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Old 09-19-2008, 08:53 AM   #1
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Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

About a month ago, I began having severe anxiety. My pdoc prescribed Xanax and Prevacid (for stomach pains). She also encouraged me to try Lexapro, but I resisted. I HATE taking these meds. Well, I haven't gotten much better - my stomach is still in nervous knots and I've lost 10 pounds. Haven't been able to go to work because I feel so bad.

My doctor is now insisting that I try Lexapro - I've now been on it for 3 days (only 5 mgs) and my anxiety has actually gotten worse. I haven't slept for the past 3 nights (despite taking Xanax along with the Lexapro). I also have nausea, loss of appetite, and feel very tired (probably because I haven't slept). I'm not sure that I can continue down this path.

I'm wondering what others experiences have been on these side effects. How long before they start getting better? Your help and encouragement is appreciated.

 
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Old 09-19-2008, 11:30 AM   #2
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Hi - I saw your post on my other thread as well regarding loss of appetite w/Lexapro. I wish I could offer encouraging news as far as Lexapro. I've been on it 3 weeks today and have felt little relief and still have upset/knots in stomach, loss of appetite, tired and also anxiety seems to be worse as well. I just had to refill my Xanax last night and they only give me 10 pills (.25) and I half them to make them last.I thought this is why I was taking lexapro to keep me from having anxiety and taking anxiety meds. I also take .5 ML of Lexapro and several people have suggested that maybe I should ask the doc to up to to 10ML, however, they also say that it takes weeks to start working, but after being on it for 3 weeks I thought by now I'd be feeling better soon. I feel weak, tired, not hungry and just plain weird. I'm 45 and all labs and tests are normal - with the exception of my neutrophils and lymphocytes being a little off, but the docs don't seem concerned about that, so I have to keep telling myself that it's anxiety and things will get better. Hang in there, keep taking the Lex, maybe it'll work quicker for you. Let's keep posted on how each other feels.

 
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Old 09-19-2008, 12:31 PM   #3
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Thank you so much for the post. I'm 44 years old and just started having these hot flashes, along with the anxiety. My doctor thinks they are anxiety related, but I'm wondering if it could be peri-menopause; she thinks it could be but that I'm a little too young for that. I'm getting frustrated with the medical profession. I feel like a drug genuine pig.

Today, I feel very nauseated from the Lexapro. Didn't sleep again at all last night, so I also feel exhausted. Don't feel like eating anything. As I indicated, I'm only taking 5 mgs. I was going to jump right into the 10 mgs so I wouldn't need to re-do the side effects. But, I can't imagine having worse side effects than what I'm already experiencing. For now, I'll try to tough out the 5 mgs. for a few more days.

I'm sorry that you only received 10 Xanax. I'm taking .25 mgs 3x a day to curb the anxiety. Still find it very hard to even shower and leave the house. I haven't been to work for a month. How can anybody work with these type of symptoms?

Hang in there - Hope your Lex kicks in soon!

Dawn

 
Old 09-19-2008, 12:44 PM   #4
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Hi Dawn - it's very hard to work when we experience these symptoms. Sometimes I'll be sitting at my desk and feel like I'm going to pass out and I get up and go outside and take deep breaths and have to try to focus, it's very hard. I've been in the ER recently (read my other posts) from feeling of passing out. It's hard to concentrate and try to work and not let anyone know the battle going on in my head. I was on a tricyclic anti-depressant (Nortriptilyne) in the early 90s after the birth of my second child and that seemed to work so much better - it increased my appetite. However, because I do have palpitations, the cardiologist recommended not taking that one, so I'm on Lex. Keep taking it and see how you do over the weekend. Hopefully you'll be able to get some much needed rest.

Diane

 
Old 09-19-2008, 01:03 PM   #5
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Diane - I also made my one and only visit to the ER in 1997 following the birth of my 3rd child - heart racing. At that time, they prescribed propranolol and xanax. That was my first bout with anxiety. I took the meds for about 3months and then I had been fine for the past 11 years - until a month ago. I think that many stressful things going on in my life right now caused this return.

Do you take your Lex at night or in the morning? Have you been sleeping ok? I take it at night to try to avoid the side effects, but it gives me kind of a caffeine feeling high. Maybe this will pass in a few days?

Let me know-

Dawn

 
Old 09-19-2008, 01:35 PM   #6
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Hi,

Hang in there... Allow yourself plenty of time to adjust to the Lexapro. It does take some time to achieve theraputic levels in your bloodstream, and may need several adjustments in dosage to be most effective.

I take 20mg of Lexapro every morning, as well as many medications for other health issues I have. Don't be afraid. They side effects pass, and the medications benefits do become apparent in time. This is not to suggest you dont keep your doctor informed about your difficulties with any medication.

I still run into bouts of anxiety, and I hate them. I do credit lexapro with helping me enjoy lots of things, that otherwise I may not. That's how I measure my success, and I hope you find your situation improving month after month, rather than day by day. It's the big picture, when dealing with anxiety.

Best wishes to you!

 
Old 09-19-2008, 05:24 PM   #7
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

I started having hot flashes when I was 44 and anxiety flared up when I was 49. Anxiety can worsen hot flashes.

I am on 30 mg of buspar twice a day for anxiety. It is sort of like an antidepressant but for anxiety. I also started taking 10mg of celexa. It helps.

I would ask my doc about buspar. It is nonaddictive and has few side effects. It started working for me in 4 days. There are drugs just for anxiety.

I did try lexapro for 3 weeks. I found it too stimulating. My blood pressure went up. I hope this helps. Godlbess

 
Old 09-19-2008, 11:22 PM   #8
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Lexapro saved me. Yes, the initial side effects are horirble but it worked for me. Amazingly well.

You have to be able to deal with about 2 weeks of worse anxiety and gastro side effects are horrible. But then it starts to work and it's like a switch goes off in your brain. I had to do this twice...first on 5mg and second on 10mg. You literally wake up and you know it's working.

Best of luck to you...but yes, you have to stick with it.

 
Old 09-20-2008, 12:36 AM   #9
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Hi there!

I have been on Lexapro for 6 weeks now. For the first few weeks I was on 5mg and for the last 3 weeks I've been on 10mg. I had side effects on both dosages. I can honestly say that this last week has been great! My appetite is coming back and I haven't needed to take Xanax during the day. I haven't really had any anxiety, so I know it's working. Stick in there with it, it gets better, just takes some time.

Crystal

 
Old 09-20-2008, 11:44 AM   #10
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Thanks Shortcake and Violet for the words of encouragement. It's now been 4 days on Lexapro and the nausea and lack of appetite continue. The anxiety also continues to be worse. All I want to do is lay in bed and wish this would all go away (and wait for these days to pass).

Did either of you feel any relief on the 5 mgs, or did it take the 10 mgs? Were the side effects more intense on the 10 mgs or about the same? My pdoc prescribed me the 10 mgs, but said that I could taper up if I wanted. I'm wondering if I should jump up to the 10 mgs now so I don't have to repeat these side effects. Or, maybe I should give the 5 mgs a couple more weeks like both of you did. Just wondering what your "hindsight" opinions are.

Also, were you able to carry on with your normal life during the first couple of weeks? I'm just wondering if I'm worse off than most, or if this is normal. I can hardly leave the house or muster up enough energy to get into the shower.

Thanks again for the advice!

 
Old 09-20-2008, 02:05 PM   #11
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

AAAsMom,

You could give it a couple more weeks to see if it works for you. I felt only a small amount of relief on 5mg and felt I needed 10mg to get the most relief. My anxiety was horrible! The side effects will probably reappear when you up the dose. The side effects I had on 5mg was nausea and lack of appetite like you. Then when I went to 10mg, I don't remember having nausea, but I did have lack of appetite for a couple weeks. I slowly got better. So, if you're anxiety is really bad, you may want to climb up to 10mg sooner than later to feel relief faster. It will take a couple more weeks.

It was hard to continue my normal life the first couple weeks. It's only been in the last weeks or two that I've finally started to feel a lot better. It was a slow process for me.

Crystal

 
Old 09-20-2008, 02:37 PM   #12
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Hi Dawn - I take my Lex in the morning around 9 am every day. I'm still experiencing tiredness, loss of appetite and just plain yucky feeling. For me, it doesn't seem to be working, at least not yet - I've been on it 3 weeks now. I've heard that by the second week things were supposed to improve but so far, they haven't for me. It's a stretch to get up and go to work each day, weekends I just lay around. In my mind, I can't help but think there is something else physically going on in my body otherwise this med would be helping me to feel better. So then I worry about that and wonder once again "if they are missing something". I will see the doc later this week to either get a refill for the Lex or ask to get on something else or stop it completely. With that all being said, hang in there and keep taking it - it may work quicker for you and make a difference. Keep me posted.

 
Old 09-20-2008, 03:41 PM   #13
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

Natty - I'm sorry that you're not feeling better. From what I can tell, it seems that 5 mgs. doesn't work for many people. I'm thinking about upping my dose to 10 mgs right now. I just hope that my side effects don't get any worse. I'm so nauseated that I can't eat or even look at or smell food. Let me know if your doctor suggests going up to 10 mgs.

I, like you, keep checking my symptoms constantly and thinking that something else may be wrong like a brain tumor, ms, etc. I can't believe that anxiety can cause such terrible feelings. At times, I almost wish that it was something else that could be more easily managed (cured). All my blood work has been normal, so I guess that I should be thankful.

It's funny how us "worry-warts" think alike and tend to obsess about everything. I know that I'm NOT a hypochrondriac, because up until last month I hadn't been to the doctor in 5 years. Probably was too scared to go!

 
Old 09-21-2008, 07:06 AM   #14
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Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

I'm with you both about side effects with starting Lexapro. I cut my 10 mg tablet into quarters for goodness' sake and it's made me feel so sick. I wish I didn't have to eat food, wish I could just take a tablet instead and I love my food usually. I think it's fairly common for ADs to do this for the first couple of weeks but if it's three and it's still happening then you need to talk to your doctor. Maybe it's not the right one for you. Isn't it horrible being anxious like this, going to ER with our palpitations/light headedness, thinking something awful is going to happen to us. Why are we like this? I'm so over it. I've had it for 20 years. I'm 40 now.

 
Old 09-21-2008, 07:14 AM   #15
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Smile Re: Lexapro and Starting Side Effects - Need Encouragement

I took Lexapro for 8 weeks this summer (10 mg). I was very afraid of gaining weight and fearful of a few "other" side effects. Actually as the days went by I all of a sudden started feeling very content, able to make decisions and just less overwhelmed by everything. I started walking everyday. I always denied that I needed anything as far as medication. I have always been a worry wart and figured thats just me! When the insomnia stared the Dr. suggested that she thought it was depression which usually goes hand in hand with anxiety. I agreed to try Lexapro for 8 weeks. I really liked it except for the "lovey-dovey" dept was ZILCH! My Doc switched me to Wellbutrin XL for 2 weeks and my anxiety shot through the roof.
I am now back on Lexapro 20mg. at night. Other than not having much of an appetite, which is okay with me! I am still exercising and have lost 10 pounds.
I always had a burning sensation on my skin and that has gone. I don't need to take Ativan anymore.
There are a lot of bad comments about Lexapro, but it works for me!

 
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