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I. Lexapro Fact File

Lexapro was manufactured by Forest Pharmaceuticals.

Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri is a wholly owned subsidiary of Forest Laboratories, Inc. The parent company is headquartered in New York City and publicly traded on the NYSE, under the trading symbol "FRX".

Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. manufactures, sells, and distributes both branded and generic forms of ethical products, which require a physician's prescription, as well as non-prescription pharmaceutical products sold over-the-counter, which are used for the treatment of a wide range of illnesses.

II. Lexapro Medication

Lexapro medication is an antidepressant and belongs to the class of medications known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Lexapro medication offers some advantages in increasing the supply of serotonin in the brain that has resulted in a more powerful, yet better-tolerated, medication for the treatment of depression and GAD.

The symptoms of depression and anxiety are believed to be caused by an imbalance in the brain of serotonin, a chemical that affects mood.

Lexapro medication is unique in that its development depended on a new technique to isolate the therapeutically active molecule (known as an isomer) of the drug Celexa (citalopram HBr). This has provided Lexapro medication with treatment benefits beyond Celexa.

Lexapro medication appears to work by increasing the available supply of serotonin. Here's how:

  • The naturally occurring chemical serotonin is sent from one nerve cell to the next.
  • The nerve cell picks up the serotonin and sends some of it back to the first nerve cell, similar to a conversation between two people.
  • In people with depression and anxiety, there is an imbalance of serotonin-too much serotonin is reabsorbed by the first nerve cell, so the next cell does not have enough; as in a conversation, one person might do all the talking and the other person does not get to comment, leading to a communication imbalance.
  • Lexapro medication blocks the serotonin from going back into the first nerve cell. This increases the amount of serotonin available for the next nerve cell, like a conversation moderator.
  • The blocking action helps balance the supply of serotonin, and communication returns to normal. In this way, Generic Lexapro improves symptoms of depression.
  • Because Lexapro appears to relieve depression by increasing serotonin levels with minimal effect on many of the other chemicals in the brain, it may cause relatively few and mild side effects, which generally tend to go away with continued treatment.

Antidepressants: Information

Antidepressants are drugs that relieve the symptoms of depression. They were first developed in the 1950s and have been used regularly since then. There are
almost thirty different kinds of antidepressants available today and there are three main types:

  • Tricyclics
  • MAOIs (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors)
  • SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
  • SNRIs (Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors)

Antidepressants work by altering the way in which certain chemicals work in our brains. These chemicals are made by our body and are called neuro-transmitters. They pass signals from one brain cell to another. In depression, some of the neurotransmitter systems, particularly those of Serotonin and Noradrenaline, do not seem to be working properly. We think that antidepressants work by increasing the activity of these chemicals in our brains.

After 3 months of treatment, the proportions of people with depression who will be much improved are 50% and 65% if given an antidepressant compared with 25 - 30% if given an inactive "dummy" pill, or placebo.

The older tablets (Tricyclics) are just as effective as the newer ones (SSRIs) but, on the whole, the newer ones seem to have fewer side effects. A major advantage for the newer tablets is that they are not so dangerous if someone takes an overdose.

Depression: Information

Clinical depression is a common, yet serious, illness that affects more than 19 million Americans each year.

Unfortunately, only one-third of sufferers seek treatment even though the illness can be effectively treated in 80 percent of all cases. Although depression is a real medical illness, many people still mistakenly believe it is a personal weakness.

Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms of clinical depression can vary from person to person. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and the causes of depression can often be complex.

If you have been experiencing five (5) or more of the below symptoms for more than two (2) weeks, if suicide is a serious concern, or if the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with a daily routine -- see your doctor or qualified mental health professional.

  • Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
  • Sleeping too much or too little; middle-of-night or early-morning waking
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment (such as chronic pain or digestive disorders)
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Causes of Depression

For some people, a combination of many factors may be causing clinical depression. For others, a single factor may be triggering the illness. Depression often is related to the following.

  • Imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters -
    Changes in these brain chemicals may cause or contribute to clinical depression.
  • Certain diseases or illnesses -
    Ailments such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and hormonal disorders can often trigger clinical depression. This is referred to as co-occurring depression.
  • Negative thinking patterns -
    People who are pessimistic, have low self-esteem, worry excessively, or feel they have little control over life events are more likely to develop clinical depression.
  • Family history of depression -
    A genetic history of clinical depression can increase one's risk for developing the illness. But depression also occurs in people who have had no family members with depression.
  • Difficult life events -
    Events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, financial strains, history of trauma, moving to a new location or significant loss can contribute to the onset of clinical depression.
  • Certain medications -
    Some medication can actually cause clinical depression. Therefore, it is important that people inform their doctors of all medications they are taking and report any depressive symptoms.
  • Frequent and excessive alcohol consumption -
    Drinking large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can sometimes lead to clinical depression. Excessive alcohol consumption is also sometimes a symptom of depression.

Side effects of Antidepressants

Tricyclics

These commonly cause a dry mouth, a slight tremor, fast heartbeat, constipation, sleepiness, and weight gain.

Particularly in older people, they may cause confusion, slowness in starting and stopping when passing water, faintness through low blood pressure, and falls. If you have heart trouble, it may be best not to take one of this group of antidepressants. Men may experience difficulty in getting or keeping an erection, or delayed ejaculation. Tricyclic antidepressants are dangerous in overdose.

SSRIs

During the first couple of weeks of taking them, you may feel sick and more anxious. Some of these tablets can produce nasty indigestion, but you can usually stop this by taking them with food. More seriously, they may interfere with your sexual function. There have been reports of episodes of aggression, although these are rare.

Most people get a small number of mild side-effects (if any). The side effects usually wear off over a couple of weeks as your body gets used to the medication. It is important to have this whole list, though, so you can recognize side effects if they happen. You can then talk them over with your doctor.

The more serious side effects are problems with urinating, difficulty in remembering, falls, confusion - are uncommon in healthy, younger or middle-aged people. It is common, if you are depressed, to think of harming or killing yourself. Tell your doctor - suicidal thoughts will pass once the depression starts to lift.

SNRIs

The side effects are very similar to the SSRIs, but, Effexor (Venlafaxine) is not recommended for people who have heart problems, high blood pressure or problems with the salt levels in their blood. They can be helpful if other antidepressants have failed but they should only be prescribed by doctors with special experience in mental health.

MAOIs

This type of antidepressant is rarely prescribed these days. MAOIs can give you a dangerously high blood pressure if you eat foods containing a substance called Tyramine. If you agree to take an MAOI antidepressant your doctor will give you a list of foods to avoid.

Uses of Antidepressants

  • Moderate to severe depressive illness (Not mild depression)
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder.

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