Does Lexapro-induced headache go away? 

Does Lexapro-induced headache go away? 

Lexapro-induced headaches usually go away within a few weeks of your treatment. This is one of the common early side effects of Lexapro and other antidepressants. 

It’s probably because of the increased excitatory activity in your brain that your body takes some time to adjust to. Once you are adjusted to the medication, these headaches go away on their own. 

What does research suggest?

Research suggests that headaches can be a potential side effect of taking Lexapro (escitalopram), although it may not affect everyone. The incidence of Lexapro-induced headaches varies from person to person, and some individuals may experience this side effect more frequently than others.

The exact mechanism responsible for Lexapro-induced headaches is not fully understood. However, it is believed that the medication’s impact on serotonin levels in the brain may contribute to this side effect (1,2). 

Lexapro works by increasing the availability of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation. Changes in serotonin levels can sometimes affect blood vessels in the brain, leading to headaches.

One research study examined the association between second-generation antidepressant medications (specifically SSRIs and SNRIs) and the risk of headaches. The results showed that SSRIs were associated with a slightly increased risk of headaches compared to placebo (3). 

However, some other antidepressants that affect the levels of other neurotransmitters – dopamine and norepinephrine – can also cause headaches, like Wellbutrin

What to do to get rid of Lexapro-induced headaches? 

You can take OTC painkillers like Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Paracetamol, etc to relieve your Lexapro-induced headache. Paracetamol is the safest choice as it’s not associated with gastrointestinal side effects like NSAIDs. 

However, NSAIDs work quite well in reducing headaches. You can try and take one in between your meals to help mitigate the gastrointestinal side effects. However, it’s best to talk to your doctor about the headaches if they get too uncomfortable. 

Some tips for managing headaches

Some important tips that can help you with your headache include:

  • Rest in a quiet and dark environment.
  • Apply a cold or warm compress to the affected area.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid triggers such as certain foods, strong odours, or loud noises.
  • Apply gentle pressure or massage to the temples or the base of the skull.
  • Practice good posture and avoid slouching.
  • Get regular exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Keep a headache diary to identify patterns or triggers.

Final words

To sum up, Lexapro can cause headaches. However, it is important to note that not everyone who takes Lexapro will experience headaches, and the severity and frequency of headaches can vary. 

If you are experiencing headaches while taking Lexapro, it is advisable to discuss this side effect with your healthcare provider. They can determine the best course of action, such as adjusting the dosage, trying different medications, or incorporating lifestyle changes to alleviate the symptoms.

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Landy K, Rosani A, Estevez R. Escitalopram. 2022 Oct 24. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 32491666.


PubChem [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2004-. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 146570, Escitalopram; [cited 2023 July 4]. Available from:


Telang S, Walton C, Olten B, Bloch MH. Meta-analysis: Second-generation antidepressants and headache. J Affect Disord. 2018 Aug 15;236:60-68. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.04.047. Epub 2018 Apr 9. PMID: 29715610.

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