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Escitalopram (Generic)
Escitalopram Oxalate
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Escitalopram oxalate (Generic)
Escitalopram Oxalate
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Brand options: Lexapro, Cipralex

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Product of Canada.

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Prescription Required.Product of Canada.Shipped from Canada.

What is Escitalopram?

Escitalopram is a medication used to treat major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in adults. It comes in tablet form and is usually taken once a day, either in the morning or evening, with or without food. Doctors typically start with a 10 mg dose and may increase it to 20 mg if needed.

Common side effects include nausea, sleepiness, dizziness, and changes in appetite. Patients need to inform their doctor about any history of bipolar disorder or the use of certain medications to avoid potential interactions.

Escitalopram can also be beneficial for conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder or panic disorder, although these are off-label uses.

While Escitalopram is sold under the brand names Lexapro and Cipralex, generic versions of escitalopram are also available, providing more affordable options for patients while maintaining the same therapeutic benefits.

Alternative Medications to Escitalopram

When escitalopram proves ineffective or intolerable for managing symptoms, alternative medications are often explored to address the individual’s needs effectively.

Here are some alternative medications commonly considered in such situations:

How Does Escitalopram Work?

Escitalopram works by helping to balance certain chemicals in the brain, especially serotonin. It’s part of a group of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. When someone is feeling depressed or overly anxious, their brain may not have enough serotonin, which affects mood.

Escitalopram helps by increasing the levels of serotonin available in the brain, which can improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.

Dosage Information and Usage

Knowing the right dosage and how to take escitalopram is key for it to work well and be safe.

Dosage form and strengths of Escitalopram

  • Escitalopram tablets are available in film-coated, round forms.
  • They contain escitalopram oxalate in strengths equivalent to 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg escitalopram base.
  • The 10 mg and 20 mg tablets are scored and debossed with either “5”, “10”, or “20” on one side according to their respective strengths and plain on the other side.

Administration of Escitalopram

Take Escitalopram tablets once daily, either in the morning or evening, with or without food. For adolescents starting treatment for major depressive disorder, begin with 10 mg once daily. If needed, this can be increased to 20 mg after at least three weeks.

Adults should also start with 10 mg once daily, with the option to increase to 20 mg after at least one week. Long-term treatment might be necessary to maintain benefits, and 10 or 20 mg/day has proven effective in adults.

Dosage adjustments are recommended for elderly patients and those with liver issues. Follow the prescribed dosage and consult your healthcare provider for any changes or concerns.

Storage Information

To keep escitalopram tablets safe and effective, store them at room temperature between 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). It’s okay if the temperature briefly goes between 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F), but try to keep it within the recommended range. This helps maintain the quality of the medication so that it works as intended when you need it.

Side Effects of Escitalopram

Understanding the potential side effects of escitalopram tablets is essential for managing your medication safely. While many people tolerate the medication well, it’s crucial to be aware of both common and serious but rare side effects.

Common Side Effects

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

Serious but Rare Side Effects

  • Serotonin Syndrome (racing heartbeat, agitation, fever, sweating)
  • Severe allergic reactions (trouble breathing, swelling of face, rash)
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Manic episodes (increased energy, reckless behavior)
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Low sodium levels in the blood (headache, weakness)
  • Visual problems (eye pain, changes in vision)
  • Sexual dysfunction (delayed ejaculation, decreased sex drive)

Warnings and Precautions

Taking escitalopram tablets requires certain precautions to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Boxed Warnings for Escitalopram

It’s important to know that escitalopram tablets carry a boxed warning, which is the strongest warning from the FDA.

This warning is about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, adolescents, and young adults who take antidepressants.

These thoughts and behaviors can occur especially during the first few months of treatment or when the dose changes. Escitalopram tablets are not approved for use in children under 12 years of age.

General Precautions for Escitalopram Medication

  • Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors: It’s important to keep a close watch on all patients, especially young people, for signs of worsening depression or suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly in the first few months of treatment or when changing the dose. Some antidepressants, like escitalopram tablets, may increase these risks, especially in young people.
  • Serotonin Syndrome: This rare but serious condition can occur when taking escitalopram alone or with other drugs affecting serotonin. Serotonin regulates mood in the brain. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include agitation, hallucinations, excessive sweating, fast heartbeat, and muscle twitching. Do not take escitalopram with other serotonin-affecting medications without consulting your healthcare provider.
  • Discontinuation Symptoms: When stopping escitalopram tablets, some people may experience withdrawal symptoms like feeling dizzy, irritable, or having mood changes. To minimize these effects, gradually reducing the dose under medical supervision is recommended. This helps your body adjust to not having the medication.
  • Seizures: While escitalopram tablets haven’t been thoroughly studied in patients with a history of seizures, caution is advised when prescribing them to such individuals.
  • Manic Episodes: Escitalopram tablets may trigger manic or hypomanic episodes in people with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).
  • Hyponatremia: This is when the level of sodium in your blood becomes too low. Sodium is an important electrolyte that helps regulate the amount of water in and around your cells. Symptoms of hyponatremia include headaches, confusion, weakness, and feeling unsteady. Elderly patients or those taking diuretics (medications that increase urine production) may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia.
  • Abnormal Bleeding: SSRIs like escitalopram tablets may increase the risk of bleeding, particularly when taken with other blood-thinning medications. This can lead to easy bruising or bleeding from small cuts.
  • Cognitive and Motor Impairment: While escitalopram tablets generally don’t impair cognitive (thinking) or motor (movement) function, caution is advised when operating machinery until you know how the medication affects you. This is because any medication that affects the brain may cause changes in thinking or coordination.
  • Angle Closure Glaucoma: Escitalopram tablets can cause pupil dilation, which may trigger an angle closure attack in people with narrow angles in their eyes. Angle-closure glaucoma is a serious eye condition where the pressure inside the eye increases suddenly, leading to severe eye pain, blurred vision, and possible vision loss.
  • Concurrent Illness: Use caution when prescribing escitalopram tablets to patients with certain medical conditions, including liver or kidney impairment, recent heart attacks, or unstable heart disease. “Concomitant illness” means having more than one illness or medical condition at the same time. It’s important to be careful when using escitalopram tablets in patients with these conditions because the medication may affect how their body functions.

Overdosage of Escitalopram

If too many escitalopram oxalate tablets are taken, serious symptoms may occur. These can include seizures, coma, and heart problems like abnormal rhythms and blood pressure changes.

Immediate medical help is crucial if an overdose is suspected. Extended heart monitoring is recommended due to the risk of irregular heartbeats, and activated charcoal may be used early on to cleanse the digestive system.

Healthcare professionals may also consult poison control centers or toxicology experts for guidance on managing escitalopram oxalate overdoses.

Drug Interactions With Other Medications

When taking escitalopram, it’s important to know about possible interactions with other medications. These can impact how the drugs work and might increase the risk of side effects.

Here are some key drug interactions to be aware of:

  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): Combining escitalopram with MAOIs can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening reactions, including serotonin syndrome. Follow dosage instructions carefully and avoid using these medications together.
  • Serotonergic Drugs: Similar to MAOIs, combining escitalopram with other serotonergic drugs can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • Triptans: There have been rare reports of serotonin syndrome when SSRIs like escitalopram are taken with triptans, which are used to treat migraines. Careful observation is advised if combined treatment is necessary.
  • CNS Drugs: Since escitalopram affects the central nervous system, caution should be exercised when taking it alongside other drugs that also act on the CNS to avoid excessive sedation or other adverse effects.
  • Alcohol: While escitalopram itself may not directly increase the effects of alcohol, using alcohol while taking this medication is generally not recommended due to potential interactions and increased risk of side effects.
  • Drugs That Interfere With Hemostasis (NSAIDs, Aspirin, Warfarin, etc.): Escitalopram may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with medications that affect blood clotting, such as NSAIDs, aspirin, or warfarin.
  • Other Medications (Cimetidine, Digoxin, Lithium, Pimozide, Sumatriptan, Theophylline, and Others): These medications may interact with escitalopram in various ways, affecting their respective levels in the body. Close monitoring and potential dosage adjustments may be necessary when using them together with escitalopram.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Escitalopram is prescribed to treat depression and anxiety. It helps improve mood, energy levels, and overall well-being by restoring the balance of certain natural substances in the brain.

Citalopram and escitalopram are both used to treat depression, but they are not the same. Escitalopram is stronger, so you need about half the dose of citalopram to get the same effect.

The usual starting dose of escitalopram for adults is 10 mg once daily. Depending on your condition and response to treatment, your doctor may increase the dose to a maximum of 20 mg per day. Always follow your doctor’s instructions and never take more than the prescribed amount.

Escitalopram may cause erectile dysfunction in some men. Other common sexual side effects include a reduced sex drive and delayed ejaculation. If you experience any of these issues, it’s important to talk to your doctor, who can provide advice and discuss possible alternatives or adjustments to your treatment.

Escitalopram typically takes two to four weeks to show its full effect. When you first start taking it, you might feel more anxious or “on edge” due to the initial increase in serotonin levels. This is normal, and the medication should begin to relieve symptoms of depression after a few weeks. If you have concerns, consult your doctor for guidance.

You can get escitalopram with a prescription from your doctor. It is available at most pharmacies. You can order it from online pharmacies, but use a reputable source to ensure you receive genuine medication. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new medication.

You should always consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medications with escitalopram to avoid potential interactions. Generally, it’s important to avoid certain drugs, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), as they can cause serious reactions when combined with escitalopram. Additionally, it’s important to be cautious with other antidepressants, antipsychotics, and medications that affect serotonin levels, as they may increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.

Escitalopram may not be suitable for individuals with specific health conditions or circumstances. It’s important to avoid escitalopram if you have a heart problem, as it can lead to irregular heartbeat or faster heart rate. Additionally, if you have been tested for low sodium levels, it’s advisable to avoid escitalopram. Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals should also avoid escitalopram, and if you have glaucoma, as it can raise eye pressure.

Escitalopram typically starts showing its full effects within two to four weeks of starting the medication. This means that it may take some time before you notice significant improvements in your symptoms.

Suddenly stopping escitalopram may lead to withdrawal symptoms like irritability, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, nightmares, headache, and skin tingling. If you have depression or bipolar disorder, stopping abruptly can worsen these conditions.

Consult your healthcare provider before discontinuing to plan a safe tapering schedule, reducing withdrawal effects and managing your mental health effectively.