Taking Ativan until Lexapro kicks in (A beneficial combination)

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Page last updated: 17/09/2022

Taking Ativan until Lexapro kicks in (A beneficial combination)

In this blog, we are going to discuss the importance of taking ativan while being on lexapro. Lexapro is an antidepressant, which can take up to 4 weeks to kick in. 

During this time, it causes a number of side effects and your doctor may prescribe another medication as an aid to help manage these effects, including benzodiazepines. 

Is it okay to take ativan until your lexapro kicks in?

Yes, it is okay to take ativan until lexapro kicks in. Various studies suggest the ativan can be used to help relieve anxiety and disturbed mood until your lexapro starts to work. In fact, this combination can be used together for the treatment of comorbid anxiety and depression. 

This combination is, however, used for a small period of time because of the ability of ativan to cause addiction and tolerance, which may require dose escalation to provide desired therapeutic response. 

This is exactly why ativan is gradually tapered off when lexapro starts to kick in, as this antidepressant can solely manage both depression and anxiety symptoms. This combination should be used cautiously and you should stay as away from alcohol as you can. 

The concomitant use can dangerously cloud your mind and you might even start behaving abnormally. Make sure you take only as much as your doctor has recommended you to take. Higher doses can lead to dangerous consequences. 

Ativan (Lorazepam) 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). This results in increased serotonergic activity. Lexapro and every other antidepressant take time to kick in. 

They don’t work overnight and your body may take up to 8 weeks to adjust to the medicine. This is exactly why it’s said that antidepressants might make you feel worse before making you feel better. This sensation and anxiousness is controlled by ativan. 

It helps relieve the symptoms including restlessness, extreme distress, irritability, suicidal behavior, inability to engage in daily life activities, excessive sweating, isolation, hopelessness, worthlessness, confusion and social disconnection. 

How safe is the combination of ativan and lexapro? 

The side effects and interactions associated with the concomitant use of ativan and lexapro are dose dependent and can vary from person to person. The concomitant use may increase the risk of drowsiness, low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, forgetfulness etc. 

Side effects are not just the effects of your drug but also how your body responds to the drug. Usually ativan is well tolerated, but some people may suffer from the side effects and might even stop the treatment because of them. 

It depends on the pre-existing health conditions as well. One of the side effects of benzodiazepines include respiratory depression, which is dose dependent. 

A person with normal respiratory function might not even notice this side effect on the normal therapeutic dose, but people with chronic breathing disorders like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema etc, can suffer from significant breathing difficulties. 

Similarly, lexapro is considered safe to be used in cardiac patients, but it could cause QT elongation and make pre-existing arrhythmia even worse. Ativan is also known for causing an addiction, which is why it is not suitable for prolonged use. 

Doctors usually recommend using it as long as your antidepressant kicks in. After that, both anxiety and depression can be managed by lexapro and ativan is slowly tapered off because it is not safe to use benzodiazepines for a long period of time. 

Both pharmacodynamics (how a drug affects your body) and pharmacokinetics (how your body affects a drug) are considered. 

It is always best to consult your healthcare provider and be certain that the combination of meds you’re about to use is compatible with any underlying health condition you might have. It is also important to make sure that all of your meds are compatible with one another. 

If we specifically talk about Ativan, it is associated with the following side effects:

  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness or fatigue 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Muscle pain
  • Vision problems 
  • Headache 
  • Hypersomnia 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Troubled or intrusive thoughts
  • Impairment of motor coordination 
  • Constipation or diarrhoea 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Increased or decreased appetite 

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) 
  • Dementia 
  • Abnormal behaviour
  • Blackouts 

Lexapro, on the other hand, is also associated with a number of side effects. These 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
  • Convulsions 
Taking Ativan until Lexapro kicks in (A beneficial combination)

When to call your doctor? 

  • Immediately talk to your healthcare provider if you experience unusual side effects while taking ativan and lexapro together.
  • Inform your doctor if you’re pregnant, trying to conceive. Ativan should not be used by pregnant women and lexapro can also be dangerous for the fetus, especially when used in the third trimester. 
  • Inform your doctor if you’re a breastfeeding mother. Both of these drugs are capable of passing into the breastmilk and may cause side effects in newborns. 
  • Do not stop ativan or Lexapro abruptly. If it’s time for you to stop one or both of these meds, your doctor will simply recommend a taper schedule for you, which should be followed vigilantly if you wish to keep withdrawal symptoms at bay. 
  • Report any problems with bleeding or bruising to your doctor. If you see any unexplained blisters or rashes on your body, or experience any problems with urination, or if you feel changes in your vision, immediately report to your healthcare provider. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the use of ativan (Lorazepam) until lexapro kicks in. Lexapro is an antidepressant and it usually takes 4 weeks to start working. 

During these 4 weeks, you may suffer from anxiety and irritability, which are considered the most common early side effects of this antidepressant. 

Ativan can be used to control these symptoms and other side effects including suicidal behavior, inability to engage in daily life activities, excessive sweating, isolation, hopelessness, worthlessness, confusion and social disconnection etc. 

The side effects and interactions associated with the concomitant use of ativan and lexapro are dose dependent and can vary from person to person. 

The concomitant use may increase the risk of drowsiness, low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, forgetfulness etc. Make sure you only take this combination if approved by your healthcare professional and do not deviate from the prescribed doses. 

FAQs: taking ativan until lexapro kicks in

Can you take Lexapro after taking Ativan?

When you’re using Lexapro and Ativan, try to take these two at different timings. In usual practices, it is recommended to take your ativan at night because of its calming and sedative properties and you can take lexapro in the morning. 

Make sure you discuss the appropriate dose and timing with your healthcare provider. Do not deviate from the prescribed dose and take just as directed. 

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. 

Which is better, Ativan or Lexapro?

Ativan and lexapro are two separate medications and are prescribed according to your condition. Ativan (Lorazepam) 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 quickly does Ativan work for anxiety?

Ativan has a rapid onset of action and can start calming down your anxiety within 20 to 30 minutes of tablet administration. This medication can cause addiction and tolerance. It should not be used for a prolonged period of time.

What is the success rate of Lexapro?

Lexapro has a success rate of around 70-80% in the treatment of depression. People taking it have complained of some side effects, but they begin to fade away on their own when the body is adjusted to the medication. 

Doctors usually start from the lowest effective dose of lexapro, that is 10 mg, and then the dose is gradually increased if needed.

How effective is Lexapro for anxiety?

Lexapro is an effective medication to help relieve the symptoms of anxiety. It is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). 

Is Ativan as strong as Xanax?

Xanax is a short acting benzodiazepine. It produces its effects rapidly and is eliminated from the body after a short period of time. Ativan, on the other hand, takes longer to act and stays for a longer period of time. Thus, ativan has a longer duration of action. 

References 

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