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Does Lexapro Make You Tired?

Katelyn Hagerty

Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Last updated 7/24/2022

Mental disorders, like generalized anxiety disorder, along with mood disorders such as depression are among some of the most common health issues affecting people.

Depression affected at least 21 million adults in the U.S. in 2020, respectively.Anxiety disorders are very common too, affecting approximately 40 million American adults in any given year.

Fortunately, there are ways to treat depression and anxiety, one of which includes medication prescribed by a healthcare provider. One of which is Lexapro®.

Like other antidepressant medications, Lexapro does come with side effects. Learning about the side effects of antidepressant drugs can help you decide if it’s the right treatment for you.

You may be wondering, though: does Lexapro make you tired?

Here’s an overview of Lexapro and its common side effects, as well as possible adverse effects. We’ll also discuss whether Lexapro can make you tired or if it causes fatigue or drowsiness.

What Is Lexapro?

Lexapro is a prescription drug used to primarily treat major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Some other conditions Lexapro may be prescribed “off-label” to treat include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and some eating disorders.

Also known under the generic name escitalopram oxalate, Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

SSRIs work by blocking serotonin reabsorption by your brain, thereby increasing the amount of serotonin, which influences mood, sleep and emotion — all three of which can be influenced by the symptoms of depression.

Our guide to SSRI Drugs goes more in-depth about how these medications treat mood disorders like depression.

Side Effects of Lexapro

Lexapro does come with side effects, but not everyone may experience them. Having an idea of what to expect can help you prepare while your body adjusts to a new medication.

The most common side effects of Lexapro include:

  • Insomnia or trouble sleeping

  • Nausea

  • Sweating

  • Fatigue

  • Sexual side effects such as inability to reach orgasm or decreased libido

  • Weakness

  • Loss of appetite

  • Dry mouth

  • Yawning

  • Weight loss or gain

Generally, you’re more likely to experience side effects if you’re prescribed a higher dosage. If side effects become more serious, seek medical advice from your healthcare provider.

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Risks of Lexapro

There is the possibility of more harmful adverse effects when taking Lexapro.

Taking Lexapro with other drugs can also increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a life-threatening condition, as well as other serious side effects. These drugs include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), triptans, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, buspirone, amphetamines, St. John's wort and others. 

Tell your healthcare provider about all medications you’re on before starting any new prescription drug. 

Don’t abruptly discontinue taking Lexapro as this can cause withdrawal symptoms such as mood problems, agitation, anxiety, confusion and other serious symptoms (like serotonin syndrome). 

Your healthcare provider can help you slowly taper your dosage over time before stopping Lexapro altogether to minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Our guide to Lexapro Side Effects goes into more detail about some of the potential adverse effects, risks and more you may encounter while taking Lexapro. 

Although it can cause fatigue or insomnia, can Lexapro make you tired? And does Lexapro fatigue go away?

Does Lexapro Make You Tired?

SSRIs offer less risk of experiencing side effects than other antidepressant medications and are typically better tolerated. Some studies have even shown that fewer patients stop the use of SSRIs than other antidepressants like MAOIs and tricyclic antidepressants.

That said, SSRIs aren’t completely without side effects, Lexapro included. Some general side effects of SSRIs include insomnia, digestive distress, pain in joints and muscles, reduced interest in sex and reduced overall sexual satisfaction.

Long-term use of SSRIs may result in adverse effects like sexual dysfunction, weight gain and sleep disturbance.

So, can Lexapro make you tired?

Drowsiness and fatigue are two of the more common side effects of Lexapro. These certainly can affect someone’s energy levels and result in tiredness.

Why does Lexapro make you tired?

SSRIs like Lexapro work primarily with the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is involved in wakefulness and sleep onset. It’s also required to produce melatonin, the main hormone involved in sleep.

Because of the connection between serotonin and sleep, an SSRI like Lexapro will affect your sleep or energy levels either making you more alert or drowsier and feeling fatigued during the day.

But does Lexapro fatigue go away?

Eventually, yes. Many of Lexapro’s common side effects go away within one to two weeks as your body adjusts to the medication.

Some ways to reduce fatigue include:

  • Change your dose schedule. If you’re experiencing fatigue or drowsiness from Lexapro, try taking the medication before going to sleep so it doesn’t interfere with your day.

  • Catnap. You can take a quick daytime nap — you only need 20 minutes to feel refreshed and reenergized.

  • No drinking. Avoid alcohol or any sedative medications if you’re feeling particularly drowsy from Lexapro.

  • Work out. While exercising may be the last thing you want to do when dealing with Lexapro-induced fatigue, getting some light movement in can help fight fatigue. A 2008 study found that low-intensity exercise could reduce fatigue by as much as 65 percent.

  • Wait it out. Your best bet for fighting fatigue is to wait a couple of weeks for the side effect to subside while your body adjusts to the medication.

However, every medication can affect people differently. It’s important to pay attention to how the medication affects you and let your healthcare provider know of any new or longer-lasting symptoms. They may prescribe a different antidepressant.

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Final Thoughts on Lexapro and Treating Depression

If you’ve been experiencing depression symptoms, you may be prescribed the popular antidepressant Lexapro.

Lexapro typically has fewer side effects than other antidepressant medications.

Does Lexapro make you tired? A common side effect of Lexapro is drowsiness or fatigue. However, everyone experiences different side effects from medications.

Does Lexapro fatigue go away? If you’re experiencing fatigue while taking the medication, don’t worry. This typically will resolve itself within two weeks as you adjust to your prescribed dosage.

If any of the common side effects of Lexapro continue for more than a few weeks or if you develop more serious side effects, you can seek out an evaluation and work with therapists or healthcare providers to find the right treatment from our online services.

10 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. NIMH » Major Depression. (n.d.). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression |
  2. Facts & Statistics. (2021, September 19). Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics |
  3. Escitalopram (Lexapro). (n.d.). NAMI. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Treatments/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Escitalopram-(Lexapro) |
  4. Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate). (n.d.). Accessdata.fda.gov. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/021323s047lbl.pdf |
  5. Ferguson J. M. (2001). SSRI Antidepressant Medications: Adverse Effects and Tolerability. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry, 3(1), 22–27. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181155/ |
  6. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2022, April 1). National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/patient-caregiver-education/brain-basics-understanding-sleep |
  7. Watson, C. J., Baghdoyan, H. A., & Lydic, R. (2010). Neuropharmacology of Sleep and Wakefulness. Sleep medicine clinics, 5(4), 513–528. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3026477/ |
  8. Milner, C. E., & Cote, K. A. (2009, May 19). Benefits of napping in healthy adults: impact of nap length, time of day, age, and experience with napping. Wiley Online Library. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2869.2008.00718.x |
  9. Puetz, T. W., Flowers, S. S., & O'Connor, P. J. (2008). A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 77(3), 167–174. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18277063/ |
  10. Napping: Do's and don'ts for healthy adults. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

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