What Is Lexapro Used For?
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin. The serotonin enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough serotonin reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any serotonin that remains in the gap between cells. This is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. But when the levels of serotonin become unbalanced, this imbalance can cause a variety of conditions, including depression. Lexapro helps to block the reuptake of serotonin so that more serotonin remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the serotonin a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.
Lexapro is not approved for use in childhood anxiety, although it is approved to treat depression in adolescents as young as 12 years old. In one study of Lexapro in children, Lexapro was not shown to be effective for children. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using Lexapro in children with depression or anxiety.
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Lexapro for treating something other than the conditions listed above. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, some off-label Lexapro uses include the treatment of:
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Eating disorders (including anorexia and bulimia)
- Hot flashes
- Migraines (see Lexapro and Migraine Headaches)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Premature ejaculation (see Premature Ejaculation and Lexapro)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Tourette syndrome.