Name: escitalopram (es sye TAL oh pram)
class: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant
FDA black box warnings are at the end of this fact sheet.
Please review before taking this medication.
is Lexapro® and what does it treat?
is an antidepressant medication that works in the brain. It is
approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and
generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
of depression include:
mood - feeling sad, empty, or tearful
worthless, guilty, hopeless, and helpless
of interest or pleasure in your usual activities
and eat more or less than usual (for most people it is less)
energy, trouble concentrating, or thoughts of death (suicidal
agitation (‚Äėnervous energy’)
retardation (feeling like you are moving and thinking in slow
thoughts or behaviors
Anxiety Disorder (GAD) occurs
when a person experiences excessive anxiety or worry for at least six
months. Other symptoms include
(low energy, feeling tired all the time)
disturbance (difficulty falling asleep or waking up in the middle of
is the most important information I should know about Lexapro®?
not stop taking escitalopram, even when you feel better. Only your
healthcare provider can determine the length of treatment that is
right for you.
doses of escitalopram may increase your risk for relapse in your
escitalopram abruptly may result in one or more of the following
withdrawal symptoms: irritability, nausea, feeling dizzy, vomiting,
nightmares, headache, and/or paresthesias (prickling, tingling
sensation on the skin).
is also a part of bipolar illness. People with bipolar disorder who
take antidepressants may be at risk for "switching" from
depression into mania. Symptoms of mania include "high" or
irritable mood, very high self esteem, decreased need for sleep,
pressure to keep talking, racing thoughts, being easily distracted,
frequently involved in activities with a large risk for bad
consequences (for example, excessive buying sprees).
there specific concerns about Lexapro® and
you are planning on becoming pregnant, notify your healthcare
provider to best manage your medications. People living with MDD who
wish to become pregnant face important decisions. Untreated MDD has
risks to the fetus, as well as the mother. It is important to
discuss the risks and benefits of treatment with your doctor and
mothers who have taken SSRIs during their pregnancy, there appears to
be less than a 1% chance of infants developing persistent pulmonary
hypertension. This is a potentially fatal condition that is
associated with use of the antidepressant in the second half of
pregnancy. However, women who discontinued antidepressant therapy
were five times more likely to have a depression relapse than those
who continued their antidepressant. If you are pregnant, please
discuss the risks and benefits of antidepressant use with your
is advised with breastfeeding since escitalopram does
pass into breast milk.
should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Lexapro®?
of your condition that bother you the most
you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
you have taken in the past for your condition, whether they were
effective or caused any adverse effects
you experience side effects from your medications, discuss them with
your provider. Some side effects may pass with time, but others may
require changes in the medication.
other psychiatric or medical problems you have, including a history
of bipolar disorder
other medications you are currently taking (including over the
counter products, herbal and nutritional supplements) and any
medication allergies you have
non-medication treatment you are receiving, such as talk therapy or
substance abuse treatment. Your provider can explain how these
different treatments work with the medication.
you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
you drink alcohol or use drugs
should I take Lexapro®?
is usually taken 1 time per day with or without food.
patients begin at a low dose of medicine and the dose is increased
slowly over several weeks.
dose usually ranges from 10 mg to 20 mg. Only
your healthcare provider can determine the correct dose for you.
liquid should be measured with a dosing spoon or oral syringe which
you can get from your pharmacy.
using a calendar, pillbox, alarm clock, or cell to help you remember
to take your medication. You may also ask a family member or friend
to remind you or check in with you to be sure you are taking your
happens if I miss a dose of Lexapro®?
you miss a dose of escitalopram,
take it as soon as you remember, unless it is closer to the time of
your next dose. Discuss this with your healthcare provider. Do not
double your next dose or take more than what is prescribed.
should I avoid while taking Lexapro®?
drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs while you are taking
They may decrease the benefits (e.g., worsen your condition) and
increase adverse effects (e.g., sedation) of the medication.
happens if I overdose with Lexapro®?
an overdose occurs, call your doctor or 911. You may need urgent
medical care. You may also contact the poison control center at
specific treatment to reverse the effects of escitalopram does not
are the possible side effects of Lexapro®?
nausea, diarrhea, dry mouth, increased sweating
nervous, restless, fatigued, sleepy or having trouble sleeping
will often improve over the first week or two as you continue to take
side effects, such as problems with orgasm or ejaculatory delay often
do not diminish over time.
bleeding (e.g., gums may bleed more easily), low sodium blood levels
(signs of low sodium levels may include headache, weakness,
difficulty concentrating and remembering), teeth grinding
there any risks of taking Lexapro® for long periods of time?
date, there are no known problems associated with long term use of
escitalopram. It is a safe and effective medication when used as
other drugs may interact with Lexapro®?
should not be taken with or within 2 weeks of taking monoamine
oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). These include phenelzine (Nardil®),
and selegeline (Emsam®).
rare, there is an increased risk of serotonin syndrome when
escitalopram is used with other medications that increase serotonin,
such as other antidepressants, migraine medications called ‚Äútriptans‚ÄĚ
some pain medications (e.g., tramadol (Ultram®),
and the antibiotic linezolid (Zyvox®).
may increase the effects of other medications that can cause bleeding (e.g.,
long does it take for Lexapro® to
energy, or appetite may show some improvement within the first 1-2
weeks. Improvement in these physical symptoms can be an important
early signal that the medication is working. Depressed mood and lack
of interest in activities may need up to 6-8 weeks to fully improve.
by the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists
of Black Box Warning:
Thoughts or Actions in Children and Adults
and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated
with increases in the risk of suicide.
with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may
experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of
suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in
behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications.
This risk may persist until significant remission occurs.
short-term studies, antidepressants increased the risk of
suicidality in children, adolescents, and young adults when compared
to placebo. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants
compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24. Adults age 65 and
older taking antidepressants have a decreased risk of suicidality.
their families, and caregivers should be alert to the emergence of
anxiety, restlessness, irritability, aggressiveness and insomnia.
If these symptoms emerge, they should be reported to the patient’s
prescriber or healthcare professional.
patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication
should watch for and notify their healthcare provider for worsening
symptoms, suicidality and unusual changes in behavior, especially
during the first few months of treatment.