Lexapro (Escitalopram) Drug Information
- Other Uses
- Special Dietary
- If I Forget
- Side Effects
- Storage Conditions
- Other Information
- Brand Names
Why is this medication prescribed?
Lexapro (escitalopram) is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; excessive worry and tension that disrupts daily life and lasts for 6 months or longer). Lexapro (escitalopram) is in a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.
How should this medicine be used?
Lexapro (escitalopram) comes as a tablet and a solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. To help you remember to take Lexapro (escitalopram), take it at around the same time every day, in the morning or in the evening. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Lexapro (escitalopram) exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of Lexapro (escitalopram) and increase your dose after 1 week.
It may take 1 to 4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of Lexapro (escitalopram). Continue to take Lexapro (escitalopram) even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Lexapro (escitalopram) without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking Lexapro (escitalopram), you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood changes,irritability, agitation, dizziness, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, anxiety, confusion, headache, tiredness, and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking Lexapro (escitalopram):
- tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to Lexapro (escitalopram), citalopram (Celexa), or any other medications.
- tell your doctor if you are taking pimozide (Orap) or a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or if you have stopped taking an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take Lexapro (escitalopram). If you stop taking Lexapro (escitalopram), you should wait at least 14 days before you start to take an MAO inhibitor.
- you should know that Lexapro (escitalopram) is very similar to another SSRI, citalopram (Celexa). You should not take these two medications together.
- tell your doctor or pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications and vitamins you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antihistamines; aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); carbamazepine (Tegretol); cimetidine (Tagamet); ketoconazole (Sporanox); lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid, Lithotabs); linezolid (Zyvox); medications for anxiety, mental illness, or seizures; medications for migraine headaches such as almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), and zolmitriptan (Zomig); metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL); other antidepressants such as desipramine (Norpramin); sedatives; sibutramine (Meridia); sleeping pills; tramadol; and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor what nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking, especially products containing St. John's wort or tryptophan.
- tell your doctor if you have recently had a heart attack and if you have or have ever had seizures or liver, kidney, thyroid, or heart disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking Lexapro (escitalopram), call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking Lexapro (escitalopram).
- you should know that Lexapro (escitalopram) may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Lexapro (escitalopram) may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- changes in sex drive or ability
- increased sweating
- stomach pain
- excessive tiredness
- dry mouth
- increased appetite
- flu-like symptoms
- runny nose
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience either of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- unusual excitement
- seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
- fever, sweating, confusion, fast or irregular heartbeat, and severe muscle stiffness
Lexapro (escitalopram) may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- fast or pounding heartbeat
- fast breathing
- coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.