BUT ****, it is.
Avatar universal
I have been on Lexapro for four years and I just got fired because I could not retain information in my new job, therefore it was taking me forever to learn the job. I have a double degree and I have always been a bright person, even when I suffered depression throughout most of my life, thus I do not believe the depression contributed to my memory loss, as I did not have a problem before starting the drug.

I used to be incredibly witty, and now my conversations are littered with 'you know that guy from that movie who was also in that other move with that girl .." It's incredibly frustrating. My recall is completely shot.  

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place here because on or off the drug I am dysfunctional in some way. I'm just wondering whether the benefits really do outweigh the drawbacks and how much more deterioration is in store.
Avatar universal
I checked a few sites and these are all the side effects listed.
http://www.healthyplace.com/lexapro/patient-center/lexapro-has-a-favorable-side-effect-profile/menu-id-1865/

I find it hard to believe that any drug would be approved that causes brain damage, such as memory loss. Perhaps call the mfgr. or the FDA for more info.
Avatar universal
I have been taking 20mg of Lexapro for over a year. In the beginning it felt like a miracle drug because my depression and anxiety was so bad at the time it really did help me.. But just like I have found with another antidepressant-zoloft. The good affects they once had on me changed after a period of time and the once miracle drug is no longer doing the job. In fact with zoloft I had started experiencing a more negative effect. Suicidal thoughts started swarming my mind, even though I didn't want them there. The thoughts were very strong. My doctor at the time wouldn't listen to me (the drug was all the rage at that time because it was supose to be non addicting-which I found not to be true when I stopped taking zoloft cold turkey as the doctor said I would be able to-the doctor reminded me that that was the great thing about that particular drug-no withdrawal symptoms.She said it could be stopped at anytime)
Anyways I really came on this sight because I too am concerned about my increasing loss of memory, focus, and disorientation from taking Lexapro. I get lost (disoriented driving in areas I know very well). Daily forget what I am set out to do. My kids will be at the door saying, "mom are you ready". I will look at them puzzled, and ask,"ready  for what?" Apparently my kids tell me I do that alot. I forget what I tell them or what I say. I forget where I am driving to. I even try to repeat in my head when I leave the driveway "I am going to the bank " to keep focus and remember.Sadly at about I guess after the 4th time going over it , as much as the thought was there a second ago-it is gone. There's me driving in my car aimlessly down the road. Sometimes something will trigger my mind and I will do that task I set out to do. Umfortunately most of the time I am side track and end up stopping at stores and places that I am really not sure why. Later I will get home or a week later I will see a bill or papers or a note I wrote to myself and then and only then will I relize,"oh my God, that is what I originally went out for the other day" This all makes me feel dumb and a bit insecure in my ability to function as a normal productive person on a daily basis. I am going to call my doctor this week-(that is if I don't forget), since I have been meaning to ask her about this possible side affect along with the fact that I am having increasing anxiety and feelings of depression re-occuring now for the past month)  I will let everyone know what her response is.
Avatar universal
I am so happy and sad to see other people experiencing the same memory problems I have been experiencing. My doc put my dose at 40mg and I feel like I lose more short term memory daily. I don't recall what I say or other people say. I cannot recall events from earlier in the day. Writing things down helps but you have to remember where you write them. I find the only way to survive at work is organization. Even so, it is still difficult to get by. I am an intelligent, educated woman with a successful career. I am only 41 and am very engaged with work, school and family. I too get lost, forget my words, lose track of where I was driving, have difficulty in everyday conversation. The depression is so debilitating that I have no choice but to take meds. It runs in my family and has just been something we all deal with. There must be a better way.
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