Lexapro (escitalopram)

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Brand Name

Lexapro {Forrest Laboratories}

Generic Name

escitalopram, pronounced ES sye TAL oh pram


What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is an antidepressant medication, which can help treat depression and anxiety. Lexapro affects certain chemicals in your brain that may become unbalanced. Adults and children ages 12 and older may be prescribed Lexapro for anxiety or major depressive disorder.

Lexapro may also be used for additional purposes which are not listed in this medication guide.


Key Facts About Lexapro

Lexapro is in the group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

You should not take Lexapro if you are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) like furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate).

You must stop taking an MAOI and wait at least 14 days before you can take Lexapro. Should you stop taking Lexapro, you must also wait at least 14 days before you can start taking an MAOI again. Be sure to tell your doctor about any MAOIs you have taken or plan to take before starting treatment with Lexapro.

You may have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking an antidepressant, particularly if you are 24 years of age or younger. It is important for you to visit your doctor regularly, especially during your first 3 months of treatment with Lexapro.

You should tell your doctor if your depression gets worse or if you have suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever you have a dose change.


Before You Take Lexapro

If you are allergic to escitalopram you should not take Lexapro.

Lexapro is in FDA pregnancy category C. Tell your doctor immediately if you become pregnant while taking Lexapro, as your baby may be at risk for heart defects or serious lung problems. Lexapro can pass into breast milk, which could harm your nursing baby, so do not breast-feed while you are taking Lexapro.

Do not start or stop taking Lexapro during pregnancy without your doctor’s advice, as you may be prone to a relapse of your depression. Your doctor will advise you of how to stop your medication safely.

Lexapro should not be given to children younger than 12 years old without the advice of a doctor.

Tell your doctor before you start taking Lexapro if you take any other antidepressants like Celexa, Cymbalta, Desyrel, Effexor, Luvox, Oleptro, Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax, Paxil, Pexeva, Viibryd, or Zoloft.

You should tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, bipolar disorder, a history of suicidal thoughts, a history of drug abuse or epilepsy before taking Lexapro.


Lexapro Drug Interactions

You should inform your doctor if you are taking any of the following:

  • antidepressants such as amitriptylline (Elavil, Vanatrip, Limbitrol), clomipramine (Anafranil), and desipramine (Norpramin)
  • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol)
  • Celexa
  • cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Cymbalta
  • Desyrel
  • Effexor
  • isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • lithium (Lithobid, Eskalith)
  • Luvox
  • migraine headache medications like almotriptan (Axert), frovatriptan (Frova), sumatriptan (Imitrex, Treximet), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), or zolmitriptan (Zomig)
  • NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, Naprelan, Treximet), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Arthrotec, Cambia, Cataflam, Voltaren, Flector Patch, Pennsaid, Solareze), indomethacin (Indocin), or meloxicam (Mobic)
  • Oleptro
  • Paxil
  • Pexeva
  • phenelzine (Nardil)
  • Prozac
  • rasagiline (Azilect)
  • Sarafem
  • selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar)
  • Symbyax
  • tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • tryptophan
  • urazolidone (Furoxone)
  • Viibryd
  • Zoloft.

Other drugs you take that are not listed may interact with Lexapro. You should tell your doctor about all of the medications you use. This includes prescription drugs, vitamins, supplements and herbal products, and over the counter medications. You should not begin taking a new medication without telling your doctor first.


Directions for Taking Lexapro

Lexapro should be taken at the same time every day.

If you have been prescribed liquid Lexapro be sure to measure your dose with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, and not with a regular spoon. Ask your pharmacist for a dose-measuring spoon if you do not have one.

Your symptoms will improve, but it may take 4 weeks or longer before you start seeing any improvement in your symptoms. It is important for you to continue using the medication as your doctor has directed , and do not stop taking Lexapro without speaking to your doctor first. If you do want to stop taking Lexapro ask your doctor for advice on how you should stop, because if you stop suddenly you could experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

You should follow the instructions on your prescription label and not take Lexapro for longer than recommended by your doctor, or in larger or smaller doses.

Lexapro should be stored at room temperature, and away from both moisture and heat.

If you miss a dose of Lexapro you should attempt to take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose do not take the missed dose in addition to your regular dose.


Lexapro Side Effects

If you experience any of the following adverse effects you should stop taking Lexapro and seek emergency medical help immediately:

  • appetite loss
  • confusion
  • diarrhea
  • faint feeling
  • fast or uneven heartbeat
  • fever which is high
  • hallucinations
  • headache
  • loss of coordination
  • memory problems
  • nausea
  • rigid or stiff muscles
  • seizures
  • shallow or stopped breathing
  • sweating
  • tremors
  • vomiting
  • weakness

Less serious side effects of Lexapro may include:

  • constipation
  • decreased libido
  • difficulty having an orgasm
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • gas
  • heartburn
  • impotence
  • insomnia
  • mild nausea
  • ringing in your ears
  • upset stomach
  • weight changes
  • yawning

It should be noted that this is not a complete list of possible side effects of Lexapro. You should contact your physician for a complete list and medical advice regarding these effects.


Lexapro Description and Dosing

Lexapro is available in tablet form in dosages of 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg. All of the Lexapro tablets are film coated and round. The 10 mg and 20 mg tablets are scored. Each tablet is imprinted with “FL” on one side and either 5″, “10”, or “20” on the other side according to their respective strengths.

Lexapro Oral Solution contains escitalopram oxalate, equivalent to 1 mg/mL (milligram/milliliter)

The initial dose for children age 12 and older, as well as adults, for the treatment of anxiety or depression is 10 mg, once daily. The maximum dose for children who are 12 and older
and adults is 20 mg once daily.

All people taking Lexapro should consult their doctor for specific dosing specific to them. Do not attempt to alter or change your dose without your physician’s consent.

If you believe you have overdosed on Lexapro you should seek medical help immediately.


Ingredients in Lexapro

The main ingredient in Lexapro is escitalopram oxalate. Other ingredients in the tablets include talc, croscarmellose sodium, microcrystalline cellulose/colloidal silicon dioxide, and magnesium stearate. The film coating contains hypromellose, titanium dioxide, and polyethylene glycol.

Lexapro Oral Solution Oral Solution contains escitalopram oxalate, and also sorbitol, purified water, citric acid, sodium citrate, malic acid, glycerin, propylene glycol, methylparaben, propylparaben, and natural peppermint flavor.

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The information contained in this drug guide is intended as an educational resource only. This guide is not exhaustive and does not contain all available information about this drug.This guide is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment.

The information provided in this guide does not replace the need for the advice and services of medical professionals or the need for medical examination. Always talk to your physician or pharmacist before taking any prescription medication or over the counter drugs (including any supplements) or before making any changes to your treatment. Only your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can provide you with safe and effective advice regarding your drug treatment.

The use of the information in this guide is at your sole risk. This information is provided "AS IS" with no warranties to accuracy or timeliness.

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