Q: What is Lexapro?
A: Lexapro is in a class of medicines called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Lexapro is used to treat depression and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Lexapro is made by Forest Laboratories, Inc., and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002.
Q: Has there been any recent news about Lexapro?
A: In July 2006, the FDA issued two alerts related to Lexapro. The first FDA alert announced the results of a study concerning the use of antidepressant medicines during pregnancy by mothers of babies born with a serious condition called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).
The second FDA alert states that a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome can occur when SSRIs (such as Lexapro) and medicines used to treat migraine headaches known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists (triptans), are taken together.
Over the last few years, the FDA has worked closely with the manufacturers of all marketed antidepressants (such as Lexapro) to fully evaluate the risk of suicidality in children, adolescents, and adults treated with these medications. Lexapro maker Forest Laboratories, Inc. added a black box warning to Lexapro's prescribing information describing the increased risk of suicidality in children and adolescents taking antidepressants.
Q: Who should not take Lexapro?
A: You should not take Lexapro if you take another drug that treats depression, called a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI), or if you have stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days. Taking these two drugs close in time can result in serious (and sometimes fatal) reactions including high body temperature, coma, and seizures (convulsions).
Q: Are there any serious health risks associated with Lexapro?
A: Harmful side effects may occur if you stop taking Lexapro suddenly. Your healthcare professional should slowly decrease your dose as necessary. Other risks of Lexapro use include an increased risk of having suicidal thoughts or actions, bleeding problems, mania, seizures, and sexual problems. There are also increased risks if you take Lexapro while you are or may become pregnant.
Q: Are there any side effects associated with Lexapro?
A: Side effects associated with Lexapro use include difficulty sleeping, nausea, increased sweating, fatigue, and sleepiness.
Q: What should I tell my healthcare professional before he or she prescribes Lexapro?
A: It is important to tell your healthcare professional about all known medical conditions, especially if you have liver or kidney disease, or glaucoma. Also, tell your healthcare professional if you breast-feed or plan to breast-feed your baby.
Q: Can other medicines or foods affect Lexapro?
A: It is important to tell your healthcare professional about all prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements that you take. Do not take Lexapro with Celexa (citalopram), another drug used to treat depression. Because Lexapro and Celexa are similar, taking them together increases the risk of an overdose. Talk to your healthcare professional if you plan to drink alcohol while taking Lexapro.
Q: What should I do if I think I have been injured as a result of taking Lexapro?
A: The injuries caused by Lexapro, including birth defects, can place an emotional and financial burden on individuals and families. By filing a product liability lawsuit, patients may be able to obtain compensation for injuries either they or their newborn haved sustained. Since product liability law can be complicated, patients are encouraged to pursue a free consultation with a product liability lawyer in order to learn more about their legal options.