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How Long Do You Need to Take Lexapro?

By Serena Spinello ; Updated July 27, 2017

Lexapro is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) used to treat psychological disorders such as depression and generalized anxiety. It works to prevent the reabsorption of the neurotransmitter serotonin; it can be adequately distributed and fasten to the nerve receptors. Lexapro does not provide immediate relief, and it may take several weeks before you experience symptomatic relief.


Psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety can be chronic and may entail continuous medication treatment. A person who has a reoccurring/chronic mental illness is likely to be on Lexapro for an extended period of time.


Individuals who experience depression for the first time, or have a single episode, may take Lexapro for 6 months to a year.


In the case of the above, the prescribing doctor (and patient) would evaluate the patient's symptoms after that time period and consider decreasing the Lexapro dosage. After the usage of the medication has tapered, the patient may not have to take it any longer if he remains symptom-free.


In these instances, the precise time varies according to the severity and duration of the depressive/anxiety episode. Patients who are put on Lexapro temporarily check in with their doctors often to ensure they don't experience relapses.


For those with a chronic condition, Lexapro is used as a therapeutic measure to keep symptoms at bay; even in the event that a person is symptom-free, he may be asked to stay on the regimen, as Lexapro is not a cure for mental illness.


As cited by the Lexapro Website, when it comes to patients who've successfully responded to the medication, maintaining treatment with Lexapro is critical in order to prevent the symptoms from returning. In order for Lexapro to work, it needs to be present in the body for a continual period of time; thus patients are advised to take it at the same time daily. Always consult a doctor, prior to changing or altering your dosage in any way.

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