Lexapro and/or Equivalent Escitalopram Prescription Information
Lexapro is classified as an Antidepressant which contains the active ingredient Escitalopram Oxalate. It is available by prescription only and there is currently no generic form available. Lexapro has been proven safe and effective for the treatment of acute depression and maintenance Major Depressive Disorder(MDD) in adult and adolescent patients. It is also prescribed for acute treatment of General Anxiety Disorders(GAD) in adult patients.
Lexapro is indicated for MDD in both adults and adolescents 12 to 17 years of age and for GAD in adults only. Lexapro is used for acute and maintenance treatment in MDD patients. Major depressive symptoms include a prominent and constant depressed mood that impacts functioning in daily life. Patients with MDD may also exhibit symptoms such as weight and/or appetite change, sleep issues, increased fatigue, guilt feelings, concentration issues, suicidal ideation or attempt. Patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may exhibit uncontrolled extreme anxiety and worry that usually lasts for at least 6 months. GAD patients may also experience restlessness, fatigue, concentration issues, irritability, and sleep problems. Simultaneous presentation of at least 4-5 of the above symptoms highly indicates the existence of MDD or GAD.
Lexapro tablets are available in 5mg, 10mg and 20mg strengths, while Lexapro oral solution is available in 1 mg/ml strength. The usual Lexapro starting dose is 10mg once per day, either in the morning or evening. This dose may be titrated further based on individual response. As in other antidepressants, it may take up to four weeks for the benefits of Lexapro to take effect. Lexapro can be taken with or without food and should be stored at room temperature (15-30C/59-86F).
Mechanism of action:
Lexapro's active ingredient, Escitalopram, is an S-enantiomer of Racemic Citalopram. Escitalopram is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs work by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in the accumulation of serotonin at nerve endings (nerve clefts). This increased concentration of serotonin at nerve endings results in a balancing of reduced serotonin in the brain and produces antidepressant effects.
Side-effects and safety profile:
Lexapro side-effects seen during various clinical trials are as follows:
Non-serious side-effects reported include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, tiredness, dizziness, nervousness, drowsiness, dry mouth, muscle cramps, insomnia, sweating, rhinitis, and sinusitis.
Lexapro may also cause some serious side-effects like severe mood changes, confusion, concentration issues, suicidal ideation, hallucinations, fast heartbeat, decreased sexual interest and ability, impotence, ejaculation issues, painful and prolonged erection (usually lasting 4 or more hours), seizures, bruising, bloody stools, etc. Patients experiencing serious side-effects should report them to a physician immediately.
Since the safety studies of Lexapro in pregnant and nursing mothers are inconclusive, women who are pregnant or may become pregnant and nursing mothers should not take Lexapro.
Lexapro is contraindicated with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Various short-term clinical studies have shown that Lexapro increases suicidal ideation in children, adolescents, and young adults with MDD. This risk is greatly diminished in patients over 24 years old, as well as in older adults, 65 years and older.
All patients must be monitored for clinical worsening, suicidal ideation, and behavioral changes. Families and caregivers must be advised in the appropriate care of these patients.
Lexapro is not approved by the FDA in patients less than 12 years of age.
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