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#1 frog

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 02:12 PM

Anyone on here have experience starting on Lexapro? Or perhaps this is common across other SSRIs too...

 

I developed severe anxiety as a response to the trauma caused by the nonstop panic attacks I had for months as part of Cymbalta withdrawal. I had a period of time where I was feeling much better but the anxiety was clearly lurking just beneath the surface and was triggered again a few months ago and became unbearable. I made the decision to take an SSRI as a way to bring balance back to my system and my doctor thought Lexapro would be an ideal option as it's generall well tolerated and is considered a slightly better option for anxiety than other SSRIs. 

 

I've been on 5mg for a week now. I have definitely noticed a decrease in my resting anxiety already which is very encouraging as 5mg is smaller than the usual starting dose. However, I have not been able to get any sleep the entire week. If I manage to fall asleep I wake up again 2 hours later. Sometimes I can fall asleep again for a little while if I watch some TV or just lie there for a while trying to relax, but maybe only another couple hours. I'm not anxious when I get into bed and I'm not really anxious when I'm lying awake in bed either. My mind just wants to be active. I've tried some of the things that have worked well in the past when I was working with a sleep specialist to get off Seroquel for insomnia. I'm focusing on my breathing and counting my breaths or trying to do other mental activities that are meant to focus my brain enough to let sleep come in, but it's like wrangling a toddler. It just doesn't want to sit still. 

 

From what I've gathered doing some Googling, this is not uncommon when starting up Lexapro and people say it eventually passes. I've reached out to my doctor for her opinion, but was curious if others on here have had this same experience? Is this just an adjustment period or is this a red flag that the medication may not be a good fit? Really hoping it's the former!


#2 fishinghat

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 05:32 PM

I have been on Lexapro twice but had no issues with start-up either time. The reactions you mention are fairly common when starting a lot of antidepressants though. I have no info on if they are permenant or temporary.


#3 frog

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 06:40 PM

Thanks FH

Doc said she does see difficult with sleeping in the beginning so it's worth it to keep going longer, which is fine. She advised to add in a little melatonin for now and/or reduce Lexapro to 2.5mg so it's a smoother adjustment. At the very least I'm not lying awake with anxiety, that is much worse. 


#4 invalidusername

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 10:06 AM

Hi Frog,

 

I too have been on the Lexapro route before twice, once switching from Cymbalta and another time from Celexa. Didn't notice any issues with sleeping, but did incur ongoing head fog and headaches. This ultimately led to my stopping it and going back to Celexa. 

 

As Hat said, anti-depressants generally are known for having sleep issues when starting. It is such a subjective thing, and one can only go by overall percentages of those reported. But it happens - just not in all cases. You can spend hours looking through reviews trying to find people suffering the same as you - such as those on webmd (run by Ely Lilly as it happens);

 

https://www.webmd.co...90-lexapro-oral

 

I wasted so much time looking at these. What annoyed me was when people were asking opinions about drugs on forums with the title appended with (positive responses only). They're kidding themselves!! An anti-depressant which only had positive experiences... wouldn't that be a thing!! :)

 

5mg is 25% of a generally accepted max. dose making it a therapeutic start. If your anxiety is doing well on 5mg, then I would ride the start-up symptoms through - but if the sleep issues don't start to improve within the next 2-3 weeks, then I would consider it time to think again.

 

Keep us posted my dear.


#5 frog

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 04:59 PM

Thanks IUN. I think headaches and head fog were probably a sign that Lexapro was not the right fit for you. 

 

So far my main issue is the restless mind at night (no sleep), fatigue throughout the day, and a little bit of jaw clenching/teeth grinding. The sleep bit was the worst of it but I've been taking .9mg of melatonin at bedtime and it's worked like a dream the past few nights. Of course nothing is without its downsides. The melatonin makes me super groggy but working from home allows me the freedom to roll out of bed 10 minutes before my first work call and be as grumpy as I want :)

 

So far no change with the anxiety. But my mood is SO MUCH BETTER. I feel lighter, happier, optimistic. I used to say I was riding a razr scooter on a cobblestone road. Now I feel like i'm in a Hummer on freshly paved asphalt. 

 

Edited to add: I really resent that a brain med is what screwed me up to the point that I needed to medicate what medication did to me. And I resent that many doctors would likely never agree that that's what happened. But I am glad that there's something available to make me feel better. And I'm really hopeful that things can be turned around in a more permanent way (rather than now needing lexapro for the rest of my life)


#6 invalidusername

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 05:46 PM

No doctor would blame the "tools of their trade" as being the subsequent reason for further medication. But why else would it be called a "practise"? No one fully understands how brain meds work, so where is the logic in pretending that we do? 

 

I sincerely hope that the Lex helps you over this last bit. With the benefit of you being more lighter, happier and optimistic, then it is relatively logical that the anxiety should dissipate in due course.


#7 Bat

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 07:07 AM

I started lexapro two times before. I start 10 mg per day. Usually i become better for a week then it becomes worse (anxiety, on going fear, gut issues) then it gradually becomes better in a month or two. I tolerate cymbalta much better. I might not need any benzo when starting cymbalte but i needed with lexapro. I might need even more than a helping drug with lexaprom
Concerning the sleeping issue i had it before while starting cymbalta the second time. And wasn't bad when i started cymbalta the third time.
For this issue my doctor prescriped half pill from remeron for 3 or 4 days. I think it worked very good and it helped with the anxiety too. After a couple of months i did take it 3 nights too.
If it is a severe issue ask your doctor if you can try.I never take it more than 4 nights and lately i never take it more than 3 nights at a time.
Also, what i heard is taking a half pill will help you sleep more than a whole pill.

#8 frog

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 11:49 AM

Thanks Bat

 

So far I'm tolerating Lexapro well other than the sleep but the melatonin has worked amazingly the past 4 nights which is a relief because I don't want any more prescription meds. I reduced from .9mg to .6 last night to try to shake the grogginess and that seems to have worked. No increase in anxiety at this time from the Lexapro but I started slow at 5mg, now up to 7.5mg and on to 10 in a couple weeks

 

Cymbalta was OK at startup for me, nothing too terrible but I would sweat horribly through the night and have crazy dreams which wasn't fun. 


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#9 invalidusername

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 05:29 PM

I would sweat horribly through the night and have crazy dreams which wasn't fun. 

 

Will always remember that part...





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