Lexapro Precautions and Warnings
Diabetes, liver disease, and bipolar disorder are a few of the conditions that you should let your healthcare provider know about before taking Lexapro. A few other Lexapro precautions and warnings include the safety of taking Lexapro if you have a seizure disorder or are over 65 years old, and the risk of allergic reactions or withdrawal symptoms in some people taking the drug.
- Bipolar disorder or a family history of bipolar disorder (manic-depression)
- A history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
- A recent history of a heart attack (or if you have unstable heart disease)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
- Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Drink alcohol regularly.
Antidepressants (including Lexapro) may increase the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior in children, teenagers, and adults (see Antidepressants and Suicide for more information). Therefore, if you notice any changes in symptoms or new symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider immediately.
Some of these symptoms may include anxiety, hostility, agitation, panic, restlessness, hallucinations, extreme hyperactivity, and suicidal thinking or behavior (see Lexapro and Suicide for more information).
- Before prescribing Lexapro for depression, your healthcare provider should make sure that you do not have bipolar disorder (instead of depression). Sometimes, the symptoms of bipolar disorder and depression are very similar; and Lexapro can cause problems in people with bipolar disorder.
- Antidepressants can cause a group of dangerous symptoms known as serotonin syndrome. Taking Lexapro with other medications that affect serotonin can increase your risk of serotonin syndrome. These other medications include other antidepressants, triptans (migraine medications), and several other medications (see Lexapro Drug Interactions for more information).
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you have any possible symptoms of serotonin syndrome, including:
- Seeing or hearing things that are not really there (hallucinations)
- Fast heartbeat (tachycardia)
- Feeling faint
- Muscle spasms
- Difficulty walking
- If you have a seizure disorder, there is a possibility that taking Lexapro may cause seizures. Talk to your healthcare professional before taking Lexapro if you have seizures.
- You should let your healthcare provider know if you develop a rash, hives, or other allergic reactions while taking Lexapro.
- If you are stopping Lexapro, you should be monitored by a healthcare professional for Lexapro withdrawal symptoms. If you do develop any symptoms of Lexapro withdrawal, such as irritability, anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, or insomnia, your healthcare provider may slow down the rate at which the Lexapro is stopped (see Lexapro Withdrawal).
- Lexapro may cause bleeding in the stomach or intestines. This is risk is increased in those taking aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen. Symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding may include:
- Bright red blood coating the stool
- Dark blood mixed with the stool
- Black or tarry stool
- Bright red blood in vomit
- Vomit that has the appearance of coffee grounds.
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your healthcare provider.
- If you are elderly or are taking a diuretic, Lexapro could cause low salt levels in the blood (hyponatremia). This side effect generally subsides when Lexapro is stopped.
- Lexapro may affect your ability to perform complex tasks requiring mental and motor skills. Therefore, it is recommended that you become accustomed to its effect on you before becoming involved in activities requiring mental or motor concentration (such as driving a car or operating machinery).
- Lexapro can interact with certain medications (see Lexapro Drug Interactions).
- Lexapro is a considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that Lexapro may not be safe to use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using Lexapro during pregnancy (see Lexapro and Pregnancy for more information).
- Lexapro passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using Lexapro (see Lexapro and Breastfeeding for more information).
- If you are over 65 years old, your healthcare provider may choose to make necessary dosing adjustments with caution.