Lexapro is usually used for depression and anxiety disorders. Some people are taking it for weight loss.
But you should be careful in taking this drug without your doctor’s advice. It’s because it is also used to treat anxiety and depression.
What is Lexapro
Lexapro or Escitalopram is usually prescribed by doctors as antidepressants. But, people who have been using it claim that it also helps to weight loss.
This drug affects the brain chemistry to maintain the right balance or level of serotonin, but it may also result in changes in weight.
Some people using Lexapro experience weight gain due to changes in fluid level. The good thing is that it can be treated by monitoring your diet and switching to other SSRI. On the contrary, taking Lexapro may cause weight loss due to changes in appetite.
Does Lexapro Cause Weight Loss?
Lexapro and weight loss are closely associated. It’s because this medication may affect your taste buds, thus alter the taste of the food.
It makes the food unappealing in terms of taste and smell. Aside from sensory alteration, weight loss when taking this drug may result to reduce in appetite (1).
On the other hand, reduce appetite can make you unable to get enough nutrition. If you’ll take Lexapro to lose weight, make sure not to compromise your health and nutrition.
In some cases, people taking a higher dosage of Lexapro experience weight gain especially those who are not physically active. It is because this drug can cause fluid retention.
Does Lexapro Cause Weight Gain?
Lexapro like most of the antidepressant and associated with increased appetite hence it causes weight gain. Although it’s not a strong weight gainer, such as medications like Zyprexia or Remeron, there is clearly a modest to moderate effect of slow weight gain in a real minority of patients.
Side Effects of Lexapro
Taking higher dosage of Lexapro poses downsides particularly gastrointestinal side effects. This drug may work for most people but not to all. Common side effects that you may experience when taking Lexapro include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Trouble sleeping
- Increased sweating
Additionally, some people taking this drug may show serious side effects. If you feel that it is life-threatening, you must call emergency services.
- Severe allergic reaction
It makes sense to consult your doctor before taking Lexapro. This way, you’ll know if the ingredients of this drug won’t cause an allergic reaction to trouble in breathing, swelling of your eyes, face, mouth and tongue. Other allergic reactions include a severe rash, blisters and hives that may come with joint pain.
- Convulsions or seizure
There are cases in which people taking Lexapro experience seizures. Thus, if you have a history of seizures, you not take this drug.
- Serotonin syndrome
Lexapro also increases serotonin level. But, you must be extra careful if you’re taking other medications. You must tell your doctor about your present medication to avoid developing other side effects such as:
* Loss of coordination
* Severe nausea/dizziness/vomiting
* Unusual agitation
* Twitching muscles
* Unexplained fever
- Low salt levels
Another serious side effects that you may experience when taking Lexapro is the risk of developing low salt levels. This is very common to elderly and those who are taking water pills.
You may experience a headache, confusion, memory problem, trouble on focus, unsteadiness, weakness and seizures.
- Manic episodes
Lexapro is not recommended for people having bipolar disorder as it may cause a manic episode. Symptoms may include reckless behavior, severe sleeping problems, racing thoughts, excessive irritability or happiness and talking quickly than normal.
- Vision problems
This drug may dilate your pupils that can result in glaucoma attack. If you notice vision changes, eye pain, redness or swelling around your eye, you must stop taking Lexapro.
Studies showed that males taking Lexapro experience a prolonged or painful erection that may last for more than 4 hours.
Most of the side effects may go away on their own. But, if you experience more severe side effects, you must seek medical intervention immediately.
As mentioned above, Lexapro is used as a treatment for anxiety and depression. With this, it’s important to know the right dosage appropriate to your age and needs.
As an initial treatment for depression and anxiety, the recommended dose for adolescents is 10 mg once a day. The dosage may increase to 20 mg, but it should be given after three weeks. The same dosage is also given to adults.
Elderly patients and those with hepatic impairment are given 10 mg per day. Likewise, this drug should be taken with caution for those with serious renal impairment.
Lexapro does not directly affect weight loss. Generally, your doctor will prescribe this drug to reduce the symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Before taking Lexapro, you must tell your doctor about your medical condition and if you’re undergoing treatment.
In case, you’re noticing side effects either mild or serious, you must tell consult your doctor to avoid aggravating the symptoms.
Whether Lexapro aids to weight loss or weight gain, you should always prioritize your safety and overall well-being.
is a registered dietitian with over 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She has a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from Dhaka University and has worked with various clients to help them achieve their health goals through personalized diet plans. Mounota is passionate about educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle and has written extensively on the subject for various publications.