The Newest SSRI Drug is Not Free of Side-Effects in Treatment of Depression and Anxiety Disorders

ALL SSRI drugs used in the treatment of depression have their side-effects in varying degrees. However, the newest such drug, Lexapro (introduced in the US in 2002), is usually well-tolerated by the human system. Its side-effects are mild and temporary, and require only a slight adjustment in dosage without discontinuing the treatment.Let’s briefly look at the side-effects of Lexapro vis-à-vis other SSRI drugs (Note: SSRI is abbreviation for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, a family of drugs used in the treatment of depression and general anxiety disorders).o In treatment of depression: A study has shown that only 4% of patients using Lexapro discontinued treatment compared to 16% for Effexor. Another study showed that patients were swiftly and safely able to switch to Lexapro from medicines like Celexa, Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. Further, it was observed that less than 7% of patients who switched to Lexapro discontinued Lexapro too.o Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): A study demonstrated that GAD patients on 10mg Lexapro treatment experienced the same intensity of side-effects as those using placebos. In another study, that directly compared Lexapro with Paxil for the treatment of GAD, the two sets of patients taking the drugs experienced nearly the same level of alleviation of symptoms, but only 7% of the patients taking Lexapro discontinued the therapy due to side-effects while as much as 23% discontinued Paxil for the same reason.o Other observations: Lexapro does not increase agitation, anxiety or nervousness in the patient in comparison to his condition before start of Lexapro treatment. Lexapro does not cause any significant weight change in patients, while placebos do. A study into the weight-change aspect showed that only 8% of patients using Lexapro gained weight compared to 18% for Paxil. Finally, Lexapro is not addictive though the patient should not abruptly stop the drug without consulting the doctor.o What, then, are the side-effects: There’s no drug that has no side-effects, and Lexapro is no exception. Lexapro can cardio-vascular side-effects such as palpitation, bradycardia, tachycardia, hypertension, abnormal ECG, QT prolongation, torsades de pointes. Other side-effects include gastro-intestinal, metabolic and nutritional, renal, nervous, and blood and lymphatic disorders. In women, Lexapro may cause neoplasm, and menstrual disorders.You should consult your physician immediately on occurrence or even possibility of the existence of any side effects.

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