Escitalopram (By mouth)

Introduction

Escitalopram (es-sye-TAL-oh-pram)

Treats severe depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This medicine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Brand Name(s)

Lexapro

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to escitalopram or citalopram (Celexa®), or if you are using pimozide (Orap®). You should not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor (such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®) within the past 14 days. Do not use an MAO inhibitor for at least 14 days after you stop using escitalopram.

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Do not use citalopram (Celexa®) while you are using escitalopram. These two medicines are closely related and using both could be dangerous.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using linezolid (Zyvox®), lithium, tryptophan, St. John's Wort, pain or migraine medicines (such as aspirin, tramadol, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, rizatriptan, Ultram®, Imitrex®, Zomig®, or Maxalt®), pain or arthritis medicines called NSAIDs (such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Feldene®, Daypro®, Motrin®, Orudis®, Relafen®, or Voltaren®), or a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin®). Tell your doctor if you are also using cimetidine (Tagamet®), carbamazepine (Tegretol®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), metoprolol (Lopressor®), or other medicines for depression (such as amitriptyline, imipramine, Norpramin®, or Tofranil®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have bleeding problems, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood), or a history of seizure disorder (such as epilepsy) or mania. Tell your doctor if you have a history of neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) or serotonin syndrome.
  • For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor or your child's doctor right away if you or your child start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourselves. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you or your child, especially if they are new or are getting worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you or your child have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you or your child have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you, your child, or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
  • You may need to take this medicine for up to 4 weeks before you feel better. Keep using this medicine for the full treatment time. If you feel that the medicine is not working well, do not take more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Blistering, peeling, or red skin rash.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate, or painful urination.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Confusion, weakness, or muscle twitching.
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat.
  • Fever, chills, cough, sore throat, and body aches.
  • Painful, prolonged erection of the penis.
  • Swelling in your hands, ankles, or feet.
  • Unusual behavior or thoughts of hurting yourself or others.
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Headache, dizziness, or drowsiness.
  • Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or upset stomach.
  • Problems with sex.
  • Runny or stuffy nose.
  • Sweating.
  • Tiredness.
  • Trouble with sleeping.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

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This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

         
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