Lexapro is an antidepressant drug used to treat Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Here's how Lexapro works.
LEXAPRO is an antidepressant and a member of the family of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). LEXAPRO was developed by isolating the medicinal component of CELEXA® (citalopram HBr), a molecule known as an isomer. As a result, LEXAPRO is able to provide effective and well-tolerated therapy for patients. LEXAPRO is used to treat Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder, a patient must experience depression nearly every day for at least 2 weeks and at least 5 of the following symptoms: low mood, loss of interest in usual activities, significant change in weight or appetite, change in sleep patterns, agitation or lethargy, fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or lack of concentration, and thoughts of suicide. (Take an online depression test)
Research suggests that environmental and genetic factors (a family history of GAD) may predispose a person to developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Experts also agree that the disorder may be caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain—in particular, two neurotransmitters (chemical message carriers) called dopamine and serotonin, which are believed to regulate mood and behavior. A diagnosis of depression, or other anxiety disorders, may make you more likely to develop GAD. (Take online Generalized Anxiety Disorder test, GAD test)
How LEXAPRO Works
LEXAPRO works by boosting levels of serotonin, one of the chief chemical messengers in the brain that influences mood. The drug is the active isomer of the antidepressant medication Celexa (citalopram).
What to Discuss With Your Doctor Before Taking LEXAPRO
Before taking LEXAPRO, tell your doctor if you:
- have liver or kidney disease
- suffer from seizures
- suffer from mania
- have suicidal thoughts
- may be pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy
- are breastfeeding
You may not be able to take LEXAPRO, or you may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment, if you have any of the conditions listed above.
If you have had an allergic reaction to citalopram (Celexa), you may also have an allergic reaction to LEXAPRO. If you have had an allergic reaction to either medication in the past, do not take LEXAPRO without first talking to your doctor.
In addition, be sure to discuss other medications you are currently taking, even those that are over-the-counter. See Drug Interactions.
Special Information if You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
LEXAPRO is in the FDA Pregnancy Category C. This means that it is not known whether LEXAPRO will be harmful to an unborn baby. If you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment, do not take LEXAPRO without first talking to your doctor.
LEXAPRO is excreted into breast milk and may affect a nursing infant. If you are breastfeeding a baby, do not take LEXAPRO without first talking to your doctor.
Celexa is a registered trademark of Forest Laboratories, Inc.
LEXAPRO is a registered trademark of Forest Laboratories, Inc.
next: How to Use Lexapro
- Created: 15 March 2009
- Last Updated: 14 January 2014