(Brand Name: Cipralex, Lexapro)

The following information is a guide only and you must discuss your medication needs with a trained health professional.

Escitalopram was licensed in 2002, and is an active enantiomer of s-citalopram (unlike Citalopram which is a mixture of two stereoisomers: R-citalopram and S-citalopram). Escitalopram is available on prescription in either tablet or liquid drop form which you take with water.

Key Facts:
  • It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for Escitalopram to work
  • Check with your doctor before starting to take Escitalopram if you are trying to become pregnant, or plan to discontinue it if you’re already pregnant or you are breastfeeding
  • Take Escitalopram once a day. You can take it with or without food
  • If you have epilepsy – Escitalopram can increase your seizures so tell your doctor
  • If you have an eye problem called glaucoma please tell your doctor because Escitalopram can increase eye pressure
  • If you have diabetes, Escitalopram can make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar stable. Monitor your blood sugar more often for the first few weeks of taking and consult your doctor
  • In the United States, the FDA require all antidepressants including Escitalopram to carry a warning that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicide in people younger than 25

Medication Information

Skeletal formula of Escitalopram.

Skeletal formula of Escitalopram.

The following information is a guide only,  a doctor may want to try dosages outside these recommended guides.

Form:: Tablets range from 5mg to 20mg. With liquid drops, 1 drop is equivalent to 1mg, 10 drops is 10mg, 20 drops is 20mg.

When: At any time of day, although recommended you stick to the same time every day. If you have trouble sleeping, it’s best to take the medication in the morning.

Child dose: Not recommended for children.

Adult dose: The usual dose for adults is 10mg daily, as a single dose,  however, it may be started at a lower dose and gradually increased to a maximum dose of 20mg a day.

Older people: The usual dose for older people is 5mg initially but this may be increased to a maximum of 10mg daily.

Half-Life: 27-32 hours. If you occasionally forget to take a dose, because of the long half-life don’t worry and if you remember before you go to bed, take it straight away. Carry on as usual the next day. If you only remember during the night, or the next day, leave out the missed dose and carry on as usual the next day.

Drug interactions: Don’t take St John’s wort, the herbal remedy while you are taking Escitalopram as this will increase your risk of side effects.

Pregnancy and Breast Feeding: It’s important for you and your baby that you stay well during your pregnancy. If you become pregnant while taking Escitalopram speak to your doctor, it’s important not to stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.  Ask your doctor to discuss the potential benefits against potential risks of staying on medication whilst pregnant or breastfeeding so that you can make an informed choice about what is right for you and your baby. 

Since the publication of the NICE guidelines (November 2005), Escitalopram is now widely used for the treatment of adults with OCD.

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