Lexapro review – Is this depression prescription effective?

Lexapro Review Summary

Lexapro is a prescription-only medication against depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Learn more in our Lexapro review!

Fiyin Ebemidayo

Results
Price
Side effects

Summary

Lexapro is effective at treating depression and generalized anxiety disorder for a competitive price. However, there is a risk of sometimes serious side effects, especially if combined with other medications.

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7 Facts from our Lexapro Review

  1. Location: North Chicago, Illinois
  2. Products: Lexapro is the brand name of an antidepressant called escitalopram 
  3. Costs: $490 for 30 10-mg tablets; may be covered by insurance or the manufacturer’s patient assistance program
  4. Results: Effective in treating anxiety and depression
  5. How it works: Patients need a prescription 
  6. Recommended dose: 10 mg per day
  7. Complementary Products: Nebula Genomics 30x Whole Genome Sequencing DNA Test is the most comprehensive DNA test that decodes 100% of your DNA with exceptional accuracy

This review is written with the intent to be as unbiased as possible. However, it represents the opinion of an individual reviewer and is therefore subjective. Furthermore, at Nebula Genomics we seek to educate the public about the benefits of Whole Genome Sequencing. Information about our Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test is therefore incorporated into the review.

November 7, 2022

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It has a lesser addiction rate compared to other anxiety drugs like benzodiazepines
  • Suitable for treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • It is less disruptive to brain chemistry compared to other drugs like benzodiazepines 
  • Approved by the FDA
  • Less expensive than similar products

Cons

  • Reduced appetite
  • Possible health complications may arise when combined with other drugs like anti-inflammatories or when the patient drinks alcohol
  • Lexapro weight gain may occur

Introduction

What is Lexapro? Manufactured by Allergan plc, Lexapro is a brand name of the generic drug, escitalopram.

Escitalopram is used to treat depression. It belongs to a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and doctors prescribe it as a highly effective treatment for major depressive disorders in adults and adolescents. It is not suitable for children below 12 years.

person sitting with hands on head
In 2017, depression was shown to affect 7.1% of all U.S. adults. Wikipedia. CC- Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic.

Some Lexapro side effects may occur with this medication. Some of these include: painful urination, dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness, weakness, anxiousness, agitation, increased muscle movements, feeling shaky; trouble sleeping, heavy menstrual periods; nausea, constipation, plus sexual side effects like decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm. If you experience any of these worsening symptoms, you should consult your doctor or medical professional. Patients with serious side effects such as suicidal thoughts and behavior should seek help immediately.

There are also several drug interactions with this medication, including things like herbal products and blood thinners such as warfarin.

Does Lexapro cause weight gain? There is some increased risk of weight gain on this medication. This results from either a direct appetite boost or an individual tendency to eat more as depression and anxiety are reduced.

The company

Allergan plc is an American, Irish-domiciled pharmaceutical company specializing in developing and marketing brand-name drugs and medical devices. Besides developing products like Lexapro for the central nervous system, it also produces medical aesthetics and medications for eye pain and gastroenterology. Botox is one of its products.

This company was founded on May 16, 2013, when Allergan Finance, LLC (Actavis) & Warner Chilcott merged. They renamed it on March 17, 2015 to Allergan Plc upon the merger of Allergan, Inc., and Actavis.

On May 8, 2020, AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, announced that it had completed its acquisition of Allergan plc.

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Review of Lexapro Science

To understand how the anti-depressant works, we first need to understand how the disease affects the brain of an individual with anxiety or depression.

What is Lexapro used for? Depression and anxiety are among some of the most common mental illnesses in the U.S. and around the world. They are a leading cause of suicidal thoughts and risk of suicidality.

These disorders result from a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects mood. Although experts believe the environment plays some role, genetic factors are also important indications that may make an individual predisposed to one of these issues. You can read more about which genetic variants are involved in the Nebula Research Library

When an individual suffering from depression or anxiety takes an antidepressant, it usually works by altering the levels of the chemicals in the brain. They often increase the availability of “feel-good chemicals” like serotonin and dopamine. These effects result in a more balanced mood and a reduction of the symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Lexapro 10 mg
10 mg of Lexapro. Wikipedia. CC-Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

This drug is approved by the FDA, which provides a medication guide on its website. As a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Lexapro specifically helps increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter that carries signals between neurons. The medication blocks the reabsorption of serotonin into neurons so that more free serotonin is available for the neurons. SSRIs are called selective because they do not affect other neurotransmitters.

Serotonin syndrome

Serotonin syndrome occurs when medications cause high levels to accumulate in the body. Although the SSRI boosts serotonin, too much can cause symptoms that range from mild to severe. Severe serotonin syndrome can cause death if not treated.

This syndrome usually occurs when a patient starts a medication like Lexapro or when they start an increased dose. Milder forms of serotonin syndrome can be stopped by either discontinuing the medications that cause symptoms or by taking serotonin blockers.

Symptoms include high or low blood pressure, hallucinations, agitation, fever, sweating, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, shivering, fast heart rate, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Once you notice any of these, you should seek medical attention.

Lexapro Reviews

The drug comes in three different strengths:

  • F L 5 (Lexapro 5 mg)
  • F L 10 (Lexapro 10 mg)
  • F L 20 (Lexapro 20 mg)

The identifying numbers are printed with large fonts on the tablets to make them easy to identify. For example, the F L 5 (Lexapro 5 mg) has “FL” on one side of the tablet and “5” on the other side. The pill with imprint F L 20 is Lexapro 20 mg, and that with FL 10 is Lexapro 10mg.

You can only obtain these drugs from your doctor, who will prescribe the suitable Lexapro dosage for you. The recommended dose is 10 mg once per day. 

How to get Lexapro

You can pick up your prescription from a traditional pharmacy. But you can also obtain the drug from sites like Amazon pharmacy. You still need a prescription, but you can have it filled and even covered by your insurance completely online. Prices may be lower than in traditional stores.

How to take Lexapro

Store the product at room temperature and follow your doctor’s instructions when taking this drug. You should also read through the leaflet and follow all directions carefully. You should follow a precise time frame each day with or without food.

How long does it take for Lexapro to work? It’s important to note that there are no immediate effects with Lexapro. While some physical symptoms like sleep, energy, and appetite may improve within the first 1-2 weeks, depressed mood and lack of interest in activities may need up to 6-8 weeks to fully improve.

You shouldn’t stop taking Lexapro without first speaking to your doctor or health care provider, or you may risk having unpleasant Lexapro withdrawal. Common Lexapro withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, muscle tension, chills, confusion, trouble concentrating and remembering things, and bouts of crying.

Patients should avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen, aspirin, diclofenac, indomethacin, celecoxib (Celebrex), meloxicam, and naproxen (Aleve), and others. If you must use them with Lexapro, call your doctor. Combining NSAID with Lexapro may cause patients to bruise or bleed easily.

Sometimes, doctors will recommend that patients switch from a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) to medications like Lexapro. At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders and initiation of therapy with Lexapro. Another medication that should be avoided is methylene blue, a drug used to treat methemoglobinemia.

If you miss a dose, you can generally take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s close to the next one, skip the missed dose.

Lexapro Cost Reviews

Oral tablet 5 mg: 100 tablets for $1,273 ($12.73 per pill)

Oral tablet 10 mg: 100 tablets for $1,330.12 ($13.30 per pill) or 30 tablets for $248.16 ($8.27 per pill)

Oral tablet 20 mg: 30 tablets for $103.77 – $258.26 ($3.46 – $8.61 per pill). 100 tablets for $1,387.57 ( $13.88 per pill)

Prices will vary depending on which pharmacy you use. You can also find discounts and coupons on websites such as GoodRx. Insurance may also cover some or all of your prescription costs. 

Patients can also apply through “myAbbVie Assist,” a patient assistance program that delivers free medication to qualifying applicants. 

Lexapro Privacy Reviews

Since AbbVie acquired Allergan, there has been a slight change in its policies, including privacy.

However, a section reads, “Allergan and AbbVie share common privacy principles and practices, and the new combined company will honor any Allergan-provided privacy notices for personal information previously collected, used, and maintained by Allergan. As we integrate our businesses, we will also integrate information and combine our privacy programs as needed.”

Therefore, customers are not significantly affected by the change in the company’s ownership. Allergen is committed to protecting your data.

The privacy policy also provides sections that extensively cover regional policies. The United States regional policy explains how Allergan collects, uses, and discloses personal data in the U.S.

The California privacy notice sets out Allergan’s commitment to compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Lexapro regional policies
Regional policies are described in Lexapro’s Privacy Policy

The other two sections are the EU, EEA & CH privacy notices and the privacy policy that affects other regions. The former set out Allergan’s commitment to compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While the latter provides information about privacy & data protection for users outside the U.S. and GDPR countries.

Other Lexapro Reviews

Since Lexapro is a prescription medication, it is not sold by retailers and thus does not have many public customer reviews. There are some prescription-based services that also provide some reviews and drug information. However, it should be noted that these sites are for educational purposes only and are not meant to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

GoodRx asked 1063 people what they thought after they started Lexapro. Sixty-one percent confirmed it is worth it, 17% were Not sure, and 22% claimed it’s Not worth it. This is most likely due to terrible side effects.

Lexapro review from GoodRx
Lexapro review from GoodRx

Many patients prescribed noted that it seemed to take a while for the medication to work and that they experienced common side effects of Lexapro. However, most patients who reviewed the product did say they started feeling better using it to treat their anxiety.  

On Drugs.com, Lexapro has an average of 7.5 out of 10 from 1,834 ratings. Sixty-nine percent of those who reviewed Lexapro reported a positive effect, while 15% reported a negative effect.

Lexapro review from Drugs.com
Lexapro review from Drugs.com

From this site, it appears that more people had success when using this drug to treat anxiety and panic attacks and less success when using it for major depressive disorder.

Lexapro vs. Other Antidepressants

Brand nameLexaproZoloftCitalopram (Celexa)Prozac
Generic drug nameescitalopramsertralinecitalopramfluoxetine
Formoral tablet, oral solutionoral tablet, oral solutionoral tablet, oral solutionoral tablet

oral capsule

delayed-release oral capsule

oral solution
Who can take itpeople 12 years and olderpeople 18 years and older18 years and older18 years and older
Recommended dosage (actual dosage determined by your doctor)10 mg per day25-50 mg per day10 – 40 mg per day20 – 60 mg per day

Nebula Genomics

Often, friends and family focus more on the external factors that cause depression, such as stress, death, divorce, etc., and less on intrinsic risk factors. Environmental risk factors do influence the development of mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, panic attacks, and social anxiety, but it’s understood that genetics also play a role. Sometimes, depression is deeply rooted in the genetic makeup of an individual. 

A DNA test may help you understand your genetic susceptibility to the illness and help determine a lasting solution. 

Nebula Genomics DNA test is comprehensive and regularly updated at no additional cost. Unlike other consumer DNA tests that test only 0.02% of your genetic makeup, Nebula Genomics 30X Whole Genome sequencing decodes 100% of your DNA. 

In addition to the high-quality DNA tests, we also provide the Nebula Research Library. There, you’ll find updated reports based on the latest scientific discoveries. You can also use our powerful, browser-based genome exploration tools to answer any questions you have about your DNA.

Our Whole Genome Sequencing data is reliable and of excellent quality. You can even use it in consultation with your physicians and genetic counselors to help determine which types of mental health medication may be best for you.

Other products

You may also want to look at Zoloft, a similar antidepressant, or DNA tests that specifically focus on mental illnesses to guide treatment options, including Genomind, Genesight, and Incite Health

If you’re interested in general health and well-being in addition to mental health, you may be interested in these other at-home tests, some of which include prescription products:

  • BlueChew (diagnosis and prescriptions for erectile dysfunction)
  • Everlywell (wide range of health and wellness tests)
  • InsideTracker (biomarker health tests and optional DNA test)
  • LetsGetChecked (wide range of health and wellness tests)
  • LifeDNA (nine reports based on SNP analysis)
  • MyLab Box (at-home STD testing)
  • Personalabs (over 400 lab tests taken at local labs)

Did you like our Lexapro review? You can read more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests.