LexaproEscitalopram (Lexapro) is used to treat depression. Escitalopram is in a class of antidepressants (mood elevators) 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.
Why is this medication prescribed?
Escitalopram is used to treat depression. Escitalopram is in a class of antidepressants (mood elevators) 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?
Escitalopram comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. Make an attempt to take escitalopram on a regular schedule - taking it around the same time every day, in the morning or night. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take 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 escitalopram and increase your dose after 1 week.
It may take 1-4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of escitalopram. Continue to take escitalopram even if you feel well. Do not stop taking escitalopram without talking to your doctor, especially if you have taken large doses for a long time. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
What is the most important information I should know about Lexapro?
You may have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior from antidepressant medication like Lexapro at the outset, especially if under 18. Talk with your doctor about this risk. While you are taking escitalopram you will need to be monitored for worsening symptoms of depression and/ or suicidal thoughts during the first weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed. Pay attention to any symptoms that manifest and ask your family or other caregivers should be alert to changes in your mood. Your physician will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.
Contact your doctor promptly if you have any of the following side effects, especially if they are new symptoms or if they get worse: mood changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, irritability, agitation, aggressiveness, severe restlessness, mania (mental and/ or physical hyperactivity), thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself.
Depression can be a debilitating condition, so seeking treatment is usually the correct course of action. However, you and your physician may need to make adjustments to dosage as you are adjusting to the medication.
Do not take Lexapro together with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAOI before you can take escitalopram.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking Lexapro,
Are there any food restrictions I should observe while taking Lexapro?
- tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to escitalopram, citalopram (Celexa), or any other medications.
- do not take escitalopram if you are taking an MAO inhibitor such as phenelzine (Nardil) or tranylcypromine (Parnate) or have stopped taking them in the last 2 weeks.
- you should know that 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, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin); antihistamines; carbamazepine (Tegretol); cimetidine (Tagamet); ketoconazole (Sporanox); lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid, Lithotabs); medications for anxiety, mental illness, or seizures; metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL); other antidepressants such as desipramine (Norpramin); sedatives; sleeping pills; sumatriptan (Imitrex); and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have recently experienced a cardiac arrest or had other heart-related issues. Also discuss any bi-polar disorder issues that may be part of your mental health history; 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 escitalopram, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking escitalopram.
- you should know that 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 already induced by this medication.
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 Lexapro cause?
Escitalopram may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- changes in sex drive or ability
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- increased sweating
- stomach pain
- excessive tiredness
- dry mouth
- increased appetite
- flu-like symptoms
- runny nose
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience either of them, call your doctor immediately:
- unusual excitement
- seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
Lexapro may cause other side effects. Contact your physician immediately if unexpected problems arise while taking this medication.
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
Symptoms of overdose may include:
What other information should I know?
- upset stomach
- unusually fast or intense heartbeat
- fast breathing
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.