Are you taking Xanax till Lexapro kicks in? (3+ benefits)

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Page last updated: 15/05/2022

Are you taking Xanax till Lexapro kicks in? (3+ benefits)

In this blog post, we are going to talk about the concomitant use of lexapro and xanax till your antidepressant kicks in. We will also weigh the pros and cons of this combination and will also shed some light on what researchers have to say about it. 

Is it safe to use xanax till your lexapro kicks in? 

It is absolutely safe to use xanax with lexapro till your antidepressant kicks in. However, the dose at which you take xanax can make a difference. It is also not recommended to use xanax for a long period of time because of its addictive properties. 

Lexapro usually starts to kick in within 4 to 6 weeks and this is when the doctors start to taper off xanax. 

What does research suggest? 

Several researchers have studied the combined effects of lexapro and xanax on the patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). 

A 2008 study concluded that the combination therapy of lexapro and benzodiazepines may result in more successful outcomes as compared to monotherapy. The same study also indicated the importance of dose adjustment to maximise beneficial effects and minimise the side effects. 

A 1988 study monitored the antidepressive effects of xanax (alprazolam) and observed six case studies, four of which showed great outcomes, similar to those of Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), but with less side effects. 

This indicates that xanax itself possesses antidepressant properties but the mechanism through which it works to counteract the symptoms of depression is still unknown. 

Another study indicated the chances of xanax induced addiction and the fact that prolong treatment becomes extremely hard to stop. One thing that comes directly in mind from the word ‘addiction’ is mood instability which follows when it’s time to stop using such a med. 

This creates a barrier between lexapro and its beneficial effects, just because the patient undergoes xanax withdrawal syndrome, which has pretty disturbing symptoms including:

  • Panic attacks
  • Mania
  • Paranoia 
  • Hyperventilation 
  • Anxiety relapse
  • Mood instability 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle cramps and weakness
  • Fatigue 
  • Photosensitivity 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Malaise 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Delirium 
  • Dementia 
  • Convulsions 

These symptoms can vary from person to person and it depends on the dose and the duration of treatment with xanax. These withdrawal symptoms here are speaking for themselves and you can imagine how these symptoms can interfere with your depression treatment. 

This is exactly why the duration of xanax use is confined to the time period taken by lexapro to kick in. 

However, this is not always the case. In major anxiety disorders, this combination can be used for a prolonged period of time, but the doses are determined carefully, in order to prevent addiction and side effects. 

Are you taking Xanax till Lexapro kicks in? (3+ benefits)

Pros and Cons associated with the concomitant use of xanax and lexapro

Every single medication combination comes with some beneficial and some harmful effects. As discussed earlier, the kind of effects you go through are also related to your body’s response to the drugs you take. 

Some people are extremely sensitive when it comes to medicines and they can’t even tolerate one med properly, let alone the combination of medicines. Let’s look at the pros and cons associated with the concomitant use of xanax and lexapro:

Pros

  • Improves anxiety, jitteriness and mood instability till lexapro kicks in. 
  • Helps relieve the early side effects of lexapro including insomnia and irritability. 
  • Provides more favourable outcomes in the treatment of severe anxiety disorder. 
  • Can relax your muscles and brain during episodes of restlessness. 

Cons 

  • The concomitant use can increase the risk of sedation. 
  • You may suffer from low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, or forgetfulness. 
  • It may make daily activities like driving difficult for you. 
  • This combination may cause complications in patients with heart problems and breathing-related disorders. 
  • It may cause pronounced psychological side effects in geriatric population. 

Side by side comparison of side effects 

Xanax (Alprazolam) Lexapro (Escitalopram) 
DizzinessTiredness or fatigue Drowsiness Muscle painVision problems Headache Hypersomnia Forgetfulness Troubled or intrusive thoughtsImpairment of motor coordination Constipation or diarrhoea Nausea Vomiting Increased or decreased appetite Loss of appetite Constipation or diarrhoeaSexual issuesDifficulty in falling asleepVertigo Decreased salivation or dry mouthSweatingAnxiety Infections caused by decreased immunityNauseaShakingWeaknessSleepiness and fatigue

Apart from these common side effects, both of these agents are also associated with some serious and rare side effects.

In case of of Xanax, serious side effects include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, painful blisters, blue-purple patches, burning sensation etc. 
  • Serious respiratory depression which lowers down breathing rate and can decrease the availability of oxygen in the blood. It could be life-threatening for people suffering from asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) 
  • Terrible addiction 
  • Dementia 
  • Abnormal behaviour
  • Blackouts 

In case of lexapro, serious side effects include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Angle-closure glaucoma causes symptoms like eye pain, vision changes, or swelling or redness in your eyes.
  • It could cause low sodium levels which can result in psychological symptoms like confusion, agitation, inability to understand surroundings, memory loss etc.
  • It can cause elongation of QT interval, causing increased heartbeat or arrhythmia
  • Teeth grinding
  • Convulsions 

These side effects, as mentioned earlier, are rare and serious. It is impossible to predict your body’s response to either one medicine or the combination of these two meds. 

The side effects can also relate to the underlying health condition. Make sure you ask your doctor before using any medication and it is strictly prohibited to use someone else’s prescription medication. 

Conclusion 

In this blog, we have talked about the concomitant use of lexapro and xanax till your antidepressant kicks in. It is absolutely safe to use these two together till your lexapro kicks in. However, the dose at which you take xanax can make a difference. 

Several studies have revealed the beneficial effects of this combination and the fact that the combination therapy of lexapro and benzodiazepines may result in more successful outcomes as compared to monotherapy. 

Studies have also focused on the dose-dependent relationship of these two agents and high doses can increase the risk of drowsiness, low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, forgetfulness etc. 

Make sure you carefully weigh pros and cons before starting any combination of meds. It is also important to inform your doctor of any known allergies who might have experienced in the past from any one or both of these meds. 

FAQs: taking xanax till lexapro kicks in

Which is worse: Lexapro or Xanax? 

Both lexapro and xanax are prescription medications and are used to treat multiple mental health problems. However, both of these agents are associated with some mild and some serious side effects. 

It totally depends from person to person and there’s no way to tell which medicine is worse. Both of these meds are well tolerated by some people, whereas others may suffer from allergic reactions or serious side effects.

How long until Lexapro kicks in for anxiety?

Lexapro usually takes up to 4 weeks of treatment to start producing noticeable therapeutic results. However, this time duration can vary from person to person. 

Some people start seeing noticeable changes much earlier than the others. Make sure you take it once daily, as directed by your mental healthcare professional. 

What are the risks of taking escitalopram and Xanax?

  • The concomitant use can increase the risk of sedation. 
  • You may suffer from low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, or forgetfulness. 
  • It may make daily activities like driving difficult for you. 
  • This combination may cause complications in patients with heart problems and breathing-related disorders. 
  • It may cause pronounced psychological side effects in geriatric population. 
  • These drugs are capable of passing into the breastmilk and may cause side effects in newborns. 

Xanax and lexapro are two separate medications and are prescribed according to your condition. Xanax (Alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine. It is used to help control anxiety, convulsions and panic attacks. This medication basically mimics inhibitory chemicals in your brain, like GABA, to control the excessive neuronal activity. 

Lexapro, on the other hand, is an antidepressant. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and is used to treat mild to severe episodes of depression and generalised anxiety disorder. 

Lexapro inhibits the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT), which results in increased serotonergic activity.

How long does it take for Lexapro to be totally out of your system and feel normal again?

The half life of lexapro is 26-33 hours, which means that the amount of your 5 mg will reduce to half (2.5 mg) after this time period, which will further reduce to half after the next 26-33 hours. This process goes on unless the drug is completely washed out from your body. 

Your brain does go back to normal after you stop using antidepressants, but it takes time and this time taken depends on the duration of your antidepressant therapy. It could take up to 10 months to go back to your normal serotonin levels, after long-term antidepressant therapy.

What drugs should not be taken with alprazolam?

  • Antifungals and antivirals. They may inhibit the metabolism of clonazepam and cause toxicity. 
  • Antiepileptics. The concomitant use may decrease the beneficial effects of clonazepam. 
  • Anti-allergy medications. The concomitant use increases the risk of sedation 
  • Narcotic analgesics or any other controlled substance. The concomitant use can cause serious CNS side effects. 
  • Sleeping pills
  • Other anxiolytics and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). 

In what scenarios are Lexapro and Xanax prescribed together?

Lexapro and xanax are prescribed together for the treatment of major anxiety. This combination is also used to help relieve the early side effects of lexapro including insomnia, anxiety, jitteriness, mood instability etc. This combination, however, should not be used for a long period of time. 

References 

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