OverviewDosageSide EffectsInteractionsHalf-Life

Physicians most commonly prescribe Lexapro (escitalopram) to treat anxiety and depression, particularly related to the mental health disorders, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

In some cases, however, physicians can prescribe Lexapro to treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder characterized by prolonged, excessive thoughts that result in compulsive behaviors.


Lexapro doses for OCD may vary, depending on the individual’s symptoms, health history and sensitivity to side effects.

The FDA does not specifically outline exact Lexapro dosage for OCD cases, so it is critical to talk with your doctor about taking Lexapro for OCD, including any prior medications you have taken for symptoms. Your doctor may recommend seeing an OCD specialist or a psychiatrist to best determine if Lexapro is right for you.

Is Lexapro used to treat OCD?

One 2014 study concluded that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are more effective in treating OCD in high doses, which typically exceed the doses recommended to treat Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The study noted a 40mg dose of escitalopram (Lexapro) is often “needed” to treat OCD symptoms. This is different from doses for MDD, where higher doses, the study states, often result in higher side effects.

The same study also found that OCD patients treated with Lexapro—or a different SSRI—may take longer to adjust to the medicine, as well as require longer treatment with it.

For more in-depth information about Lexapro dosage, please visit our dosage page.

Side Effects

Just like with any medication, side effects of taking Lexapro will differ for everyone. Side effects of taking Lexapro include but are not limited to:

  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Change in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Sexual problems
  • Dry mouth

If you experience any of the following side effects of taking Lexapro, call your doctor or 911 immediately:

  • An increase in suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Aggressive/violent behavior
  • New or worse depression, anxiety and/or anxiety/panic attacks
  • Acting on dangerous impulses.

For more in-depth information about Lexapro side effects, please visit our side effects page.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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