Lexapro – What is it and Why are there Lawsuits?
April 6, 2018 | Pharmaceutical Litigation
Lexapro is a medication designed to reduce the symptoms and severity of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which is a type of depression and anxiety that occurs when day-to-day worries become overwhelming. It also aims to improve depression, which is caused by an imbalance of serotonin levels and helps regulate this hormone in the body and therefore calming the mind and restoring normal mental functions.
Unlike other Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft and Paxil, Lexapro (escitalopram) is approved for treating major depressive disorder in adolescents 12 or older, in addition to adults. It is also used for general anxiety disorder in adults. Doctors may even prescribe the dangerous drug to pregnant women suffering from mental disorders.
Studies show that women who take Lexapro and other SSRIs while pregnant have an increased chance of giving birth to a baby with a developmental disorder. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initially approved it, Lexapro was only to be used to treat adults. Later, the FDA approved it to treat depression in adolescents 12 or older.
The Common Lexapro Side Effects Most People Experience
Common side effects of Lexapro include:
- drowsiness and extreme sleepiness,
- dizziness and balance problems,
- sleep problems (insomnia),
- stomach and digestion issues,
- gas, bloating, indigestion,
- heartburn, GERD, and ulcers
- weight changes- gain or loss,
- dry mouth and dental problems,
- ringing in the ears,
- decreased sex drive,
- impotence and erectile dysfunction
Significant Adverse Risks
Patients prescribed Lexapro are at risk from normal SSRI side effects, most notably serotonin toxicity, often referred to as Serotonin Syndrome. Serotonin syndrome occurs when a person has too much serotonin in their system which causes a reaction that is potentially life-threatening. Patients are at particular risk from serotonin syndrome if they are prescribed Lexapro while taking several other drugs, most notably: other SSRIs, such as Prozac or Paxil, tryptamines and phenethylamines, most commonly found in hallucinogens such as LSD/LSA, DMT, MDMA, MDPV, and mescaline (found in peyote), Dextromethorphan (DMO) and Dextrorphan (DXO)–both are common cough suppressants.
If you are suffering from serotonin syndrome, do not hesitate to call your heath care provider or seek immediate medical care as it can be a very serious condition when left untreated! Common symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Circulatory problems and low oxygen levels
- Instability of heart rate, fluctuations, rapid or slow heartbeat
- Dramatic and sudden changes in mental state and focus
- Over responsive reflexes throughout the body
- Severe and persistent gastrointestinal discomfort
- Uncoordinated and awkward muscular movement or loss of mobility
- High blood pressure, serious spoking in blood pressure levels
“A second adverse reaction to Lexapro, also common to SSRIs in general, is SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome, often referred to SSRI withdrawal. As with most SSRIs, the withdrawal symptoms can be very broad, thus any patient who is stopping Lexapro treatment should consult with their doctor about SSRI withdrawal. Patients are furthermore encouraged to visit their doctor for regular checkups as soon as treatment is stopped and to continue with checkups until it is confirmed that the drug has fully exited their body” (Avvo).
Typical withdrawal symptoms are often seen to some degree and should be closely monitored by the health care providers for the weeks and even months following the ceased use of Lexapro to ensure full and safe withdrawal is achieved.
Lexapro Claims and Lawsuits
Lexapro was given a grade C by the Food and Drug Administration for its level of safety when used during pregnancy. Research shows that the drug had adverse effects on the reproduction of the animals being tested. Though the medication may be harmful to the fetus, the benefits of its usage may outweigh the risks therefore allowing approval for use in expecting mothers. Mothers of children born with birth defects have filed numerous lawsuits against Forest Labs for the injuries as well as the failure to alert users of these potential risks. In one case, in which three mothers filed Lexapro lawsuits, the mothers argue that if they had been aware of these potential side effects that they would not have taken the medication and would have chosen a safer alternative.
If you or a loved one has taken Lexapro and feel you have grounds for a lawsuit due to injuries sustained while taking the drug, reach out to us today and schedule your free consultation appointment with us!
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