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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Lexapro

Generic Name: escitalopram (Pronunciation: ES sye TAL oh pram)

What is escitalopram (Lexapro)?

Escitalopram is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Escitalopram affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression or anxiety.

Escitalopram is used to treat anxiety in adults and major depressive disorder in adults and adolescents who are at least 12 years old.

Escitalopram may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Lexapro 10 mg

round, white, imprinted with F L, 10

Lexapro 20 mg

round, white, imprinted with F L, 20

Lexapro 5 mg

round, white, imprinted with FL, 5

What are the possible side effects of escitalopram (Lexapro)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out;
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, feeling unsteady, loss of coordination; or
  • headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • drowsiness, dizziness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • mild nausea, gas, heartburn, upset stomach, constipation;
  • weight changes;
  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; or
  • dry mouth, yawning, ringing in your ears.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about escitalopram (Lexapro)?

Do not take escitalopram together with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAOI before you can take escitalopram. After you stop taking escitalopram, you must wait at least 14 days before you start taking an MAOI.

You may have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this medication. Escitalopram may cause heart defects or serious lung problems in a newborn if you take the medication during pregnancy. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant. Do not start or stop taking escitalopram during pregnancy without your doctor's advice.

It is dangerous to try and purchase escitalopram on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. Samples of escitalopram purchased on the Internet have been found to contain haloperidol (Haldol), a potent antipsychotic drug with dangerous side effects. For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or visit www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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