I'm taking Lexapro, and my breasts seem unusually tender to the touch. Do Lexapro side effects include breast tenderness?
Answer From Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D.
Escitalopram (Lexapro) is a prescription drug commonly used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder. Breast tenderness isn't among the published Lexapro side effects, but some studies and unofficial reports have linked Lexapro and breast tenderness.
Lexapro may interfere with the normal processing of prolactin — a hormone that affects breast tissue. It's possible that this could lead to breast tenderness. Breast pain has been documented as a rare side effect of other antidepressants, including citalopram (Celexa), venlafaxine (Effexor XR), sertraline (Zoloft) and mirtazapine (Remeron), and of certain other psychotropic medications.
Keep in mind that a number of other things can cause breast pain. Your doctor may consider any possible underlying causes for your symptoms.
Your doctor may have you stop taking Lexapro for a period of time to see whether your breast tenderness improves. But don't change your dose or quit taking your antidepressant until you talk to your doctor. If you stop taking Lexapro too fast, you could get serious symptoms such as anxiety, headaches or confusion.
If your breast tenderness seems to be related to Lexapro, your doctor may recommend another antidepressant. Lexapro and several other antidepressants are available in generic form, though any side effects should be similar to the brand-name product.
May 27, 2016
- Lexapro (prescribing information). St. Louis, Mo.: Forest Laboratories; 2014. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/021323s044,021365s032lbl.pdf. Accessed May 11, 2016.
- Remeron (prescribing information). Whitehouse Station, N.J.: Merck Sharp & Dohme B.B.; 2014. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/020415s032lbl.pdf. Accessed May 11, 2016.
- Celexa (prescribing information). St. Louis, Mo.: Forest Laboratories; 2014. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/020822Orig1s046lbl.pdf. Accessed May 11, 2016.
- Zoloft (prescribing information). New York, N.Y.: Pfizer; 2014. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2014/019839s084,020990s043lbl.pdf. Accessed May 11, 2016.
- Golshan M, et al. Breast pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 11, 2016.
- Praharaj SK. Euprolactinemic galactorrhea with escitalopram. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences. 2014;26:e25.
- Kaufman KR, et al. Antidepressant-selective gynecomastia. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2013;47:e6.
- Nebhinani N. Sertraline-induced galactorrhea: Case report and review of cases reported with other SSRIs. General Hospital Psychiatry. 2013;35:576.e3.
- FDA listing of authorized generics as of April 1, 2016. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofMedicalProductsandTobacco/CDER/ucm126391.htm. Accessed May 13, 2016.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 13, 2016.