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Question re. cipralex effect on dry eyes

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  • Question re. cipralex effect on dry eyes


    I have gotten rather down about my dry/sore eyes and my post lasik vision difficulties. I am also experiencing unpleasant menopausal symptoms which interfere with sleep.

    My family doctor has prescribed a low dose, 5mg. of cipralex. He says that this antidepressant tends to have fewer unpleasant side effects.

    I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this medication or any knowledge of how this medication might impact on my dry eye situation (which I think may be mild to moderate at this point). I have no cornea staining, but a 3 sec TBUT, and sore eyes in the late afternoon.


  • #2

    Cipralex is the Canadian brand name of Escitalopram, or what we call Lexapro in the US.

    Citalopram, or what we call Celexa in the US, is a standard SSRI antidpressant that works on serotonin receptors mostly. Escitalopram, the enantiomer, also works primarily on serotonin receptors is said to have fewer side effects.

    There have been some other threads on this forum regarding dry eyes caused by Lexapro. You can search for them. I believe dry eyes is listed as a possible side effect of Lexapro.


    • #3
      Thanks for clarifying the names.

      Do you have a sense of which one is better for dry eyes, Celexa or Lexapro?

      I'll also do a search to see what has been posted already.


      • #4
        No idea which is better

        I can't help any further with this, but only to tell you that I have been avoiding these types of medications (all medical therapies for depression, basically) because of the dry eye side effects.

        I think there are other types of anti depressants that have no dry eye side effects. My family practitioner was going to refer me to a psychiatrist who was more familiar with the side effects of each medication so we could find a better medical therapy. I haven't taken him up on that yet.


        • #5
          Thanks . . . I too am reluctant to go onto the antidepressants, but my GP is strongly encouraging me to go onto something. Someone posted something about an ayurvedic (Indian) medicine called 'mentant'. It apparently has no dry eye effects, but is not available in Canada.

          I'm seeing an herbalist today. She was thinking that 'oatstraw' tea would be helpful to take the edge off my anxiety and to help me sleep. I wonder if anyone has had any experience with it?


          • #6
            You may want to consult a physician that has an integrative medicine approach. They often are very up on side effect concerns and try nutritional supplements or testing for deficiencies, etc, rather than just prescription meds alone. There is a search tool to find one near you on the ACAM website at That website was recommended to my by someone with the "In Need of Diagnosis" website.

            Another good source of info is the website of Dr. Jay Cohen. He has info on his website but I think also does consultations with other physicians by phone with an appointment. He has a special interest in anxiety and depression and the side effects of the drugs used to treat them. I believe he's done a little published research but it may have just been about Erythromelalgia, a rare disorder he has (and I have). He's at

            I have the hot flash problem too so have to really be careful about meds since so many cause flushing, and so many also cause dry eyes. Some drugs I can handle at 1/2 the usual minimal dose and for only a minimal amount of time (not ongoing maintenance). My eyes, tension and anxiety, fatigue and many other problems respond well to certain supplements. I especially love my Vit D-3 gelcaps (tested as deficient), Magnesium, Flax oil and Fish Oil (Omega Swirl, tastes great). I also take Estroven for the hot flashes. It also helps prevent flushing when I make the effort to eat healthy and to avoid spicy foods (including onions, garlic, peppers, much black pepper, curries, etc.) and alcohol.

            I hope you find something helpful. And good for you for being cautious!

            Mary in VA


            • #7
              Hi Mary,
              Thanks for all the tips. There seem to be very few integrative medicine doctors in my area. Having said that, there is one about 100km away that I think I will consult. He sees a lot of patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and seem to take on a holistic approach.

              I am taking lots of supplements: Vitamin A, Vitamin E, fish& flax oils, Vit D, Magnesium, Calcium, selenium, zinc. I'm still not sure of what to do with the hormones . . . I am very curious about the TheraLife eye nutrition product.

              Best of health to you!


              • #8
                Hi Bella,
                I think with antidepressants the side effect risks can be highly individual-- I had problems with Celexa, but dry eyes wasn't one of them-- but pharmacists might know more about rates of side effects if your doctor doesn't seem to know. I tried 3 different ones a few years ago and decided they weren't for me but the pharmacist I used at the time was very helpful and more open about side effects than the psychiatrist I saw.
                Valerian can really help sleep, and kava kava can be good for anxiety too (it's supposed to be hard on the liver if you take it for too long but the tincture I use has a warning on it and I just stay under the recommended dosage/duration). As far as I know these don't affect dry eyes.