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escitalopram (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking escitalopram (Lexapro)?

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.

Do not use escitalopram if you are using an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam). Serious and sometimes fatal reactions can occur when these medicines are taken with escitalopram. You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you can take escitalopram. After you stop taking escitalopram, you must wait at least 14 days before you start taking an MAOI.

Before taking escitalopram, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take escitalopram.

You may have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. SSRI antidepressants may cause serious or life-threatening lung problems in newborn babies whose mothers take the medication during pregnancy. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant during pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, or if you become pregnant while taking escitalopram, do not stop taking the medication without first talking to your doctor.

Escitalopram can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give escitalopram to anyone younger than 12 years old without the advice of a doctor.

How should I take escitalopram (Lexapro)?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from the medication.

Take each dose with a full glass of water.

Try to take the medicine at the same time each day. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

To be sure you get the correct dose of liquid escitalopram, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

It may take 4 weeks or longer before you start feeling better. Do not stop using escitalopram without first talking to your doctor. You may have unpleasant side effects if you stop taking this medication suddenly.

Store escitalopram at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

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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