Escitalopram, which also goes by the name Lexapro, is a medication used to treat major depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Escitalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is widely used around the world. The drug was approved for medical usage in the United States in 2002 and was the 26th most prescribed medication in the United States with more than 25 million annual prescriptions. While it can be instrumental in treating those with severe depression, it does host an array of undesirable side effects.
The long-term use of antidepressants throughout the United States continues to increase, and evidence points to nearly 25 million adults using antidepressants for the last two years. The number is a 60 percent increase since 2010, and the same survey notes that 15.5 million individuals have been using antidepressants for at least five years, which nearly doubles the rate since 2010. In total, more than 34.4 million adults took antidepressants in 2014, which is up from 13.4 million in 2000.
With such a significant portion of the population using these drugs for relief, we sometimes ignore the side effects because of the positive results. Unfortunately, medications like escitalopram cause severe side effects, such as memory loss, which affects our brain. This piece aims to look at some of the impacts it may cause in your brain and beyond.
Side Effects of Escitalopram
As you might expect with all drugs, escitalopram may come with side effects. Some of these may be bothersome, while others may severely impact your health. Learning about how it affects your memory and other bodily functions can help you determine if the medication is right for you.
The most common side effects of escitalopram include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction or decreased sex drive
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble urinating
- Potential for weight gain
- Suicidal thoughts
Escitalopram and Memory Loss
Escitalopram is viewed as a “brain-slowing” medication by some medical professionals, and some doctors will tell you to avoid the medication altogether if you are worried about memory.
Escitalopram is not linked with short-term memory loss, and the results are not definitive when it comes to problems in your brain. Those who experience memory loss must consult their doctor immediately to determine if other medications or causes could be to blame.
The drug affects our brain by blocking the reuptake of serotonin and has always been in one of the safest classes of antidepressant medications. It’s impossible to determine what will work for you based on an article you read online, and the only way to make a final determination about what will help your depression is to speak with your primary care physician.
Fortunately, there are many natural treatments available if you want to skip drugs like escitalopram, but other antidepressants exist as well. Talk to a medical professional today.