Aa
A
A
A
Close
Anxiety Community
23k Members
12927270 tn?1427819539

Day 8 in need of lexapro advice ?

Currently on my 8th day of lexapro for anxiety. The first 6 days I took 5mg and felt minimal side effects. As of day 7 my dose was uped to 10mg , during day 7 I felt really out of it. Like my body was on autopilot. A zombie like feeling. In addition, my heart rate is increased and am experiencing palpitations.  Also feeling very shaky and having weird  pressure all around my head. My sleep and appetite have diminished . Are these all normal side effects? Prior to lexapro I've never taken any ssri. Will things get better? I'm losing hope and am feeling helpless. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
19 Responses
370181 tn?1428180348
All of the symptoms you've described are normal side effects of Lexapro and should pass as your body adjusts to the medication. It can take from 1-4 weeks for Lexapro to reach what is called therapeutic levels in your bloodstream. This is the point when you will begin to feel relief from the symptoms you were given this medication for.
That does not necessarily mean you will feel these side effects for that long. All SSRI's have different side effects and they affect all of us in different ways. The by-word when beginning an SSRI is PATIENCE.

The usual starting dose for Lexapro is 10 mg, but your doctor started you at 5 mg which you were on for a week and noticed only minimal side effects. After two days at the higher dose, your side effects has escalated to a point that sounds pretty uncomfortable for you. My advice would be to call the doctor who prescribed this for you and tell him/her what you are feeling.

They most likely will tell you to give it a few more days to see if the side effects begin to abate. If they don't, they may have you decrease the dose either to the original 5 mg or have you take one 5 mg tab and break a second one in half and try that for a week.
If your side effects continue at this level or increase, you may have a hypersensitivity to Lexapro and your doctor will try you on a different medication.

The first time many of us go onto an SSRI, the side effects CAN take us by surprise because most doctors don't take the time to explain all the possible side effects.

What you are feeling is normal and no doubt your anxiety is making the symptoms worse. Try and relax, deep breath, get your mind off the symptoms but do talk to your doctor tomorrow.

You're going to be fine.
RubyWitch  
12927270 tn?1427819539
Thank you so much for the input. I will most definitely contact my doctor tomorrow regarding the sudden increase in anxiety due to the up in the dose. I will try to just relax and breath and just be positive. This anxiety is all new to me so I'm just trying to get a grasp on what's happening with my body.  Thank you again
370181 tn?1428180348
You're really welcome. Feel free to contact me if you want to talk. I've dealt with anxiety/panic disorder my whole freaking life, so if you have any questions, let me know.

Keep me posted about what your doctor says tomorrow, OK?
RubyWitch
Avatar universal
with all meds you feel worse before better , you are having normal start up soon you will see the light with luck
Avatar universal
I was on Lexapro twice.  The last time was for 10 years.  It obliterated my anxiety and panic attacks.  Unfortunately it stopped working or I would still be on it.  It did make me tired a lot but not too bothersome.  Hopefully it will kick in soon and work as well for you as it did for me.  A low dose of Ativan might work for you in the meantime.  Good luck!
12927270 tn?1427819539
Thanks for the input. I really am looking forward to experiencing the relief that you have. I do agree maybe a small amount of Ativan could help for the adjust ion period. You have given me hope thanks again
12927270 tn?1427819539
So doctor said this is all normal side effects. Just make sure to stay hydrated and keep taking the dose of 10mg . The side effects should subside within the next week. I have faith in him and the medication . I'm not looking to rid my anxiety just have some relief.
Avatar universal
That head pressure is the most common irritating side effect of Lexapro.  I had it, and I felt it increased my anxiety.  With any drug for the brain the side effects start before the effects do -- it takes 4-6 weeks for many people to notice the beneficial effects.  While the head pressure never completely went away, I got used to it where it stopped adding to my anxiety.  It never worked well for me, but I'd hang in there for at least the 4-6 week period to see if this might just be a good med for you.  If at that point it's still more irritating than beneficial, it's just not your drug.  Good luck.
12927270 tn?1427819539
It's very irritating, and is just adding to my anxiety and making me feel depressed. I just feel hopeless right now most of all. Like I'll never get relief from what I'm experiencing. I'll make sure to give it at least 4 weeks . I'm on day 10 in total but day 4 on the dose increase.  Thank you for the response , I'll keep the faith
12927270 tn?1427819539
That's exactly what I'm experiencing, I'm going to ride it out for 4 weeks and see how I feel before making a switch to anything. I was so against medication before beginning lexapro and going through this is just proving my doubts right. I'll definitely bring Effexor up to my psych. I just need relief because I barely can function. I want to go back to school and graduate but this anxiety has stop me in my tracks. How much relief did you experience from the snri? Thank you for the response
2 Comments
I’ve just come off lexapro 20mgs. Started with 10. That was five years ago. I just finally have been taken off last week by my dr. I’m in hell. It’s a horrible experience and I pray it ends soon. If it doesn’t agree with you now, I personally would step away. Good luck.
Hey, welcome and thanks for your story.  So, are you tapering back down to come off? That's really important to do.  You can to ten and then five mg?  You'll have a better experience.  Hope it is better soon!
Avatar universal
Be very careful about the advice to go on Pristiq or Effexor, which are actually basically the same drug with slight alterations.  They are stimulating antidepressants, and can make anxious people more anxious.  They are also extremely hard to stop taking and are two of the most difficult meds to take.  When they work for anxiety it's usually because the real problem was depression, and that's much more common than most of us realize, but if anxiety is the primary problem the snri class isn't usually recommended.  There's also more risk of liver problems with this class.  So save that class of meds, and the ssri Paxil, for last.  Lexapro and Prozac are usually tried first because they have the fewest reported problems taking them and stopping them.  Sometimes, if Lexapro is too much of a problem, you can take virtually the same drug, called Celexa, which is to Lexapro what Effexor is to Pristiq -- really more of a way to get a new patent than anything else but there are fewer report side effects, and you might get fewer side effects.  The two drugs can just be switched back and forth to easily because they are almost the same drug.  Good luck.
12927270 tn?1427819539
I think I'll just stick with the lexapro for now and see how it runs its course with my anxiety. I just want some relief and I'm praying this first drug will do the trick. Thank you for the insight about Effexor and pristiq.
370181 tn?1428180348
Well...........I'm going to throw my usual spanner into the works here and say what I have always believed.

If you....OR ANYBODY...... have NOT been diagnosed with a CLINICAL DEPRESSION, but rather, ANXIETY, I personally don't think you should be prescribed an antidepressant. Why treat something you DON'T have?

It seems that the vast majority of doctors today don't believe that anxiety is a "stand alone" diagnosis but is ALWAYS a secondary symptom of depression. I truly beg to differ with them. I have PTSD with severe panic disorder and I am treated with a benzodiazepine. Both times I allowed a GP to talk me into taking an antidepressant to control the anxiety/panic, I ended up a totally screwed up mess.

I am NOT against antidepressants. Please don't misunderstand me. I hear they can do great things for people who are actually DEPRESSED.

There are a number of good medications available that treat JUST anxiety. I also firmly believe that CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) combined with a mild antianxiety medication is the better road to take for "simple" anxiety.

Just my opinion...........and my experience.
RubyWitch
12927270 tn?1427819539
I'm glad you bring that point to light. I've noticed that my anxiety came followed by depression due to the anxiety. I really didn't want to thank medication at all but the physical symptoms I was experiencing from the anxiety have been awful. If lexapro does not improve anything I will probably not do another anti-depressant but instead totally change my lifestyle and diet in order to retrain my brain .  Also you make a great point in therapy which I'm going to as well . I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel , a cure so to speak and I'll do anything until I get to that state of normality again. Thanks for the post :)
Avatar universal
Just wondering how the Lexapro is working out?  Hopefully better!
Avatar universal
My own experience is very different than rubywitch.  Benzos are very temporary, even for me the long-lasting clonazepam, and never did anything for my original anxiety.  Antidepressants did help, and when they did they helped all the time, not just during the short duration benzos do, and I wasn't left very tired when the benzo wears off.  And all the ssris have now been studied and approved as treatments for stand-alone anxiety.  Although in the beginning, it's true, they were only tested for depression, after Paxil I believe all of them also tested them for anxiety treatment and got FDA approval for it, so at least as far as what they're intended to treat it's both anxiety and depression.  My own belief is that all non-medication treatments should be tried and exhausted before turning to any form of medication, because all meds are so unpredictable and not reliably studied for long-term use.  All of them are approved as a short-term bridge for people who can't live at the moment with any comfort level while they do therapy and theoretically get "cured."  Unfortunately, two things happen -- therapy has a low cure rate although I suppose if you try hard enough you will find the therapist that suits you (and having mental illness of any kind makes us bad candidates for therapy because we're too depressed or scared to do what's required and therapists aren't great at dealing with that), and Americans in particular just want that magic pill because we've been sold that medicine works a whole lot better than it actually does.  Life's just really hard for some of us.
12927270 tn?1427819539
The lexapro is going okay. I feel it really hasn't done anything. The side effects have become less intense which is a positive. I still have strange headaches on a daily basis. Still have symptoms. The mornings are the worse , I get this intense feeling of can't just lay still,  it's like s jittery sensation that runs through my whole body. Extremely uncomfortable. My sleep and appetite are still so so. Today marks 3 weeks being on Lexapro . 2 weeks being on 10mg.
12927270 tn?1427819539
I totally agree with you. I wanted an instant fix so I went from Xanax to this lexapro recommended by my psychiatrist. But I feel nothing has really helped so far. Deep down I believe I can restore that normal feeling I had before this started in February. Through eating healthy and excercising daily I believe my body can balance itself back out.  I thought it wouldn't hurt to give the lexapro a chance but all I can say is it kind of made things worse. Before starting leXapro  I had my appetite coming back which the anxiety took.  It's just been a frustrating past couple of months. you have really wise input .
Avatar universal
Give it a few more weeks if you can.  If it still isn't working by then, no sense in taking it.  Hopefully you can do it without meds.  Good luck!
Have an Answer?
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar universal
Arlington, VA
370181 tn?1428180348
Arlington, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out what can trigger a panic attack – and what to do if you have one.
A guide to 10 common phobias.
Take control of tension today.
These simple pick-me-ups squash stress.
Don’t let the winter chill send your smile into deep hibernation. Try these 10 mood-boosting tips to get your happy back
Want to wake up rested and refreshed?