9 Alternatives to Lexapro

Published on: 18 Oct 2023
Clinically Reviewed by Meaghan Rice PsyD., LPC
Alternatives to Lexapro

Lexapro (escitalopram) is an effective selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) commonly used to treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. For some people, this anxiety medication can also be effective in reducing symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social phobia.  

While all SSRIs generally work in a similar manner, not all drugs will have the same effect on everyone. If you’re looking for Lexapro alternatives — either because it’s not fully treating your anxiety symptoms or because you don’t like the side effects of Lexapro — there are several other medications to consider. There are also natural or holistic alternatives to Lexapro out there.

Continue reading to learn about potential Lexapro alternatives in managing or relieving symptoms related to your mental health condition. 

Alternative Medications to Lexapro

Lexapro is a popular choice for treating depression, but other options are available in the same class of drugs. Studies show that trying a new drug in the same family — for example, a different SSRI — can often be as effective as changing to an entirely different class of drugs.  Consulting your doctor is crucial when considering alternatives to Lexapro, as they can provide expert advice and ensure a safe transition between medications.

Additional SSRIs you might want to consider include:

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1. Paxil (paroxetine)

Paxil treats symptoms of depression, some anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions. In some people, Paxil can effectively relieve sadness and improve mood while reducing worry or anxiety. 

Paxil can be used for:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar depression
  • OCD in children
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Premenstrual syndrome

If you’re interested in learning more about this alternative, check out Paxil online.

2. Celexa (citalopram)

Celexa is another antidepressant medication that can be effective for treating depression. By altering serotonin levels in the brain, Celexa can help manage depression and is used off-label to treat several additional conditions.

Celexa can be used for:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Social phobia
  • Bulimia
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) 
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

You might consider seeking Celexa online if the benefits of Celexa vs. Lexapro appeal to you.

3. Zoloft (sertraline)

Zoloft is a well-known and popular SSRI antidepressant used to treat symptoms related to depression, anxiety, and other conditions. When comparing Lexapro vs. Zoloft, Zoloft works similarly by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain to stabilize mood and emotions. 

Zoloft can be used for:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa

Interested in exploring this medication? Talk to a psychiatrist about getting Zoloft online with a prescription.

4. Prozac (fluoxetine)

Prozac has been FDA-approved to treat several mental health conditions for years. Another type of SSRI, Prozac, can block serotonin reuptake to help balance levels. For many people, Prozac is highly effective in helping to increase energy and balance emotions. 

Prozac can be used for:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Bulimia
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) 
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

Want to learn more about how this medication works as an alternative to Lexapro? Discover our comparison of Prozac vs. Lexapro.

Alternatives to SSRIs to Replace Lexapro

There are other classes of drugs available if you’re looking for a Lexapro substitute. Talk to your doctor to find out if one of the following medications might be more beneficial in treating your symptoms. 

5. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

  • Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Effexor XR (venlafaxine)

6. Atypical antidepressants

  • Wellbutrin (bupropion)
  • Trazodone
  • Viibryd (vilazodone)
  • Trintellix

Natural Alternatives to Lexapro

Many people today are looking for holistic alternatives to drugs. Some Lexapro alternatives might be worth asking your doctor about if you want a natural component to your treatment plan. 

You might consider using one of the following — either in addition to medication or in hopes of having a completely holistic treatment plan — therapy, supplements, and lifestyle changes are all potential options. 

7. Talk therapy (psychotherapy)

Much research has been done on the efficacy of talk therapy (also known as psychotherapy). 

Multiple studies have found that talk therapy can significantly improve outcomes, and when combined with medication, the results tend to be far superior to what most people see if they use just therapy or medication. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely used and works by helping people identify and change unhealthy thoughts and behavior patterns that can negatively impact their lives. 

8. Herbal supplements

Herbal supplements have been used for thousands of years in some cultures to treat both physical and mental health. In recent years, it’s become more prevalent in Western medicine, and some supplements are believed to be highly effective in treating conditions like anxiety and depression. 

Some of the more common supplements that might be an effective alternative to Lexapro for anxiety or depression may include:

“Most commonly used OTC supplements are 5-hydroxytryptophan 5-HTP, St. John’s wort, and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). Note these have mixed results and responses and are not FDA-approved. Some may help with mild depressive symptoms but not severe clinical depression. Psychotherapy, alone or in combination with medications, is an effective treatment for depression, with a proven early response, remission, and long-lasting results.”

Talkspace psychiatrist Dr. Muhammad Munir

*NOTE: You should not replace a prescribed treatment plan with herbal supplements without first talking to your doctor or mental healthcare provider. Never stop taking medication without discussing an appropriate taper plan. More research is needed on using these natural remedies for anxiety and depression.

9. Lifestyle changes

Many people adopt healthy lifestyle changes to improve physical and mental health. 

When combined with medication and/or therapy, making simple changes in your routine can often be quite effective in overcoming numerous symptoms related to a mental health condition. 

Some people find they can reduce or eliminate the need for medication by adding healthy life choices and talking to their doctor. 

Lifestyle changes that can help you improve many aspects of your life include:

  • Working out is proven to increase endorphins and improve mood
  • Eating well can help your mind and body
  • Staying hydrated is essential 
  • Keeping a healthy sleep habit can enhance mood
  • Yoga helps with anxiety
  • Mindfulness meditation can calm your thoughts
  • Journaling was found in research to help manage depression and anxiety
  • Doing deep breathing work enables you to relax and reduces anxiety

Considerations for Switching to a Lexapro Alternative

Before you change your treatment plan — whether switching your medication, changing the dosage, or stopping the drug altogether, you must have a conversation with your doctor. They can help you understand the potential impact of any changes. They’ll also help you determine if you need to implement a taper schedule before reducing or eliminating any medication to avoid Lexapro withdrawal. There are many things to consider before you decide on alternatives to Lexapro for anxiety or any other condition. 

Your doctor or a mental health professional will review: 

  • Your health status today: You should go over your current health status with your doctor so they can determine which drive might be best for treating your symptoms. It will also be essential to review all the medications, both over-the-counter and prescription, that you currently take if you’re considering switching drugs. Your doctor will want to ensure that there won’t be any interactions.
  • Side effects of a new drug you might be considering: Before starting any new drug, you should review possible side effects you might experience with your doctor. While some are minor and just something to be aware of, many drugs can potentially cause severe to life-threatening side effects that you must know about.
  • Efficacy of new medications: Two people can respond very differently to the same drug. Thus, your doctor will share with you what to expect regarding the effectiveness of a new medication. They’ll tell you about short- and long-term side effects and how long it might take to feel relief. This way, you can assess how well a new drug is working.

“Poor or partial response to meds sometimes requires combination or switching drugs. When Lexapro needs to be switched, it’s done carefully to avoid serious withdrawal and side effects like headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, irritability, and agitation.”

Talkspace psychiatrist Dr. Muhammad Munir

Find the Right Alternative with Talkspace Psychiatry

Talkspace can help you navigate the sometimes challenging decision to seek out alternatives to medication. While that process might seem daunting, Talkspace providers can offer professional assistance in helping you manage your condition and symptoms with the best treatment plan possible.

Talkspace therapists and psychiatrists are experienced and qualified. With the convenience and accessibility online therapy offers, Talkspace can be a valuable resource as you learn to manage your mental health. Contact Talkspace today to learn more about what Lexapro alternatives are best suited to treat you and your condition.


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  6. Boyle N, Lawton C, Dye L. The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress—a systematic review. Nutrients. 2017;9(5):429. doi:10.3390/nu9050429. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/5/429/htm. Accessed August 21, 2023.
  7. White D, de Klerk S, Woods W, Gondalia S, Noonan C, Scholey A. Anti-stress, behavioural and magnetoencephalography effects of an L-theanine-based nutrient drink: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(1):53. doi:10.3390/nu8010053. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/1/53. Accessed August 21, 2023. 
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  9. Maffei ME. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural occurrence, analysis, biosynthesis, biotechnology, physiology and toxicology. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020;22(1):181. doi:10.3390/ijms22010181. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796270/. Accessed August 21, 2023.
  10. Canenguez Benitez JS, Hernandez TE, Sundararajan R, et al. Advantages and disadvantages of using st. john’s wort as a treatment for depression. Cureus. Published online 2022. doi:10.7759/cureus.29468. https://www.cureus.com/articles/94821-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-using-st-johns-wort-as-a-treatment-for-depression. Accessed August 21, 2023.
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Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

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