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I had horrible side effects on Lexapro- worst panic attack…

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I had horrible side effects...
I had horrible side effects on Lexapro- worst panic attack of my life and insomnia for 24 hours. My body felt very jittery and wouldn't calm down. I am very sensitive to medication so I was on 2.5 mg for 3 days then took 5mg for two days- the reaction I had started on the second day. I am now prescribed Celexa but am afraid to take it because of what happened on Lexapro. Is it likely I will have the same reaction?
Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Mental Health
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I meant to say my reaction started the second day of taking the 5mg dose
Answered in 1 day by:
12/31/2017
Mental Health Professional: LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker replied 7 months ago
LeahMSWuofm
LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1,160
Experience: 10 years post-MSW experience
Verified
Hi, thank you for writing. I'm sorry to hear about your side effects from the Lexapro. It does sound like it was reasonable to consider switching to Celexa. It remains to be seen whether or not you will have some side effects from the Celexa. Often, side effects are unique to the specific medication and vary greatly person to person however, some side effects are pretty common across the group of SSRIs so there is a chance you will also experience some, maybe even different ones, with Celexa. However, it is not a guarantee and definitely worth trying the Celexa, starting at a low dose and working your way up slowly. I know this is a frustrating and scary process to initiate. Remember, the side effects of use almost always dissipate within 30 days as they are common as your body adjusts to the medication, but go away later in treatment. And, it is quite common to need some trial-and-error when it comes to finding the right medication for you with this class.
I hope this helps. I'm available if you have any other questions.
-Leah
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Should I start with 2.5 mg of celexa for a few days then work my way up?
Mental Health Professional: LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker replied 7 months ago

2.5mg is near 1/10 of the normal starting dose (which is 20mg) so I think that is probably an overkill on the low end. Starting at 10mg is reasonable, but if you want to be super cautious, you could try 5mg. The thing with starting so low is that it may take a while to get to a "therapeutic dose" that is actually serving its purpose of helping you with the symptoms you are having which got it prescribed in the first place. Celexa already will take 6-8 weeks t help with depression and closer to 4 weeks for anxiety.

So I'd say give 5mg a few days and then get up to 10mg and see how you are feeling. Ride out the 10mg for a week or two, if you have mild side effects. Try not to bump to a dose change if you are still having noticeable side effects(even at 5mg).

Also, because your reaction regarding acute anxiety was so big, you may be a good person to take a small dose of a benzodiazepine, like Xanax or Ativan, during the early phases of starting these drugs. This is a common strategy to combat the anxiety starting these meds sometimes causes. And it is low risk, as long as the dosing is low and the course is short. Longer curses and higher doses run the risk for dependence, but taking them for a short-time as needed is certainly a considerable option.

-Leah

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