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Old 11-03-2006, 02:24 PM   #1
plm plm is offline
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Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

After living 52 years with almost no headaches, I started getting them. It was giving me anxiety (shaking and scared), so doc put me on Lexapro.

Went to neurologist, had MRI, which was fine. Neurologist put me on Elavil. But headaches have gotten worse. I've been on the Lexapro about 3 weeks (took 1/2 pill for a few days, 3/4 for a few days, now whole pill each night), and the Elavil 1.5 weeks. Headaches got more frequent and I've one for two straight days now. It won't go away. These aren't migraines, more like tension headache on both sides of my head.

I know that headache can be a side effect of Lexapro, but doc said if it gave me one, it would just be a little headache in the back of my head. She really downplayed that.

I've researched this health board and seen mention of Lexapro and headaches, but it didn't sound like anybody was having a terrible problem with them. So I just wanted to see if anybody has had very bad headaches as a side effect.

I'm wondering if the Lexapro is making my headaches worse.

 
Old 11-05-2006, 08:34 PM   #2
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

hi plm,

the drs. are now prescribing these antidepressants and other sort of medications (antiseizure meds) to treat all kinds of pains, including different types of headaches, fibromyalgia, and more. i don't really know, but i guess it's always possible for a negative side effect to occur, or for the medication to even worsen what it was initially prescribed for. usually, with antidepressants, especially the "newer" ones, like lexapro, side effects should go away after about three weeks or so, but if they don't, or become intense, like you're experiencing, tell your dr. immediately!!

do you/did you have high blood pressure?

don't always believe what the first dr. says--especially since you said, "she really downplayed that," referring to the kind of pain lexapro would give...

i would get a second opinion if i were you. also, i would check with a headache specialist.

i have migraines, and i know what really bad pain feels like. i'm really sorry about your situation!!

good luck to you.

 
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Old 11-06-2006, 04:31 PM   #3
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

Serotonin enhancing would only make pressure headaches worse as it is a powerful vasoconstrictor. I'm not sure why they even give SSRi's for headaches, unless they are counting on the anxiety relief that only some of the people get from either paradoxal effect or placebo effect of a temporary euphoria.

Too much serotonin could also raise anxiety (serotonin is a pre-cursor to adrenaline, which is anxiety producing).

 
Old 11-06-2006, 06:16 PM   #4
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennita
Too much serotonin could also raise anxiety
Unless you mean too much ADs could raise anxiety I disagree. In this case they cause anxiety not because of too high synaptic serotonin level but because of the "downregulation" of serotonin receptors (which is a consequence of the toxicity of ADs). Even the serotonin syndrome causes euphoria.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennita
(serotonin is a pre-cursor to adrenaline, which is anxiety producing).
The precursor of adrenaline is dopamine (which is synthetized from l-tyrosine / l-phenylalanine) not serotonin (synthetized from l-tryptophan).

 
Old 11-06-2006, 06:22 PM   #5
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

All lexapro ever did for me was to make me gain 40 pounds!

 
Old 11-06-2006, 06:31 PM   #6
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

Rose and Jennita, I appreciate your comments, but I don't know what you're saying.

Elavil is a tricyclic AD and is used to suppress pain in headache and fibromyalgia patients. I've seen some information which shows SSRIs are also used for headaches, but there is disagreement above whether they work very well.

You mentioned vasoconstrictors making headaches worse. I got a headache last 6 days ago and tried Imitrex. Didn't help at all, and the headache has been with me since then. Has not let up. As I understand Imitrex is a vasoconstrictor.

 
Old 11-06-2006, 09:35 PM   #7
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

Hi plm,

I've been on Cipramil for 2.5 years (same active ingredient as Lex) and I have had lots of weird muscle and joint pains on this stuff. If I miss a single half dose (I've only ever been on half) the headache from hell can develop. Recently I had a 3 week non-stop headache which resembled a tension headache. Try getting someone to work on a shoulder/neck massage to see if that reduces the pain. it works for me sometimes.

I've also noticed a migraine component I never had before which is brought on from having a shower. Water - hot or cold - on my scalp brings on this fuzzy head and then comes the headache. I posted about this before and someone came back saying "sounds like MS". Definitely not. I searched PubMed and found documented cases of people developing migraines following the washing of their hair. So why this developed, I don't know but I really want to be free of meds.

Cheers

 
Old 11-07-2006, 12:04 AM   #8
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rose_5-HT
Unless you mean too much ADs could raise anxiety I disagree. In this case they cause anxiety not because of too high synaptic serotonin level but because of the "downregulation" of serotonin receptors (which is a consequence of the toxicity of ADs). Even the serotonin syndrome causes euphoria.



The precursor of adrenaline is dopamine (which is synthetized from l-tyrosine / l-phenylalanine) not serotonin (synthetized from l-tryptophan).
Yes, my mistake, but serotonin is in the group of exicitatory amines along with adrenaline and noradrenaline, so it could cause nervousness, irritability, anxitey and insomnia.

But I agree with you that downregualtion is cell damage and that could lead to many negative symptoms of which could be anxiety and worsening depression and basically a poor physical state as well! After all, we need those receptor cells to properly use the serotonin we get from our tryptophan.

Last edited by Jennita; 11-07-2006 at 12:30 AM.

 
Old 11-07-2006, 12:13 AM   #9
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by plm
Rose and Jennita, I appreciate your comments, but I don't know what you're saying.

Elavil is a tricyclic AD and is used to suppress pain in headache and fibromyalgia patients. I've seen some information which shows SSRIs are also used for headaches, but there is disagreement above whether they work very well.

You mentioned vasoconstrictors making headaches worse. I got a headache last 6 days ago and tried Imitrex. Didn't help at all, and the headache has been with me since then. Has not let up. As I understand Imitrex is a vasoconstrictor.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) inhibit the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin and norepinephrine, both excitatory. The TA also inhibit a bit of dopamine but not much. Here's a bit of side effect info. Notice headaches are on it!

Side effects of TCAs include:

Drowsiness
Dry mouth
Blurred vision
Constipation
Urinary retention
Dizziness
Impaired sexual functioning
Increased heart rate
Disorientation or confusion
Headache
Low blood pressure
Sensitivity to sunlight
Increased appetite
Weight gain

 
Old 11-07-2006, 08:34 PM   #10
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennita
Serotonin is in the group of exicitatory amines along with adrenaline and noradrenaline
I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennita
so it could cause nervousness, irritability, anxiety and insomnia.
A neurotransmitter is excitatory when it causes an excitatory postsynaptic potential leading to neuronal excitation.

Neuronal excitation doesn't mean we will feel any sort of *mental* "excitation" like the ones you mentionned above.

Otherwise all the excitatory neurotransmitters (acetylcholine, glutamate, aspartate, dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin, histamine) would cause nervousness, anxiety and insomnia.

These symptoms are signs of insufficient serotonin neurotransmission.

One could make this experiment: if you take a large single dose of any electrically neutral aminoacid other than l-tryptophan you will strongly decrease the entry of tryptophan in your brain and as a result decrease your brain serotonin level: you will exactly feel the symptoms you mention but I will add the adjective "extreme" to them: extreme nervosity, extreme depression, extreme anxiety.

Last edited by rose_5-HT; 11-08-2006 at 06:58 PM.

 
Old 11-08-2006, 05:09 PM   #11
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Re: Anybody had problems with terrible headaches from Lexapro?

I do believe those things are listed side effects, so they definately happen with overstimulation. But what you mention is very true in a way; this is why sometimes side effects and withdrawal effects are very simular!

The thing is, serotonin will metabolize into melantonin which is sleep inducing/calming. Alot of excitatory neuros do such things and otherwise get metabolized after use and this keeps things from building up too high.

So when drugs prevent proper metabolism of neuros by reuptake, that's a bad thing in the long run.

 
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