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  • Lexapro Half Life | How Long Does Lexapro Stay In Your System?

    generic clock - Lexapro Half Life | How Long Does Lexapro Stay In Your System?

    Lexapro can stay in your system for about one week after the last dose. The amount of time Lexapro stays in your system can be affected by age, liver and kidney problems, and how often you take Lexapro.

    Lexapro is a brand name medication with a primary active ingredient of escitalopram. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), an antidepressant medication that increases serotonin levels in the body.

    Lexapro may be taken consistently to reduce symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder. If you stop taking Lexapro abruptly, you may experience antidepressant discontinuation syndrome as the drug leaves your system.

    Lexapro Half-Life

    Half-life is the amount of time it takes for a drug to decrease to half of its peak concentration. After about 5 half-life cycles, most drugs are virtually eliminated from the bloodstream. The half-life of Lexapro is about 27 to 33 hours.

    After about 135 to 165 hours, or approximately 6 to 7 days, Lexapro may be virtually eliminated from the bloodstream. Lexapro can work during this time by increasing serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can regulate mood, cognition, and reward.

    Each dose of Lexapro may be taken consistently to see improvements in your major depressive disorder. 

    It may take about 7 to 10 days of daily doses to reach consistent concentrations of Lexapro in the bloodstream. You may experience side effects of Lexapro, such as drowsiness and mood swings, during this time.

    Factors That Affect Lexapro Metabolism

    Natural and medical conditions can affect your body’s ability to metabolize, or break down Lexapro. Older patients may take longer to eliminate the drug from their body compared to younger patients.

    Medications such as cimetidine and Celexa (citalopram) can affect Lexapro metabolism. Your healthcare professional may not prescribe Lexapro if you are taking these medications.

    Patients with existing liver or kidney problems may take longer to break down Lexapro. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have a family or medical history of these problems. Your doctor can help you decide whether Lexapro is right for you.

    Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome

    After you reach consistent Lexapro levels in your bloodstream, stopping use of the drug may not be recommended. 

    You may experience antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, a condition similar to withdrawal symptoms. Your depression may worsen, and serious side effects such as suicidal thoughts have been reported.

    Following a tapering schedule, or gradual weaning of Lexapro use, can be safer than quitting cold turkey. A tapering schedule can be useful for other forms of detox and addiction treatment, which can be given to patients struggling with both mental health problems and drug addiction.

    To find out if our drug addiction and mental health treatment options are right for you or your loved one, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    American Family Physician - Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome
    Clinical Pharmacokinetics - The clinical pharmacokinetics of escitalopram
    Food and Drug Administration - Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate)

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on November 14, 2022
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