Mar 21, 2023




What You Need To Know About The Alternatives to Lexapro

alternatives to lexapro

While Lexapro is one of the top antidepressants prescribed for depression and anxiety, it's not necessarily the right drug for everyone. Some may find it ineffective, while others might not be able to tolerate the side effects or experience worsening symptoms. 

Whatever the case, there are different medications and treatment options other than Lexapro. We put together this guide to provide an overview of these alternative treatments so that you can make an informed decision about which treatment plan is best for you. 

Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication.

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro (Escitalopram) is a prescription drug that belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class of medications. Lexapro helps regulate mood and anxiety by balancing the levels of serotonin in the body.

While Lexapro is FDA-approved to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), it's often used "off-label" for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and certain eating disorders, like binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa. 

Side effects of Lexapro 

As with most antidepressants, some side effects may occur, especially when first taking it. These side effects include insomnia, nausea, dry mouth, sexual problems, and fatigue. 

Though rare, severe side effects are also possible. You should see your doctor as soon as possible if you experience unexplained weight loss, weight gain, or changes to your menstrual cycle. 

Call 911 or seek medical attention right away if have any of the following side effects:

  • Suicidal thoughts or actions 

  • Severe allergic reaction (wheezing, trouble breathing, swelling of the face, tongue, and throat, itching, blisters on the skin, rashes, or hives)

  • Abnormal bleeding 

  • Manic or hypomanic episodes

  • Serotonin syndrome

Alternative options to Lexapro

Other medication options 

Several other antidepressants are available to treat anxiety and depression. These prescription medications include other SSRIs, Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), and Atypical antidepressants. 

Sometimes only one type may be needed to work. Other times, a combination of medicines may be a better option.

Other SSRIs commonly prescribed include:

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs):

Atypical antidepressants:

Therapy options 

Often combining an antidepressant with therapy is more effective than taking medication alone. Psychotherapy, known as talk therapy, is used to treat various mental health issues. 

Commonly used types of Psychotherapy for depression include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

  • Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) 

  • Psychodynamic therapy (psychoanalytic therapy)

  • Interpersonal therapy

It's important to remember the right type of therapy will differ from person to person. Consult your healthcare provider for recommendations if you need help deciding where to start. 

Switching from Lexapro to an alternative medication 

Withdrawal symptoms can be severe, especially if you stop abruptly. Never stop taking Lexapro without consulting your healthcare provider, as they can help you slowly taper down to minimize any adverse reactions. 

While the risk of complications is reduced when gradually decreasing Lexapro and with clinical oversight, you still may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Trouble concentrating 

  • Depersonalization

  • Irritability

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Appetite changes

  • Dizziness 

  • Confusion

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Trouble sleeping 

Reach out to your doctor if you are tapering down and experiencing any of these. 

Final thoughts

Lexapro is a common medication used for the treatment of depression and anxiety. Sometimes adding in therapy can make it much more effective. However, it's not for everyone. 

With the guidance of your doctor, exploring other medications and therapy options is the best way to find the best alternative for your mental health needs. 

At CareCard, we are passionate about helping make your prescription payments more affordable, saving members up to 85% on prescription drugs and medications. You can search for antidepressant medication coupons here and learn how CareCard can help make your medication payments more manageable.


Can I switch from Lexapro to another antidepressant without experiencing withdrawal symptoms?

It's crucial to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your medication. Abruptly stopping Lexapro can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor can guide a gradual tapering to minimize adverse reactions.

Are there other SSRIs similar to Lexapro that I can consider?

Yes, several other SSRIs, such as Celexa (Citalopram), Prozac (Fluoxetine), Pexeva (Paroxetine Mesylate), Paxil (Paroxetine Hydrochloride), and Zoloft (Sertraline), are commonly prescribed alternatives to Lexapro.

What therapy options can complement antidepressant medications?

Combining antidepressant medications with therapy often enhances effectiveness. Common types of psychotherapy for depression include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Psychodynamic therapy.

How do I know which alternative medication or therapy is right for me?

The right alternative treatment varies from person to person. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations based on your specific mental health needs and medical history.

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