It is estimated that more than 16 million people in the United States have had one major depressive episode in a given year. While most people have experienced sadness or grief that lasts longer than a week, depression can be debilitating to those who struggle with it.
Major depressive disorder can cause low energy, loss of appetite, lack of interest in everyday activities, and a feeling of uselessness.
There are several different ways of treating major depression that can be beneficial. Therapy, diet, exercise, and medication are the most common.
Escitalopram (brand name Lexapro) is often used to treat depression. It belongs in the class of medicines called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs affect chemicals in the brain that might be unbalanced in people with depression. Generally, SSRI medications are more tolerable than other drugs used to treat depressive disorders.
Escitalopram can also produce some side effects. Read on to find out what they are.
Commonly Reported Side Effects of Escitalopram
Escitalopram can be beneficial in treating depression, but it could cause side effects, which may be uncomfortable for some people.
Some of the common side effects of the medication, which are usually mild and go away within the first two weeks of use, are:
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach pain
- Excessive tiredness
- Runny nose
- Flu-like symptoms
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
If you experience these top three side effects, the Mayo Clinic offers some tips to alleviate them:
- If possible, dim the lights in the room or workspace.
- Try lying down for about 30 minutes with your eyes closed and rest.
- Put a cool compress on your forehead.
- Drink more water to stay hydrated as dehydration can cause a headache.
- Fit regular exercise into your daily activities as a way to alleviate anxiety.
- Try meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises to bring calmness into the moment.
- Try not to drink caffeinated drinks or eat food that can increase energy late in the day.
- If you exercise, try to do it a few hours before bedtime so that it will not prevent you from falling asleep.
- Create a calm, quiet bedtime routine and use it every night.
Severe side effects may also occur; however, they are rare. Among these are:
- Serotonin syndrome
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Severe allergic reaction
- A change in vision
- Low sodium in the blood
- Slowed growth and possible weight changes
- Bleeding more easily
- Manic episodes
If you experience any one of these, it is best to contact your health care provider or seek emergency services at once.
Side effects can be unpleasant and uncomfortable. Most of the time, they will dissipate in time. If not, it is best to talk with your doctor about finding ways to manage them.