LEXAPRO has fewer and milder side-effects than other drugs in the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) family of drugs used in the treatment of depression and general anxiety disorders. Yet, Lexapro can have severe withdrawal symptoms. It is also important to remember that Lexapro is the newest member of SSRI family, hence has not been around long enough for its all its side-effects to be observed and studied.
Withdrawal symptoms can be severe on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD patients if the treatment is stopped abruptly. A dose skipped can also cause avoidable side-effects. Hence, patients using Lexapro must not miss a dose and not stop treatment abruptly without consulting the doctor.
Symptoms of withdrawal: Almost 50 different symptoms have been observed in connection with withdrawal of SSRI drugs. As said above, Lexapro is the latest SSRI drug, and has not been used long enough to study all its withdrawal symptoms. Safety therefore demands that Lexapro be presumed to cause the same withdrawal symptoms as other SSRI drugs.
The common symptoms of Lexapro withdrawal include:
o Anxiety, nightmares
o Restlessness, tremors
o Lack of concentration
o Suicidal tendency
o Bouts of crying
o Aggression/agitation, irritability
o Bright and colorful dreams, hallucinations
o Flamboyant dreams,
o Memory problems, headache, insomnia
o Nausea, chill, fever, flu
o Stomach disorders, diarrhea, vomiting
o Excessive sweating, fatigue, dizziness
o Vertigo, instability in gait, lethargy
o Hot flashes, tingling sensations, blurred vision,
o Myalgia/muscle pain, joint pain and physical weakness
Why Withdrawal Symptoms: Lexapro withdrawal symptoms are usually caused by abrupt discontinuation of treatment. Whether treatment is abruptly stopped or a dose missed, symptoms might start within eight hours of the last dose.
How Long: Lexapro withdrawal symptoms, regardless of dosage, can last from seven days to nearly two months. In some cases, symptoms might last even longer. Lexapro withdrawal symptoms can be more severe and last longer than other SSRI drugs.
Prevention: Doctors usually advise Lexapro treatment to taper off instead of abruptly stopping it. It is therefore important to plan a tapering schedule in consultation with the doctor to at least minimize, if not prevent, withdrawal symptoms.