Can You Take Nootropics With Lexapro?
October 30, 2023
As nootropics gain popularity, an increasing number of people are incorporating the best nootropics for anxiety into their daily routines. However, if you’re considering trying nootropics, it’s important to understand how they may interact with other substances or prescription medications you’re already using such as Lexapro.
If you’re considering taking nootropics with Lexapro, this guide provides information about the potential side effects of combining the two based on research so you can make an informed decision about your health.
Understanding Nootropics and Lexapro
Nootropics are known as cognitive enhancers that are believed to improve memory, motivation, intelligence, and creativity (1). Some users also report experiencing greater amounts of energy and elevated moods when taking a nootropic, which is why some believe nootropics can alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some examples of popular nootropics include caffeine, piracetam, and ginkgo biloba.
Lexapro is the brand name for escitalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is commonly prescribed to patients with depression or anxiety disorders (2, 3). SSRIs work by preventing the reuptake of serotonin by nerve cells, increasing serotonin levels in the brain. This can alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety and regulate a person’s mood.
While Lexapro is an FDA-approved drug for patients with anxiety and depression, it’s important to note that nootropics are not and their effects have not yet been officially established by western scientific research (4).
How Nootropics and Lexapro Interact
Lexapro can interact with other substances, including nootropics, which may bring about unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. Unfortunately, there is not enough research on the specific effects of combining Lexapro with nootropics.
However, general research on combining nootropics with antidepressants points to these key findings (5):
- Expert consultation: Antidepressants like Lexapro may interact with nootropics when taken simultaneously, which can influence the overall safety and efficacy of the two substances. It’s always essential to consult with a healthcare professional about combining antidepressants with cognitive enhancers like nootropics in order to ensure positive effects.
- Side effects: Lexapro and nootropics each have their own side effects, and combining the two may lead to increased severity of overlapping side effects such as headaches, drowsiness, insomnia, or gastrointestinal issues (6). For example, one study found that combining the nootropic ginkgo biloba with an antidepressant increases the risk of bleeding due to the supplement’s blood-thinning properties (7).
- Type of nootropic: The specific type of nootropic you take may also affect how it interacts with antidepressants like Lexapro. Some studies have found that certain nootropics are less likely to interact with antidepressant medications (8). Therefore, nootropics like L-theanine, rhodiola rosea, and bacopa monnieri may be safer because they have a lower risk of interactions. However, further research is necessary to confirm that the combination is safe for consumption.
- Serotonin syndrome: One possible consequence of the interaction between nootropics and antidepressants such as Lexapro is the development of serotonin syndrome (9). Serotonin syndrome is caused by an excess accumulation of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the body, leading to symptoms such as rapid heart rate, agitation, confusion, and high body temperature–it can be a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Serotonin syndrome is most commonly caused by combining SSRIs with serotonergic compounds; therefore, combining Lexapro with a serotonin-boosting nootropic like L-tryptophan may cause dangerous side effects (10).
Because the risks associated with their combined use are not fully understood, nootropics and Lexapro should be combined cautiously or not at all.
If you’re considering combining a nootropic with Lexapro, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider first. They can offer personalized advice based on your specific circumstances and medical history.
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