Can Lexapro cause acid reflux? 

Can Lexapro cause acid reflux? 

Lexapro can cause acid reflux in some people as an early side effect. Although it is not quite common with Lexapro as compared to other SSRIs, it is a possibility – in fact, a lot of other gastrointestinal side effects are. 

Acid reflux is usually coupled with abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating, nausea, and indigestion. These side effects are quite common in people who are new to Lexapro or antidepressants in general. 

However, early side effects of Lexapro begin to subside within a few weeks of your treatment. Lexapro tablets are generally safe for people with gluten allergies and can be taken by people who prefer veganism.

What does research suggest?

Several research studies have indicated that acid reflux is one of the most commonly reported gastrointestinal side effects of Lexapro and other SSRIs. Generally, Lexapro is considered the safest SSRI, but it can trigger severe acid reflux in some people.

One meta-analysis indicated that Lexapro is one of the least tolerated SSRIs in terms of GI side effects and this could be a reason for Lexapro discontinuation (1). 

However, studies also tell us that these side effects don’t really stay for long and are more common in people who are new to antidepressant treatment. Once the body starts to adjust to the med, it eventually stops affecting the stomach. 

Additionally, Lexapro may worsen gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, it may help with GERD in some cases.

How to control Lexapro-induced acid reflux? 

There are a few ways through which you can manage acid reflux caused by Lexapro. These include:

OTC acid reducers 

You can take over-the-counter acid reducers to help control the excess acid production in your stomach. Common acid reducers are (2):

  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Examples include Omeprazole, Esomeprazole, Pantoprazole, etc. 
  • H2 receptor antagonists. Examples include Cimetidine, Famotidine, etc. 
  • Antacids. Examples include Milk of Magnesia, Gaviscon, Pepto-Bismol, etc. 

Don’t take Lexapro on an empty stomach 

If Lexapro causes acid reflux, try taking this medication with food. This way, the food will act as a barrier and protect the lining of your stomach from excessive acid production. 

Although you can take Lexapro on an empty stomach, taking it this way can expose the lining of your stomach to the medication. Taking it with food will surely help mitigate acid reflux. 

Avoid spicy foods

It’s best to avoid spicy foods or any food that triggers acid reflux. Highly spicy foods are known to irritate your stomach and increase acid production in your stomach in general. 

Pairing such foods with an antidepressant that causes acid reflux as a side effect, your symptoms can significantly get worse. This is why it’s best to avoid spicy foods while you’re struggling with Lexapro-induced acid reflux. 

Limit the use of alcohol and caffeine

It’s best to cut back on alcohol and caffeine while you’re being treated with Lexapro. Caffeine and alcohol are both heavy on your stomach and increase gastric acid production. 

This can increase the intensity of acid reflux caused by Lexapro. Alcohol and antidepressants are not a good pair generally and cause far worse side effects than acid reflux. 

Try Probiotics 

You can also try and add Probiotics to your diet to help enhance your digestion and overall gut functions. Probiotics are good bacteria, which are an important part of your gut health. 

These bacteria can get damaged as a result of high stomach acid and taking Probiotics can help deal with your symptoms. 

Avoid citrus juices and carbonated beverages 

Citrus fruits or juices in general can increase your stomach acid secretion. This is because all citrus fruits contain Ascorbic acid, which has amazing health benefits, but it can cause acid reflux when taken in higher quantities. 

This is why it’s best to limit the intake of citrus juices while taking Lexapro. Carbonated beverages, on the other hand, can also increase stomach acidity and cause gastrointestinal side effects in general. 

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Oliva V, Lippi M, Paci R, Del Fabro L, Delvecchio G, Brambilla P, De Ronchi D, Fanelli G, Serretti A. Gastrointestinal side effects associated with antidepressant treatments in patients with major depressive disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2021 Jul 13;109:110266. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2021.110266. Epub 2021 Feb 5. PMID: 33549697. Available from:


U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Heartburn Treatment. [Internet]. Silver Spring (MD): U.S. Food and Drug Administration; updated 2021 Nov 19 [cited 2023 Feb 4]. Available from:

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