Lexapro vs Prozac – Comparison of Uses & Side Effects

Lexapro

It is the brand name of a drug called escitalopram, that belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Mechanism of Action

This medication works by increasing the levels of serotonin, a monoamine neurotransmitter in the human brain that helps maintain mental balance in sufferers with depression or anxiety.

Uses

It is approved for the treatment of depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

This medication is currently produced by the Forest Laboratories, an American pharmaceutical company. It was first approved by the US FDA in 2002.

Alcohol

Most patients should not consume alcoholic beverages during treatment with this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor since alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.

Dosage

The usual recommended dose is 10 mg once per day.

Note – children younger than 12 should not take this medication.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • decreased sex drive;
  • excessive sweating;
  • feeling shaky or anxious;
  • drowsiness;
  • constipation;
  • nausea;
  • difficulty having an orgasm;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • weight changes;
  • yawning;
  • loss of appetite;
  • impotence;
  • dizziness;
  • dry mouth.

Less common side effects may include:

  • seeing halos around lights;
  • high fever;
  • slurred speech;
  • feelings of extreme happiness or sadness;
  • a feeling like you might pass out;
  • eye pain or swelling;
  • severe weakness;
  • tunnel vision;
  • unusual risk-taking behavior;
  • fast or uneven heartbeats;
  • feeling unsteady;
  • very stiff muscles;
  • vomiting;
  • headaches;
  • tremors;
  • loss of coordination;
  • racing thoughts;
  • blurred vision.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Using this medication during pregnancy may be the right option only if the benefits outweigh the risks to the unborn baby.

This medication passes into breast milk, therefore, contact your doctor before using it if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Drug Interactions

This selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor may negatively interact with other drugs, particularly:

  • a blood thinner, like – Coumadin or Jantoven;
  • ADHD medication, like – Adderall or Concerta;
  • medicines to treat mood disorders, anxiety, or mental illness;
  • migraine headache medicines, like – rizatriptan or sumatriptan;
  • lithium;
  • any other antidepressants;
  • narcotic pain drugs, like – fentanyl or tramadol;
  • tryptophan (also referred as L-tryptophan).

Contraindications

To make sure that this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have or ever had:

  • high blood pressure;
  • suicidal thoughts;
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression);
  • a bleeding disorder;
  • heart disease;
  • a stroke;
  • kidney disease;
  • low levels of sodium in the blood;
  • drug addiction;
  • liver disease;
  • seizures;
  • blood clotting disorder.

Prozac

It is the brand name of a medication called fluoxetine, that belongs to a group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Mechanism of Action

It works by changing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that affect the mood.

This medication is produced by the Eli Lilly and Company, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis. It was originally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1987.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

Do not start taking this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor during pregnancy without your healthcare professional’s advice since using this medication during pregnancy may cause lung problems or other complications in the developing fetus.

It can pass into breast milk and may negatively affect a nursing infant. Do not breastfeed a baby while using this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

Uses

This prescription medicine is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia, depression, and panic disorder.

Drug Interactions

It may negatively interact with other medications, especially:

  • Ativan (lorazepam);
  • ibuprofen;
  • Synthroid (levothyroxine);
  • Abilify (aripiprazole);
  • clonazepam;
  • Lamictal (lamotrigine);
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine);
  • Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine);
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine);
  • lisinopril;
  • Xanax (alprazolam);
  • Ambien (zolpidem);
  • Zoloft (sertraline);
  • melatonin;
  • Wellbutrin (bupropion);
  • omeprazole;
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen);
  • BuSpar (buspirone);
  • Seroquel (quetiapine);
  • tramadol;
  • Vivelle-Dot;
  • levothyroxine;
  • Topamax (topiramate);
  • Klonopin (clonazepam);
  • Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine).

Dosage

Note – it may take up to 4 weeks before your symptoms improve. It is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

The usual initial recommended dose is 20 mg per day orally in the morning. The maximum recommended dose is 80 mg per day.

Contraindications

Before taking this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, tell your healthcare provider if you have:

  • diabetes;
  • narrow-angle glaucoma;
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression);
  • cirrhosis of the liver;
  • if you are being treated with electroconvulsive therapy;
  • seizures or epilepsy;
  • a history of drug abuse;
  • kidney disease.

Side Effects and Precautions

Common side effects may include:

  • feeling anxious or nervous;
  • tired feeling;
  • changes in appetite;
  • strange dreams;
  • sweating;
  • yawning;
  • diarrhea;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • loss of appetite;
  • vision changes;
  • upset stomach;
  • hot flashes;
  • sinus pain;
  • headaches;
  • decreased sex drive;
  • difficulty having an orgasm;
  • a sore throat;
  • nausea.

Less common side effects may include:

  • hallucinations;
  • feeling unsteady;
  • swelling in your face or tongue;
  • seeing halos around lights;
  • severe weakness;
  • very stiff muscles;
  • fast or uneven heartbeats;
  • eye pain or swelling;
  • overactive reflexes;
  • a red or purple skin rash that spreads and causes blistering;
  • loss of coordination;
  • burning in your eyes;
  • blurred vision.

Alcohol

Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor since alcohol use can substantially increase the risk of severe side effects.

Bottom Line – Lexapro vs Prozac

Lexapro (active ingredient – escitalopram) belongs to a group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This drug is prescribed for the acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder in adult patients.

Prozac (active ingredient – fluoxetine) is a medication that is used to treat depression, panic disorder, binge eating disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It belongs to a group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. This drug works by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.

In conclusion, both medications have a similar mechanism of action and are part of a group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, however, Lexapro is the most potent SSRI.

In addition, Lexapro’s half-life is 27 to 32 hours. This means that if you took a single dose of 20 mg, within 27 to 32 hours that original dose would be halved to 10 mg.

Prozac stays in the body for 25 days after you stop taking it and according to studies, more than 50 percent of the people taking it, start to respond by week 2, while over 75 percent start to respond by week 4.

Regarding their price, the average retail price for 30 tablets of Lexapro 10mg is $246, while the average retail price for 100 capsules of Prozac 10mg is $1,550.

References

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2470681
https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00027378
http://www.cochrane.org/CD004185/DEPRESSN_fluoxetine-compared-wit

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