Also known as Lexapro, Escitalopram is among the popular antidepressant medications on the market, thanks to its high effectiveness and low risks of severe side effects. If you have been prescribed these drugs for anxiety or depression disorder, you may be asking yourself many questions, including how long does escitalopram take to work? If so, read on to learn more about Lexapro, Escitalopram uses, indications, contraindications, and more.
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What is Escitalopram, and What Does It Treat?
As mentioned, Escitalopram is an antidepressant that belongs to Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs. These drugs were first approved for use by the U.S FDA in 1986 alongside other common SSRIs, including Citalopram, Sertraline, Fluoxetine, Escitalopram Oxalate, and other generics.
Among the primary Escitalopram uses, are treating major depressive disorders and generalized anxiety disorders, especially in adults. It is also the only second antidepressant to be approved for the treatment of MDD in teens between 12 and 17 in the U.S.
What Should I Discuss with My Health Care Provider Before Taking Escitalopram?
While Escitalopram uses may seem obvious, there are some things you should discuss with your doctor before you begin taking Escitalopram. They include:
How Does Escitalopram Work?
Escitalopram treats anxiety and depression by acting on the brain chemistry. Like other SSRIs, Escitalopram blocks the reabsorption of serotonin, an important brain cells neurotransmitter. Blocking reabsorption of this neurotransmitter increases its levels, enabling brain cells to receive messages quickly.
While research studies aren’t conclusive on how Escitalopram improves depressive symptoms, patients using this drug have reported improved mood, diminished physical symptoms, and regained interest in their old hobbies.
How Should I Take Escitalopram?
Despite the many Escitalopram uses, you should take the drug once daily, with or without food. You can take it any time of the day, provided you take it at the same time every day. If you experience some sleeping problems, it is best that you take it in the morning.
What Is the Correct Dosage?
Escitalopram uses for various health issues vary in dosage. Escitalopram tablets are available in strengths ranging from 5mg, 10mg, to 20mg. The usual adult dose is 10mg per day. However, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose and adjust upwards to the maximum 20mg daily according to your body’s response.
If you are taking liquid Escitalopram, one drop equals 1mg. Therefore, the 10mg dose requires ten drops.
How Long Does it Take for Escitalopram to Work?
Escitalopram works slowly compared to other drugs. Regardless, while there is no exact timeline as to how long it takes for Escitalopram to work, patients taking it to treat depression and anxiety shouldn’t expect immediate changes in their symptoms.
Lexapro often starts by improving the physical symptoms of depression. Therefore, you may start noticing some slight changes in appetite, energy levels, and sleep patterns after a week or two. This is a positive indicator that the drug is working. Thereafter, you will start noticing changes in mood and emotional symptoms after using the drug for four to six weeks.
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What Are the Expected Side Effects?
As mentioned, Escitalopram is widely used because it is better tolerated compared to other antidepressants. This means the side effects of these drugs are less compared to other antidepressants. Similarly, some people tolerate Escitalopram uses better than others. Common side effects of this drug include:
- Weight Gain
- Loss of Appetite
- Dry Mouth
- Changes in sex drive, such as premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction
What Is the Most Important Information I Should Know about Escitalopram?
Some crucial information to know about Escitalopram include:
Who Can and Who Cannot Take Escitalopram?
Adults over 18 years can take Escitalopram. However, you should consult your doctor if:
- You have experienced allergic reactions to Escitalopram and other drugs before.
- You have epilepsy or you are under any other electroconvulsive treatment.
- Have heart problems, such as low heart rate.
- Are using other depression drugs.
- Have eye problems, especially glaucoma.
Specific Concerns about Escitalopram and Pregnancy
There are also specific concerns about Escitalopram and pregnancy that you should consult your doctor before taking Escitalopram. Escitalopram usage has been linked to some health issues of unborn babies. However, don’t stop taking the medication if you become pregnant until you consult your doctor.
Cautions with Other Medicines
Oral Escitalopram tablets interact with other drugs, vitamins, and herbs. This can alter the effectiveness of these drugs. Therefore, to avoid such interactions, inform your doctor of any other medication, herbs, or vitamin boosters you are taking. For instance, MAOIs and SNRIs increase the risk of side effects.
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The Bottom Line
It takes between four and six weeks before the full effects of Escitalopram use are felt. Like other complicated antidepressants, ensure that you consult a doctor before taking these medications. Contact Mango Clinic for immediate guidance on how to take these drugs.