Escitalopram, widely sold under the brand name Lexapro, is used to treat anxiety and depression. Escitalopram is an antidepressant belonging to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Its mechanism of action is to help restore the balance of serotonin (a natural chemical in the brain). It may decrease nervousness and improve your energy levels and feelings of well-being.(Garnock-Jones, K.P. and McCormack, P.L., 2010)
How does it work?
This medication belongs to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors class of medications (SSRIs). These medicines are frequently used to treat illnesses that are similar to each other. Escitalopram raises the quantity of serotonin in your brain, which is a natural molecule. This chemical aids in the maintenance of mental equilibrium.
Forms and Doses for Escitalopram.
This medicine is classified as a Schedule IV drug that is available only through a medical prescription by a doctor.
This Medication Is Available In The Following Forms:
- Oral Tablet
- Liquid Solution
Usual Adult Dosage For Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD). Initial dose 10mg orally once a day you can increase the dose to 20 mg once a day if necessary only after one week of treatment.
Maintenance dose: 10mg-20 mg orally a day
Maximum dose: 20mg orally a day
Usual Adult Dose For Depression: Same dosage as for GAD
Usual Geriatric Dose For Depression: Recommended dose: 10mg orally once a day
Usual Pediatric Dose For Depression (12 years or older):
Initial dose: 10mg orally once a day; you can increase the dose to 20mg once a day if necessary only after three weeks of treatment
Maintenance dose: 10mg-20mg orally once a day.
Maximum dose: 20mg orally once a day.(Andersen, H.F., 2004)
Common Lexapro Side Effects May Include:
- Painful Urination;
- Feeling Anxious, Irritated, Or Agitated;
- Dizziness, Drowsiness, Weakness, Tiredness;
- Increased Muscle Movements, Restlessness, Feeling Shaky;
- Sweating, Increased Thirst, Dry Mouth, Loss Of Appetite;
- Sleep Problems (insomnia);
- Nosebleed, Or Heavy Menstrual Periods;
- Nausea, Constipation;
- Decreased Libido, Difficulty Having An Orgasm.
Call Your Doctor Immediately If You Have:
- Eye Pain Or Swelling, Blurred Vision, Tunnel Vision, Or Seeing Halos Around Lights;
- Pain Or Burning When You Urinate;
- Racing Thoughts
- Unusual Risk-Taking Behavior, Extreme Feelings Of Mania Or Depression;
- Slow Growth Or Weight Gain (In a Child Using Lexapro);
- Low Levels Of Sodium In The Body Causing Headache, Confusion, Loss Of Coordination, Slurred Speech, Severe Weakness, Vomiting;
- Muscle Stiffness, High Fever, Tremors, Sweating, Arrhythmia, Confusion, Fainting.
Get emergency medical assistance if you notice symptoms of an allergic reaction to Lexapro, such as difficulty breathing, skin rash or hives, swelling of your face, tongue, lips, or throat.
Warnings And Precautions
Suppose Lexapro is not quite effective for you. In that case, your healthcare provider will work to provide another medication that may be more suitable for you, such as another SSRI or a different class of antidepressant medication (SNRIs) or (NASSAs). You may also find psychotherapy quite helpful if that option has not already been implemented.
You should only discontinue consumption of Lexapro under the guidance of a medical expert at a recommended time (such as when symptoms have continued to be stable for a certain amount of time). Your doctor will help you to gradually taper off this medication so as to minimize its withdrawal effects.
Using Lexapro with any other drugs that make you drowsy can worsen the effects of Lexapro. Ask your healthcare provider before consuming opioid medications, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, or medications for seizures or anxiety.
Many drugs may interact with Lexapro, and certain drugs should not be consumed at the same time. Let your healthcare provider know about all your current medications and any medications you start or stop using, including prescription or OTC medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Inform your healthcare provider if you use blood thinners such as Coumadin, Warfarin, or Jantoven.(Goa, K.L., 2003)
Study on the efficacy of Escitalopram
Escitalopram is the most selective antidepressant among the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Previous research has suggested that escitalopram is more effective than citalopram. Escitalopram was compared to other antidepressants in a meta-analysis to determine the relative efficacy of these drugs.
Escitalopram was compared to active controls (citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine XR [extended release]) in all randomized, double-blind studies in serious depression.
In this meta-analysis, escitalopram was found to be more effective than the comparator drugs citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, and venlafaxine XR.
The theorized mechanism of action for escitalopram could explain why it is more effective than traditional SSRIs. The data suggested that escitalopram may have a better benefit-risk ratio than other antidepressant drugs due to its favorable tolerability profile based on withdrawals due to side events.