Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which is a very fancy way of saying that that the drug helps your brain keep the chemical serotonin to be where it needs to be. More specificially,
1. Our brain works by sending messages from one nerve cell to the next via the release of messengers (neurotransmitters such as serotonin)
2. When one nerve cell releases serotonin, it does not all go to the second nerve cell, the first cell "takes some back," which is called reabsorbtion.
3. Drugs such as Lexapro block this reabsorbtion, allowing more serotonin to be available to the second nerve cell.
No one fully understands how brain chemistry affects anxiety and depression, but it appears that serotonin levels in the brain are important.
So, all SSRIs work the same and have the same potential side effects. However, individual people have different experiences with different SSRIs. You might have unpleasant side effects with one SSRI such as Lexpro, but not another, like say Zoloft. Another person may have a terrible experience with Zoloft, but do great on Prozac. I've even seen people have difficulty with a generic version of an SSRI but not the brand name version. This is all do the variance in the ingredients and in how individuals respond to those ingredients.
So, if you are taking Lexapro and it is not working well for you, don't give up! Go see your Psychiatrist and be very specific about your concerns. A good psychiatrist will work with you to find the right medication and dosage for you.
Dr. Jennifer Fee
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