Highlights for escitalopram

  1. Escitalopram oral tablet is available as both a generic and brand-name drug. Brand name: Lexapro.
  2. Escitalopram is also available as an oral solution.
  3. Escitalopram is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

Important warnings

FDA warning: Suicide

What is escitalopram?

Escitalopram oral tablet is a prescription drug that’s available as the brand-name drug Lexapro. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Talk with your doctor to see if the generic version will work for you. Escitalopram is also available as an oral solution.

Why it’s used

This drug is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder. It may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

How it works

This drug belongs to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. Escitalopram increases the amount of a natural substance in your brain called serotonin. This substance helps maintain mental balance.

Escitalopram side effects

Escitalopram oral tablet may cause sleepiness and tiredness. It can also cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common adult side effects for this drug are slightly different from the more common side effects for children.

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

Hives

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare professional who knows your medical history.

Escitalopram may interact with other medications

Escitalopram oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with escitalopram are listed below.

Blood thinners

Escitalopram can thin your blood a little. If you take escitalopram with blood thinners, your risk of bleeding is increased. Examples of blood thinning drugs include:

Migraine drugs

Certain migraine drugs called triptans may have a similar effect to escitalopram. Taking them with escitalopram could increase your risk of side effects. Examples of migraine drugs include:

Psychiatric drugs

Certain psychiatric drugs may work similarly to escitalopram. Taking them together may increase your risk of side effects. Examples of these drugs include:

Drugs to reduce stomach acid

Taking these drugs with escitalopram may increase levels of escitalopram in your body and increase your risk of side effects. An example of these drugs includes:

Water pills

Certain water pills can decrease sodium levels in your body. Escitalopram may also decrease sodium. Taking water pills with these drugs may increase your risk of low sodium levels. Examples of these drugs include:

Serotonergic drugs

Taking these drugs with escitalopram may increase your risk of serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal. If you take any of these drugs, your doctor will start you on a lowered dosage of escitalopram and monitor you for signs of serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include agitation, sweating, muscle twitches, and confusion. Serotonergic drugs include:

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare professional about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Escitalopram warnings

Escitalopram oral tablet comes with several warnings.

Allergies

Escitalopram can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction

Drinking alcohol while taking escitalopram can increase your risk of sleepiness or dizziness. If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

People with a history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors: This drug can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. This risk is higher in children, teenagers, and young adults. Tell your doctor if you have a history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

People with glaucoma: This drug may dilate your pupils (make them wider), which may trigger a glaucoma attack. Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma before taking this drug.

People with bipolar disorder: Let your doctor know if you have a history of bipolar disorder. If you have a history of bipolar disorder, taking this drug alone may trigger a mixed or manic episode.

People with seizure disorders: This drug may cause seizures. If you have ever had a seizure, notify your doctor before taking this drug. Taking this drug can increase your risk of having more seizures.

People with heart problems: Taking this drug may cause a prolonged QT interval. This is a heart rhythm issue that may cause your heartbeat to be abnormal. Your risk for QT interval prolongation is greater if you have heart disease. Talk with your doctor before taking this drug.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Talk with your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.

For women who are breastfeeding: Escitalopram may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk with your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors: Seniors are at a greater risk for having lowered sodium levels. Because this drug can decrease sodium levels, seniors may be at even higher risk for low sodium levels.

For children: Children who take drugs like escitalopram may have a decreased appetite and weight loss.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if your mood changes suddenly. Call your doctor right away or call 911 in an emergency if you have any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

How to take escitalopram

All possible dosages and drug forms in addition to escitalopram oral tablet may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

Forms and strengths

Brand: Lexapro

Generic: escitalopram

Dosage for major depressive disorder

Adult Dosage (ages 18 years to 64 years)

The usual dose is 10–20 mg, taken once per day.

Child Dosage (ages 12 to 17 years)

Usual dose: 10 to 20 mg once per day.

Child Dosage (ages 0 to 11 years)

It hasn’t been confirmed that this drug is safe and effective in people younger than 12 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Special considerations

Liver problems: If you have liver problems, the recommended dose is 10 mg, taken once per day.

Dosage for generalized anxiety disorder

Brand: Lexapro

Generic: escitalopram

Adult Dosage (ages 18 years to 64 years)

The usual dose is 10–20 mg, taken once per day.

Child Dosage (ages 0 to 17 years)

It is unknown if this drug is safe and effective to treat generalized anxiety disorder in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Special considerations

Liver problems: If you have liver problems, the recommended dose is 10 mg, taken once per day.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Escitalopram oral tablet is used for long-term treatment. It comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking escitalopram rapidly. If you need to stop taking it, the dose should gradually be reduced. Never stop taking escitalopram on your own before speaking to your doctor.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule: Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose: Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: You should experience improvement in your conditions. However, you may not notice any difference in your condition for the first several weeks. It takes time for escitalopram to begin to work well. Sometimes this can take up to 2 months.

Important considerations for taking escitalopram

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes escitalopram oral tablet for you.

General

Storage

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor your mood. Your doctor will watch for sudden changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. Children will also be monitored for changes in height and weight.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk with your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Disclaimer: EDPHARMACY has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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