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What is Cipralex?

Cipralex (escitalopram) is a medication used to treat depression and certain anxiety disorders.c It is FDA-approved for major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years, as well as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults.

Typically, the starting dose for both depression and anxiety is 10 mg once daily, which can be increased to a maximum of 20 mg daily if needed.

In addition to its FDA-approved uses, it is used off-label to treat conditions like social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and menopausal symptoms.

Always follow your doctor’s instructions when using Cipralex.

How Does Cipralex Work?

Cipralex works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps regulate mood. Normally, after serotonin is released into the brain, it is reabsorbed by nerve cells.

Cipralex prevents this reabsorption, so serotonin stays available in the brain for a longer time. This can help improve mood and reduce anxiety.

While we don’t fully understand the exact cause of depression, using Cipralex to balance serotonin levels can help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Dosage Information and Usage

It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and instructions to get the best results from the medication. Cipralex is typically taken once daily, either in the morning or evening, with or without food.

Dosage Form and Strengths

The product Cipralex is available in tablet form and comes in the following strengths:

  • 5 mg tablets
  • 10 mg tablets
  • 20 mg tablets


For major depressive disorder (MDD) in both adolescents (12-17 years) and adults:

  • Initial dose: 10 mg once daily
  • Recommended dose: 10 mg once daily
  • Maximum dose: 20 mg once daily

For generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults:

  • Initial dose: 10 mg once daily
  • Recommended dose: 10 mg once daily

Elderly patients and those with liver issues should take 10 mg daily. Patients with mild or moderate kidney issues do not need a dosage change, but those with severe kidney issues should be cautious.

When discontinuing the drug, gradually reduce the dose to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Storage Information

Store tablets at room temperature, between 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F), with acceptable variations between 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F).

Cipralex is available in bottles of either 100 or 1,000 tablets. Always keep the medication in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Side Effects

It’s important to be aware of these potential effects and consult your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms.

Common Side Effects

Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling anxious
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sexual problems
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Infection
  • Yawning

In children and adolescents, other side effects may include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Abnormal increase in muscle movement or agitation
  • Nosebleeds
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Possible slowed growth rate and weight changes

Serious but Rare Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare but can occur. These include:

  • Serotonin Syndrome
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Manic episodes
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Low sodium levels in the blood
  • Visual problems

Always consult your doctor if you experience any serious side effects or if common side effects persist.

Warnings and Precautions

It’s important to tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking before starting treatment. Taking certain other medications while using Cipralex can increase the risk of serious side effects.

Boxed Warnings

A boxed warning is a serious alert from the FDA about prescription medications. For the produt Cipralex, it warns that antidepressants can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, teens, and young adults.

It’s important to watch anyone taking the drug Cipralex for signs of worsening depression or new suicidal thoughts.

Cipralex is not approved for children under 12 years old. Always follow your doctor’s instructions and report any concerning symptoms right away.

General Precautions

Before taking Cipralex, it’s important to be aware of certain warnings and precautions to ensure safe medication use.

  • Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in Adolescents and Young Adults: Studies have shown that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young patients.
  • Serotonin Syndrome: Cipralex can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome, especially when taken with other medications that affect serotonin levels. Symptoms may include agitation, hallucinations, confusion, rapid heartbeat, sweating, fever, muscle stiffness, seizures, and gastrointestinal issues.
  • Discontinuation of Treatment: Abruptly stopping Cipralex can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as mood swings, irritability, dizziness, sensory disturbances, anxiety, confusion, headache, insomnia, and hypomania.
  • Seizures: While rare, it may increase the risk of seizures, especially in patients with a history of seizure disorder. Use caution when prescribing Cipralex to such patients.
  • Activation of Mania or Hypomania: In patients with bipolar disorder, Cipralex may trigger a manic or hypomanic episode. It’s essential to screen patients for bipolar disorder before starting treatment.
  • Hyponatremia: Cipralex may cause low sodium levels in the blood, particularly in elderly patients or those taking diuretics. Symptoms include headache, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness.
  • Abnormal Bleeding: SSRIs like Cipralex may increase the risk of bleeding, especially when taken with other medications that affect blood clotting. Be cautious if you’re taking blood thinners or NSAIDs, and report any signs of bleeding to your doctor.
  • Interference with Cognitive and Motor Performance: While Cipralex generally doesn’t impair cognitive function or motor skills, it’s essential to be cautious, especially when operating machinery or driving, until you know how the medication affects you.
  • Angle Closure Glaucoma: Cipralex may cause pupil dilation, which can trigger an angle closure attack in patients with narrow-angle glaucoma.
  • Use in Patients with Concomitant Illness: Use Cipralex cautiously in patients with certain systemic illnesses, altered metabolism, or hemodynamic responses.
  • Sexual Dysfunction: SSRIs like Cipralex may cause sexual dysfunction, including ejaculatory delay or failure, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction in men, and decreased libido or delayed/absent orgasm in women.


If someone takes too much Cipralex, it can cause serious problems. Symptoms of overdose may include seizures, changes in mental state like coma, and heart problems like abnormal heart rhythms.

High blood pressure is common, but low blood pressure can also happen, especially if alcohol or other drugs are taken together.

In severe cases, it may lead to serotonin syndrome, especially if other drugs that affect serotonin are involved. If an overdose is suspected, it’s important to seek medical help immediately.

Hospitals may use treatments like activated charcoal to help remove the medication from the body. It’s also a good idea to call a poison center or a medical expert for advice on how to manage the overdose.

Drug Interactions With Other Medications

Understanding how different medications interact is crucial for your health. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): MAOIs are a type of medication used to treat depression. When combined with Cipralex, they can cause serious health risks. MAOIs work by blocking the action of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase, which breaks down neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain.
  • Serotonergic Drugs: Combining serotonergic drugs with Cipralex can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome. When taken together with Cipralex, which also increases serotonin levels, the risk of developing serotonin syndrome is heightened. Serotonin syndrome can cause symptoms like confusion, agitation, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and even seizures in severe cases.
  • Triptans: Triptans are a class of medications commonly used to treat migraines. When SSRIs like Cipralex are used with triptans, there have been rare reports of serotonin syndrome. This is because both medications increase serotonin levels in the brain, potentially leading to an excess of serotonin and the development of serotonin syndrome.
  • CNS Drugs: Cipralex affects the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. Combining these drugs can intensify their effects on the CNS, leading to symptoms like drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and impaired coordination.
  • Alcohol: While Cipralex itself doesn’t intensify the effects of alcohol, it’s generally recommended to avoid alcohol when taking psychotropic medications like Cipralex. Alcohol is a CNS depressant and can interact with Cipralex, leading to increased drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination.

Alternative Medications

If Cipralex isn’t the right fit for you, there are other options to consider. Medications like Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor XR, Wellbutrin XL, and Remeron are alternatives that your doctor may suggest.

These medications work in similar ways to help with conditions like depression and anxiety.

Each one has its benefits and potential side effects, so it’s important to discuss with your healthcare provider to find the best choice for you.

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StrengthQuantityTotal PricePrice per Tablet
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Cipralex, or escitalopram, typically lasts in the body for about 27-33 hours. This means that it takes this amount of time for half of the drug to be eliminated from your system. Since escitalopram has a long half-life, it is usually taken once a day.

While antidepressants like Cipralex are generally safe for short-term use, there are concerns about their long-term safety. Extended use may lead to side effects critical to your health. It’s essential for those using Cipralex long-term to regularly consult their healthcare provider, who can monitor for side effects and adjust the treatment plan as needed.

Adjusting to Cipralex, like many antidepressants, typically takes time. On average, it can take around four weeks for individuals to notice the full effects of the medication.

Stopping Cipralex suddenly without a healthcare professional’s guidance can cause withdrawal symptoms within a day or two. These can include increased anxiety, trouble sleeping, or vivid dreams.

Cipralex should not be taken by those who are currently using MAOIs, heart rhythm medications, or other drugs that affect heart rhythm. Do not stop taking Cipralex without consulting a doctor first, as this can cause withdrawal symptoms.

Yes, Cipralex can help reduce anxiety symptoms for many people. It’s an antidepressant often prescribed for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and other anxiety conditions. However, its effectiveness can vary, so it’s important to work closely with a healthcare professional to find the best treatment plan for your needs.

Cipralex can make some people feel sleepy, but not everyone. It affects each person differently. If it makes you sleepy, it’s usually at the beginning of treatment and might improve over time.

Cipralex is typically taken once a day, either in the morning or in the evening. It’s best to take it at the same time each day to help remember.

Withdrawal symptoms from Cipralex can vary from person to person and may include dizziness, nausea, headache, irritability, insomnia, vivid dreams, electric shock sensations in the body, and flu-like symptoms. These symptoms can occur when you stop taking Cipralex suddenly or if you miss several doses.

Cipralex treatment duration varies depending on individual needs. Typically, treatment should continue for at least six months after symptoms improve. Stopping treatment too early may lead to the return of symptoms.

Both Cipralex and Lexapro contain the same generic drug, escitalopram. They are different brand names for the same medication, which belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. Escitalopram is approved by the FDA and is commonly used to treat conditions like major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

In most cases, Cipralex side effects are mild and temporary. They often occur during the first two weeks of treatment but tend to lessen as you continue taking the medication. While side effects can vary for each person, they generally become less intense and less frequent over time.