Lexapro questions

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by pepper, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. pepper

    pepper New Member

    I have gone through the Lexapro posts here and do not get a consensus of opinion. I know that everyone reacts differently to meds but I was wondering if those of you who have tried Lexapro would answer the following questions:

    1. Were you given Lexapro as an anti-depressant or a sleep aid?

    2. Did it help you sleep?

    3. Do you think it contributed to any weight gain?

    Thank you very much for any input.
  2. pepper

    pepper New Member

    I am trying to decide whether or not to pressure my doctor into giving this to me. My friend, who is an M.D., insists that this drug will help with my poor sleep and will not cause weight gain. I put on 100 lb with Paxil and could not lose weight on Zoloft so I am very wary.

    I hope that others will share their experiences to help me make this decision.

    Thank you! :)
    [This Message was Edited on 01/22/2006]
  3. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    i was initially prescribed lexapro to stop a vicious cycle of migraines and for anxiety (i have much more trouble with anxiety/panic than depression). it absolutely helped me sleep, stopped the migraines and eased my anxiety too. i didn't notice any significant weight gain.

    you'll receive a wide range of opinions on anti-depressants on this board and elsewhere. my personal opinion is that a low dose anti-depressant can be a huge help in managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. an AD can help alleviate chronic muscle tension and pain, and increase GI motility in addition to its benefits for depression and anxiety. my health actually peaked while i was on lexapro and i'm getting ready to get back on it very soon.

    i think you'll find that most of the people who tell you horror stories about anti-depressants either have no personal experience with them, didn't give them enough time (most fall into this category) or went off them abruptly. the first couple weeks can be a little odd as your body adjusts. you might feel spaced-out and/or nervous but if you take it slooooow, the drug can be a great catalyst to get you on a healing path. long-term, you might feel a little more tired than you'd like to, but i eventually found ways to balance the sedative effects.

    i wish you the best whatever you decide. if you need any more advice on the lexy, just shout my name.

    [This Message was Edited on 01/22/2006]
  4. bren45

    bren45 New Member

    Lexapro was given to me as a antidepressant. Even though I wasn't depressed. That's what my Dr. gave me for Fibro.

    Yes, it did help me sleep, but made me drowsy all day also.
    It did lessen my pain though which was wonderful.

    Yes, I had a 40lb weight gain that I am still trying to get off.

    Have been off of it for a year. Very happy, it was hard for me to get off of it. Horrible withdraw symtoms. I felt so detached while I was on it. I was only taking 10mg too!

    I have alot of friends on anti-depressants and they all gained 40lbs or more. Doctors write prescriptions too freely for these drugs. I know some people really need them though.
    It's a tough decision.

  5. pepper

    pepper New Member

    First off, I am one of those people who has had a horror experience with Paxil! As I said, I gained 100 lb in the first 2 yrs I was on it. I was on it for 8 yrs and took 2 yrs to wean off it and onto Zoloft.

    The side effects (mainly weight gain) and weaning off were terrible. However, I do believe that it saved my life. I was so incredibly depressed when first diagnosed with CFS/FM that I fell into a deep depression and Paxil brought me out of it.

    And I agree with you, Eddie, that my quality of life was better on the drugs. I just don't know if I want to go that route again after working so hard to get off them!

    This doctor friend told me that Lexapro is NOT an SSRI like Paxil and Zoloft and does not have the weight gain side effect. Bren, you have obviously found that this is not so. I am afraid that I would experience the same thing.

    10 mg is what she thinks I should be taking. But even that low dosage made you drowsy!

    This is such a dilemma because I am having such a hard time sleeping and she thinks that this would be the answer. Not only that, she feels that the chronic anxiety I live with is preventing me from healing.

    I appreciate both of your inputs, Eddie and Bren.
    Thanks for the information to weigh in this decision.
  6. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    lexapro is an ssri just like paxil and zoloft, but i think most people who've had experience with all three would tell you that lexapro is the most tolerable of the bunch. as for weight gain, i think it's key to resist the urge to let the drug make you so passive that you don't move and exercise.

    in the last month or so, i've been waking up with a ball of anxiety in my stomach. chronic anxiety and tension will absolutely sabotage your ability to heal. and i don't even a job to wake up to anymore! still, the anxiety is the first thing i notice every morning. then i notice the pain. i take klonopin at bedtime now and even though it's worked wonders for some (and believe me, it's been there for me a few times), i don't think it's the best choice for sleep. gradually, over the last several months i feel like i've been missing out on the stage 4 sleep again, which was a huge part of my improvement on both lexapro and lyrica. i haven't felt this bad since right before i went on the lexy.

    wow, so it probably sounds like i'm really pushing this one on ya but honestly, i'm not :) i just hate to see people suffer with that specific subset of symptoms (ie. anxiety, insomnia, tension) that can really improve with judicious use of the right drug.

  7. Bren5

    Bren5 New Member

    My neurologist (I have MS & FMS) recommended Lexapro due to pain and stress. At the time my son was stationed in Korea and getting ready to deploy to Iraq. Needless to say, I was stressed! I started on 20 mg and yes I did gain weight (about 25 lbs), after about 1 year and always feeling exhausted, I wanted to stop Lexapro. My Rheumatologist worked with me to taper down and get off it. My stress and pain levels really increased. I am back on 10 mg of Lexapro and it does help with my pain along with Neurontin, and occasionally Skelaxin. I do take 1mg of Lorazepam at bedtime for sleep.

    My son is back in the States now and only a few hours from home, yeah!
  8. lilac123

    lilac123 New Member

    I was given Lexapro a couple of years ago for anxiety/depression. I have tried going off of it but always feel better with it.

    I'm not sure that it really helped me with sleep. I don't know if that is one of the things it helps with or not. don't think so though.

    I don't know about the weight gain being caused by it. I think I have just started eating better. My slight weight gain I believe was more from the fibro pain and lack of excersise.

    Hope this helps you. I know for me, I feel much better taking it. I'm on 10mg daily. My doc told me there is not much differnece in the effect of 10 or 20mg in clinical trials. I Just feel less anxious and have more interest in things.

    Take care!
  9. millennia

    millennia New Member

    I was prescribed Lexapro for depression (this was before my fibro diagnosis, when no one believe my symptoms were connected).

    Did it help me sleep? LOL, that is about all it did. I start taking it in June, I began sleeping ATLEAST 16 hours a day. I was often only up for 5 or 6 hours a day. Its hard to tell if it made me feel any better, I was awake long enough. Oh and those 5 or 6 hours I was awake for were not consecutive. I would sleep for about 12 hours, get up for a couple of hours, go back to sleep for a while, get up for another couple of hours and sleep 12 or more hours again. I tried to stick with it, because often these symptoms are temporary, but when September rolled around and school started up again, I had to go off of it.

    I had no withdrawal symptoms.

    I did not gain any weight.

    Now ask me about my experience with effexor and I'll tell you about withdrawal symptoms and weight gain. It's been years and I still can't get rid of that weight.
  10. HagerTX

    HagerTX New Member

    It was initially prescribed for me as an antidepressant.

    I took Lexapro and it initially made me sleepy within hours of the first dose. However a few days into it it wired me, just like most other SSRI's. Had some weight gain initially and I took it for ~8 weeks before I had a (suspected) neuro toxic reaction to Cipro.

    After the Cipro debacle, my biochemistry seemed to be altered and the side effects (from Lexapro and other meds)were somewhat different.

    All in all it didn't help me sleep, it actually gave me some insomnia and weird dreams.
  11. pepper

    pepper New Member

    Eddie, I really appreciate your opinion. I too wake up with that ball of tension in my stomach and it is with me all day long. And of course this intolerable insomnia! It sounds like Lexapro was the answer for you. Perhaps it will be for me too.

    Bren5, I find it interesting that you had to really work at tapering off the Lexapro. I was told that would not be an issue with this drug like it was for the Paxil I took for years. Obviously not so! You must respond well to the drug despite the weight gain. I am so glad that your son is back in the U.S.!

    Lil, I am glad to know that Lexapro is helping you. One more in favour! That is interesting that there is not much difference between 10 and 20 mg. My friend insists that I would be fine with 10 mg so maybe I would.

    Millennia, you certainly had a severe reaction to the Lexapro! Right now sleeping 16 hours a day sounds like a dream come true since I am lucky to get 1 hour in a row. However, I am sure that must not have been a fun way to live. I will count your vote as "against"!

    HagerTX, it seems that you had a paradoxical reaction to the Lexapro after it initially helping you. That would be something for me to keep in mind since I have often experienced paradoxical reactions too. Insomnia and bad dreams - not what I expected. I have also had a very bad reaction to Cipro. I felt sooo toxic on it.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, everyone. This will help me make my decision whether or not to take the plunge into Lexapro!


  12. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member

    one more quick thing re: lexapro withdrawal. everyone's different and the dose matters of course, but i was actually on a 2 week vacation to puerto rico when i decided to go off the lexapro and there was really only one day where i felt any ill effects (i had to climb several flights of stairs in my hotel and had this horrible vertigo and nauseous feeling). overall though, going off the lexapro didn't detract from my enjoyment of the vacation in the least. actually, it was probably the most memorable thing i did last year, in a good way :)

    ok, no more plugging lexy. i'll pipe down now ;)


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