In this blog, we are going to discuss the effects of valium and lexapro together. We will also talk about the possible interactions between these two drugs and the best ways to take them in order to ensure safety and desired therapeutic response.
Can you use valium and lexapro together?
Yes, you can use Valium (Diazepam) and Lexapro (Escitalopram) together. In fact, this combination is used together for the treatment of comorbid anxiety and depression. Valium and other benzodiazepines can be used to control early anxiety caused by lexapro.
The treatment is usually continued till your antidepressant kicks in. These meds together can control multiple overlapping symptoms of anxiety and depression. These symptoms include:
- Extreme distress
- Suicidal behavior
- Inability to engage in daily life activities
- Weight loss or gain, depending on the effect of the condition on eating habits
- Excessive sweating
- An urge to get isolated
- Social disconnection
Valium 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 valium.
What does research suggest?
A few studies indicate that benzodiazepines may play an important role in the management of depression and can be used in combination with antidepressants for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).
The same study revealed that GABA can make an impact on your depression through GABA depression theory and benzodiazepines can control this effect.
Another 2019 research study monitored the effects of this combination of antianxiety and antidepressants for the treatment of MDD.
The study used various standardisation techniques and concluded that it is indeed an effective combination and can significantly help to reduce the early anxiety caused by antidepressants.
Another study confirmed the early anxiogenic side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) by experimenting on mice. The study monitored both control and test groups. Control groups only received SSRI and the test group received SSRI with diazepam.
The study was based on two findings. The first one confirmed that SSRIs cause anxiety after acute administration, and the other finding indicated the beneficial effects of benzodiazepine in this situation.
What are the risks associated with the use of Valium and Lexapro together?
Both valium and lexapro are associated with few side effects, which can vary from person to person.
The concomitant use may increase the risk of drowsiness, low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, forgetfulness etc, but these side effects depend on the doses you’re at.
Side effects are not just the effects of your drug but also how your body responds to the drug. Usually valium 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. Valium 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 valium 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.
How to ensure the proper use of Valium and Lexapro?
Immediately talk to your healthcare provider if you experience unusual side effects while taking valium and lexapro together. Do not recommend this combination to someone else and use it as long as your doctor has advised.
Inform your doctor if you’re pregnant, trying to conceive. Valium 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.
Lexapro may induce suicidal behavior in users younger than 24 years of age. If you have someone who shows suicidal behavior or you see hopelessness in them, make sure you keep an eye on them and get medical attention as soon as you can.
Do not stop valium 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.
If the combination of valium and lexapro makes you sleepy, make sure you avoid the following activities:
- Do not drive when you’re feeling tired or drowsy. Driving requires your full physical and mental alertness and it’s in your best interest to avoid it when you’re tired and have low energy levels.
- If you’re an employee in some factory where you are supposed to operate heavy machinery, don’t! Your drowsiness might cause an accident and can make you or others around you severely injured.
- Make sure you’re not taking any other medication that might be contributing to your drowsiness. Do not drink alcohol, or you’ll end up dulling your senses even more.
In this blog, we have discussed the beneficial effects as well as possible interactions associated with the use of Valium and Lexapro together. Several studies showed that valium and other benzodiazepines can be used to control early anxiety caused by lexapro.
The treatment is usually continued till your antidepressant kicks in. Both valium and lexapro are associated with few side effects, which can vary from person to person.
The concomitant use may increase the risk of drowsiness, low mental alertness, impaired motor functions, confusion, forgetfulness etc, but these side effects depend on the doses you’re at. High doses of both the meds can make you vulnerable to CNS side effects.
It is important to ask your mental healthcare professional before using any such medications along with your antidepressants. Benzodiazepines should be used with caution because of its addiction-causing properties.
FAQs: valium and lexapro
Can you take Valium with antidepressants?
Yes, you can take valium with antidepressants if your healthcare provider has prescribed these meds together. Valium and other benzodiazepines can be used to control early anxiety caused by lexapro.
The treatment is usually continued till your antidepressant kicks in. These meds are also used together for the treatment of comorbid anxiety and depression.
Is Valium and Lexapro the same?
No, valium and lexapro are not the same. Valium 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). This med inhibits the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). This results in increased serotonergic activity which can treat mild to severe episodes of depression and generalised anxiety disorder.
What medications should not be taken with Lexapro?
- Do not take lexapro with:
- Monoaminoxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). The combination use can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). The combination use can increase the risk of bleeding.
- Pimozide. The concomitant use can increase the plasma concentration(availability of a drug in the blood) of pimozide to much higher levels. It can result in life-threatening arrhythmia.
- Controlled substances, including all narcotic analgesics. The concomitant use can cause severe psychological side effects.
- Mood stabilisers
What medications are contraindicated with Valium?
- Other anti-anxiety medications or sleeping pills. The concomitant use can dangerously increase the sedation and may cause confusion.
- Antipsychotic medications
- Opioid drugs, including painkillers and anti-tussive (cough relieving) medications. The concomitant use can cause serious psychological side effects and respiratory depression.
Is Xanax or Lexapro better for anxiety?
Xanax is more effective in the treatment of anxiety because it specifically belongs to the class of anti-anxiety medications, called benzodiazepines. Lexapro, on the other hand, is an antidepressant and is more effective in the treatment of depression and other mood disorders.
Which SSRI is best for panic disorder?
Zoloft (sertraline) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of panic disorder and can significantly reduce the frequency of panic attacks. Other antidepressants, like Effexor (venlafaxine) can also be used for the treatment of panic disorder. Other antidepressants can be used off-label, but they are not approved yet.
- F Petty et al. Biol Psychiatry. (1995) – Benzodiazepines as antidepressants: does GABA play a role in depression? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8573660/
- Yusuke Ogawa, Nozomi Takeshima, and Cochrane (2019) – Antidepressants plus benzodiazepines for adults with major depression https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6546439/#__ffn_sectitle
- Melissa A Birkett et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. (2011) – Acute anxiogenic-like effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are attenuated by the benzodiazepine diazepam in BALB/c mice https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21397628/
- J W Tiller et al. Br J Psychiatry. (1989) – Is diazepam an antidepressant? https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2692764/
- Valium – Uses, Side Effects, and More https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-11116/valium-oral/details
- Side Effects of Lexapro (escitalopram) https://www.medicinenet.com/lexapro_escitalopram_side_effects/side-effects.htm#:~:text=Metoprolol,been%20associated%20with%20decreased%20cardioselectivity.
- Drug Interactions between Lexapro and Valium https://www.drugs.com/drug-interactions/lexapro-with-valium-1013-565-862-441.html#:~:text=Interactions%20between%20your%20drugs&text=Using%20diazePAM%20together%20with%20escitalopram,%2C%20judgment%2C%20and%20motor%20coordination.