Are you taking the antidepressant Lexapro? In 2016 it was ranked number 26 among the United States’ most prescribed meds. Depression is more than having those rainy-day blues. You can try to give your mood a boost by doing fun stuff or eating some comfort food. That doesn’t always work so some sufferers choose to take prescription meds. There’s no doubt this medication can be effective in improving your mood and outlook. That’s because the strong chemicals can super-charge the messages between your brain and body. However, you should still be aware of the effects of mixing drugs and other substances like Lexapro and alcohol.
One thing to remember is prescription meds like antidepressants can work yet still cause side-effects. This med has various ones like causing people to feel exhausted. Will you experience all the possible side-effects of the drug? That might not happen but you should be aware of them. This will help you figure out whether or not you should make tweaks to factors like the dosage. You also should know how other substances like alcohol will affect the anti-depressant. In some cases, drinking a can of beer, or rum & Coke won’t be a problem and sometimes it is.
What Is Lexapro?
This is actually one of the brand names of the antidepressant Escitalopram. It’s also sold under other names like Cipralax. This is an oral prescription med prescribed by doctors to treat depression and anxiety in particular.
Lexapro is available as a prescription med throughout the world. It’s been available in the United States since 2002. A few years ago, it even racked up 25+ million prescriptions as one of the nation’s most prescribed meds.
How does the antidepressant work? This happens by restoring a natural substance that exists in the brain. Lexapro is in a group of drugs known as SSRIs. The effects of the drug can include a boost in mood and energy, and a decrease in anxiety.
Patients take this drug orally and it can be with/without food. Doctors usually prescribe it 1-2 times per day. The dosage is based on different factors. They include your response to treatment, general medical condition, and any other meds you’re taking now.
The drug might take 1-2 weeks until you start feeling changes. It might also take up to 4 weeks to experience the medication’s full effects.
Like other prescription meds, you might feel some side-effects. So, your doctor could prescribe a low dosage of this drug when you’re starting out. Whatever dosage you’re prescribed it’s important to follow it to a tee. This will help to reduce the chance of side-effects.
Lexapro might have a negative effect on other substances you’re taking. So, make sure to tell your doctor about any prescription or over the counter (OTC) drugs you’re taking. You should even inform him/her of any herbal supplements you’re taking.
In the case you start feeling a new side-effect you should stop taking Lexapro and contact your doctor for directions. How about if you’re feeling good? Make sure to continue taking the drug until as prescribed by your physician.
Lexapro and Alcohol: A Good Idea?
When taking Lexapro you might experience side effects like:
- Dry mouth
- Sleeping problems
- Heavy sweating
Watch out for any of these symptoms. They might not be caused by the antidepressant but it’s better to be on the safe side. Contact your doctor just to make sure. This is especially true if you have multiple symptoms or they’re long-lasting.
How about mixing Lexapro with alcoholic drinks? First, it’s important to note that Lexapro is considered to be safe and effective for people with conditions like depression and anxiety. However, it’s a bad idea to drink alcohol while taking the med.
Here’s why. SSRIs boost the signal-sending chemical “serotonin” in the brain. These drugs can help to balance the chemical in your noggin. In fact, doctors believe SSRIs are some of the safest kinds of antidepressants people can take.
The problem is alcohol is a depressant. So, when you’re taking Lexapro to boost your mood, the alcohol can have an opposite effect and actually make you feel more depressed or anxious. If you’re depressed you certainly won’t want to become more so.
There’s more. When you drink while taking Lexapro you could actually experience worse side-effects when taking antidepressants like Lexapro. That’s because alcohol can trigger similar side-effects like sleepiness and dizziness.
So, should you consider stopping antidepressants so you can drink alcohol? This also is a bad idea. The reason is not only will the alcohol cause worse side-effects, but you could also experience withdrawal symptoms.
There are various ones you could experience. They include flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea, vomiting, “pins and needles,” and nightmares.
Here’s the problem. Swapping out your antidepressant and swapping in alcohol could cause a world of trouble. It’s basically making a bad situation worse. You’d lose the possible benefits of the meds, risk withdrawal symptoms, and possibly pick up new symptoms from the alcohol.
Tips for Taking Lexapro
When taking antidepressants like Lexapro it’s important to take certain steps in order to get the best results. Here are some helpful tips:
1. Contact your doctor about side effects
This is important so your doctor can make tweaks like your dosage. If you’re experiencing side-effects then he/she might reduce the dosage. On the other hand, if you aren’t experiencing noticeable results after several weeks the dosage might get increased.
2. Be patient
As mentioned, it could take up to a month to experience Lexapro’s full effects. It might be sooner or later. What’s important is you shouldn’t expect overnight results.
The process involves chemical changes in the brain so make sure you don’t rush things. You definitely shouldn’t boost the dosage without a doctor’s orders.
3. Tell your doctor about all meds you’re taking
This will help to determine if there are any possible “interactions” with Lexapro. If so then you might be prescribed a different pharmaceutical.
4. Take your meds
Never stop taking your antidepressant without first getting a doctor’s orders. There are various factors that can explain why you aren’t getting the results you want.
It’s still unwise to stop taking your antidepressant without first consulting your doctor. If you experience side-effects you should certainly inform him/her. They’ll the decide whether or not your prescription should be tweaked or ditched.
5. Consider a generic version
In 2012 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first generic version of Lexapro. In most cases, generic drugs have the same quality, strength, and safety as brand name drugs.
However, in some cases, a generic version might be less effective than the original med. If you start taking a generic drug it might not produce the same results as the brand name. If that’s the case your doctor might require you to switch to a branded version. You should still avoid mixing Lexapro and alcohol.