Lexapro is a medication commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. While it can be effective, it is important to understand the potential long-term side effects of this drug. In this article, we will explore some of the most common side effects of Lexapro and what you can do to manage them.
What Is Lexapro?
Lexapro is a type of medication known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. Lexapro is often used to treat conditions such as major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
Short-Term Side Effects of Lexapro
Like all medications, Lexapro can cause side effects. Some of the most common short-term side effects include nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, and headaches. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own after a few days or weeks.
Long-Term Side Effects of Lexapro
While Lexapro is generally considered safe for long-term use, there are some potential side effects that can occur over time. One of the most common long-term side effects is weight gain. Studies have shown that people who take Lexapro for an extended period of time are more likely to gain weight than those who do not take the drug.
Another potential long-term side effect of Lexapro is insomnia. Some people may experience difficulty sleeping or staying asleep while taking this medication. This can lead to feelings of fatigue and irritability during the day.
Lexapro can also cause sexual dysfunction in some people. This may include decreased libido, difficulty achieving orgasm, or erectile dysfunction. These side effects can be particularly troubling for people who are already struggling with depression or anxiety.
Finally, it is important to be aware of the potential for withdrawal symptoms when stopping Lexapro. If you have been taking this medication for a long time and decide to stop, you may experience symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, and irritability. It is important to talk to your doctor before stopping any medication to ensure a safe and smooth transition.
Managing Lexapro Side Effects
If you are experiencing side effects from Lexapro, there are several things you can do to manage them. One of the most important things is to talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to a different medication that has fewer side effects.
You can also make some lifestyle changes that may help alleviate side effects. For example, if you are experiencing weight gain, you may want to focus on eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. If you are having trouble sleeping, try establishing a regular bedtime routine and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed.
Finally, therapy can be a helpful tool for managing the emotional side effects of Lexapro. A therapist can help you work through any feelings of depression, anxiety, or sexual dysfunction that may be related to your medication.
Lexapro can be a helpful medication for treating depression and anxiety. However, it is important to be aware of the potential long-term side effects of this drug. If you are experiencing any side effects, be sure to talk to your doctor about your options for managing them. With the right treatment plan, you can continue to live a happy and healthy life while taking Lexapro.