Of all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Lexapro has the greatest action selectivity for serotonin receptors. Due to the lack or weakness of interaction with the receptors of other neurotransmitter systems, Lexapro has a stable therapeutic effect and minimal risk of unwanted reactions.
Lexapro is used to treat one of the most serious mental illnesses – major depressive disorder (MDD). Lexapro helps increase serotonin concentration in the brain, and thus helps to:
- quickly alleviate the symptoms of MDD
- reduce the frequency of MDD relapse
In MDD therapy, Lexapro can be usedin tablets or oral suspension.
The dosage of Lexapro for the treatment of GAD depends on the patient’s age.
- Adult patients should take 10 mg to 20 mg of Lexapro per day.
- Elderly people and patients with impaired liver function can take no more than one Lexapro dose of 10 mg per day.
The advantage of Lexapro over other antidepressants is a convenient single dosing regimen. The minimum frequency of application is an important factor that positively influences patient’s adherence to the MDD treatment.
About 2 months of regular Lexapro use are required to alleviate the MDD symptoms. To avoid relapse of the depressive disorder, the use of the antidepressant should be prolonged for at least another 4 months after the improvement of the psychological condition.
Care must be taken, when using Lexapro with other antidepressants and stimulants of the central nervous system. To avoid the serotonergic syndrome, Lexapro should not be used earlier than 2 weeks after the discontinuation of the monoamine oxidase (MOI) inhibitors.
When Lexapro interacts:
- with Digoxin –the risk of digitalis toxicityincreases.
- with Warfarin –the anticoagulant effect enhances.
- with Theophylline – the risk of arrhythmiasincreases.
Lexapro does not have any significanteffect over the pharmacokinetics and distribution degree of Lithium or ethanol in the body. Nevertheless, medical experts do not recommend combining antidepressant medication with alcohol or Lithium.
Side effects rarelymanifest after the use of Lexapro. The antidepressant has a good tolerability profile and demonstrates an optimal relationship between tolerability and efficacy.
The most frequent adverse reactions after Lexapro administration are irritability, nausea, apathy, dry mouth and weight gain. However, the resulting side effects do not require any medical intervention or therapy discontinuation to avoid them.
To let the MDD therapy with Lexapro go in the most effective way, several recommendations should be followed:
To achieve the maximum therapeutic effect and minimize the risk of the depressionrecurrence, adequate doses of Lexapro should be used for a certain period;
To improve the efficacy of treatment, pharmacotherapy of major depression is recommended to be combined with long-term cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal psychotherapy;