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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 furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). 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.
Tell your doctor about all other antidepressants you take, especially Celexa, Cymbalta, Desyrel, Effexor, Luvox, Oleptro, Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax, Paxil, Pexeva, Viibryd, or Zoloft.
To make sure you can safely take escitalopram, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:
You may have thoughts about suicide while taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening 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. 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.
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 exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
Try to take the medicine at the same time each day. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-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 your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 4 weeks of treatment.
Do not stop using escitalopram suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when you stop using escitalopram.
Store 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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