Lexapro week by week (All you need to know)

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In this blog post, we are going to talk about the effects produced by lexapro on a week by week basis. We will also learn about the clinical significance of lexapro and how to ensure the proper use for maximum therapeutic response. 

How does lexapro produce its effects on a week by week basis? 

WeeksEffects of Lexapro (Escitalopram) 
Week 1 -The first week of treatment does not produce any beneficial effects. -You may feel nauseous and irritated -Look out for any allergic reaction 
Week 2-This week may bring more side effects, including loss of appetite, insomnia and anxiety. -You may suffer from mood swings -If you’re younger than 24 years of age, look out for suicidal thoughts. 
Week 3-This week, you may start to notice some of your side effects fading away. -You may feel a little better emotionally. -You still may suffer from side effects. 
Week 4-You may start to see more relief in your symptoms. -You may feel more relaxed. -Your side effects will continue to subside. 
Week 5-Your symptoms will start to get much better. -You should feel light and energised. -Common side effects should have been gone by now. They may persist a little longer, but will eventually go away. 
Week 6-You will continue to feel better-You will notice your body getting well adjusted on lexapro.-Side effects continue to fade away.

One important thing to mention here is that lexapro might not produce the above mentioned effects in every single individual taking it. People respond differently to medications, especially those which are used to treat mental health conditions. 

Make sure you immediately report to your mental healthcare provider if you notice any severe side effects or allergic reactions, which may indicate that lexapro is not the right choice of antidepressant for you. 

In that case, your doctor may recommend another antidepressant which might suit you better, as compared to lexapro. 

Lexapro, brand name for escitalopram, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is used to inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter responsible for modulating mood, cognition, reward, learning, memory, and various other psychological processes.

Lexapro produces its effects by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT), which results in increased serotonergic activity. This helps you get rid of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Let’s look at the effects of lexapro in detail. 

Week 1

Week 1 does not produce any beneficial effects. If we talk about day 1 on lexapro, you barely feel a thing. As you reach day 2 to 4, you may start to experience some side effects. 

The most common side effects during the first week of lexapro are gastrointestinal side effects, which include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Now, the severity of these side effects depend greatly on your initial dose. 

In usual practice, the treatment is started from the lowest effective dose. This is because when a person is new to antidepressants, there is no way to predict how his or her body will react to these meds. 

The excessive neuronal activity associated with antidepressants make people respond in different ways. If you’re allergic to lexapro or any other excipient present in its formulation, you might experience an allergic reaction, either right after taking it or within 2 to 3 days. 

Make sure you reach out to your doctor and be certain whether it is okay or not for you to continue using this med. 

Week 2-3 

During week 2-3, you will begin to notice that your body is adjusting well on the medication. You may still suffer from side effects, as there is a reason why they say antidepressants make you feel worse before they start making you feel better. 

Make sure you take your med in the best possible way. One way to reduce gastrointestinal side effects is to take your lexapro with food. Lexapro comes with a warning of inducing suicidal thoughts in people younger than 24 years of age. 

This effect can be seen prominently in 2 to 3 weeks of treatment. So, this time period is crucial for you if you’re 24 years old or less. People in their late teens and early twenties can monitor their side effects on their own.

Parents should keep a close eye on children using Lexapro who are younger than 14 years of age. Look out for any hopelessness or suicidal behavior. 

Week 4-6

Week 4 to 6 are of great importance, as this is the time where you actually start seeing noticeable reduction in your depression and anxiety. During these weeks, you will notice that your body is well adjusted with lexapro and your side effects will begin to fade away. 

This might not be the case for everyone, as some people take up to 7-9 weeks to start seeing noticeable improvement in their symptoms. It totally depends on how your body responds to lexapro and how much time it takes to learn to live with it in harmony. 

Make sure you take your medication properly and right on time, once everyday. There are a few things you can try to make your journey better. Stay active and eat healthy foods. This way you can make your body stronger to withstand the side effects. 

Your strong immunity can help you a great deal in recovery from these unwanted effects. Make sure you drink plenty of water. Hydration boosts your energy levels and draws out toxins from your body. 

Why is lexapro prescribed? 

Lexapro is prescribed for the treatment of following mental health conditions:

Mild depression to major depression disorder (MDD) 

Lexapro can increase the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters to counteract depression symptoms. Depression is a state of mind which is concerned with disturbing thoughts, especially about one’s self. 

It is associated with symptoms like hopelessness, tearfulness and emptiness.  This mental health condition ranges from mild to severe, a condition called major depression disorder (MDD). 

It is the most common cause behind suicide attempts as people prefer dying over this unimaginable agony. 

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) 

Lexapro is also used to treat generalised anxiety disorder. As the name implies, this mental health condition is associated with general worry or anxiety about pretty much everything without having any logical reason. 

People suffering from GAD worry about small matters related to family, friends, relationships, study, work, health, wealth etc. 

Lexapro has some off-label uses as well. These include:

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) 

Lexapro is used to help relieve the symptoms of OCD, but is an off-label use. It is a condition characterised by troublesome thoughts that won’t go away, no matter what you do, and a weird urge to do things over and over again. 

Vasomotor Symptoms Associated with Menopause

Lexapro also helps to treat Vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. These include hot flashes, extreme anxiety, restlessness, heart palpitations, sleep disturbances, mood swings etc.

What are the most common side effects associated with the use of lexapro? 

Common side effects of Lexapro include:

  • Loss of appetite 
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Sexual issues
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Vertigo 
  • Decreased salivation or dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety 
  • Infections caused by decreased immunity
  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Weakness
  • Sleepiness and fatigue
  • Weight gain 

Some serious and rare 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
  • It may also put you at an increased risk for dangerous bleeding, especially when taken with medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), warfarin (an anticoagulant medication), or other anticoagulants. 

Conclusion 

In this blog, we have discussed the effects of lexapro on a week by week basis. Lexapro is an antidepressant, escitalopram, which belongs to the class of SSRIs. It can be used to treat mild to severe episodes of depression and generalised anxiety disorder. 

It can also be used to help relieve the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder and vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. Lexapro does not have a rapid onset of action. 

In fact, it can easily take up to 6-8 weeks to start producing noticeable beneficial effects. It might also make you feel worse, before it makes you feel better but this is how these meds work. Common side effects begin to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of treatment and should not affect your treatment. 

Severe side effects include rapid allergic reaction associated with redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 

These side effects indicate that the person can not tolerate lexapro well and it should be discontinued. 

FAQs: lexapro week by week 

How many weeks does Lexapro take to work?

Lexapro can take up to 4-6 weeks to start working. This time duration can vary from person to person. Some people might take 8-12 weeks to completely adjust to the med. 

How does Lexapro make you feel the first week?

Lexapro does not help provide relief to your symptoms during the first week. It can cause side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of libido, loss of appetite, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness and drowsiness etc. 

Can Lexapro work in 3 weeks?

Lexapro takes up to 4 weeks to work, but you might begin to see some improvement within 3 weeks of treatment. 

Does Lexapro get worse before better?

Yes, lexapro might make you feel worse before making you feel better. This effect is common in antidepressants because they start causing side effects way earlier than they produce beneficial effects. Make sure you give your body enough time and don’t stop the treatment abruptly. 

Can I stop Lexapro after 2 days?

You should not start or stop taking lexapro without your doctor’s approval. If you suffer from extreme side effects within 2 to 3 days of treatment, your doctor may take you off lexapro. 

Is 10 mg of Lexapro enough?

Most healthcare professionals start from 10 mg of Lexapro. This dose is not too high, but still good enough to generate some therapeutic response. The dose can be increased gradually, if you respond well to lexapro and do not exhibit severe side effects. 

References 

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