Anyone who has been prescribed Lexapro should not start taking it until they clearly understand the instructions, dosing schedule, and warnings attached to the drug. One of the biggest concerns involves the entire class of medications called antidepressants, and this category has some warnings associated with it. Since this is a popular choice for depressed individuals and others with mental or mood disorders the patient should be closely monitored when the dosing regimen is started. There is an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and there is also a risk that the individual could have thoughts of harming others as well. Anyone who takes any prescription in this category needs to report any changes to their physician immediately to lower these risks, and any new symptoms should also be reported as well.
If the individual starts to display anxiety, hyperactivity, thoughts of hurting themselves or others, panic, hostility, restlessness, or hallucinations then emergency medical treatment should be sought right away. Anyone who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder may also need to be closely watched, because this medication can create additional medical issues if the problem is not depression but is actually bipolar disorder instead. Since both conditions may display similar symptoms a comprehensive diagnostic work up may be required before treatment can be started.
What you need to know about Lexapro will normally be explained by your physician, but in some cases there is a rush to get you in and out and the full extent of the drug may not be explained. If this happens then you should do your own research so that you completely understand all of the warnings and possible side effects involved. There are some situations where this medication may be contraindicated, and should not be prescribed unless the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Caution should be used with elderly patients because of a decreased clearance rate from the body. These individuals could retain more of the substance than what is ideal because their organs and systems require more time for the body to be cleaned out due to the advanced age. Anyone who has been diagnosed with a seizure disorder should avoid this treatment, because there is some evidence that the drug can contribute to seizures in these cases. There are other choices that can be used instead, and that do not carry the same risks.
If you are taking Lexapro you should not consume alcohol, because of the dangerous interaction that can occur. Alcohol can intensify the effects of the medication, and can cause serious or even life threatening complications for some individuals. This drug should never be stopped abruptly, and if it is no longer needed then close monitoring is required when the dose is lowered or stopped. Withdrawal symptoms can occur, and the physician may need to slowly taper of the use rather than just terminating the treatment all at once. If you have gastrointestinal bleeding or you take a diuretic then you may not be able to use this choice either. Diuretic users who also take this substance may develop low blood sodium levels, and this can affect heart function as well as other physical processes.