Lexapro

es sye tal’ oh pram


Other Names:Escitalopram

Why is this medication prescribed?
Lexapro is used to treat depression. Lexapro is in a class of antidepressants (mood elevators) called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.

How should this medicine be used?
Lexapro comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken once a day with or without food. To help you remember to take Lexapro, take it around the same time every day, in the morning or in the evening. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Lexapro exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor. 

Your doctor may start you on a low dose of Lexapro and increase your dose after 1 week.

It may take 1-4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of Lexapro. Continue to take Lexapro even if you feel well. Do not stop taking Lexapro without talking to your doctor, especially if you have taken large doses for a long time. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. What special precautions should I follow? Before taking Lexapro,

  • tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to Lexapro, citalopram (Celexa), or any other medications. 

  • do not take Lexapro if you are taking an MAO inhibitor such as phenelzine (Nardil) or tranylcypromine (Parnate) or have stopped taking them in the last 2 weeks. 

  • you should know that Lexapro is very similar to another SSRI, citalopram (Celexa). You should not take these two medications together. 

  • tell your doctor or pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention anticoagulants (‘blood thinners’) such as warfarin (Coumadin); antihistamines; carbamazepine (Tegretol); cimetidine (Tagamet); ketoconazole (Sporanox); lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid, Lithotabs); medications for anxiety, mental illness, or seizures; metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL); other antidepressants such as desipramine (Norpramin); sedatives; sleeping pills; sumatriptan (Imitrex); and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. 

  • tell your doctor if you have recently had a heart attack and if you have or have ever had bipolar disorder; seizures; or liver, kidney, thyroid, or heart disease. 

  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking Lexapro, call your doctor. 

  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking Lexapro. 

  • you should know that escitalopram may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. 

  • remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication. 


What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?
Lexapro may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • upset stomach
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • changes in sex drive or ability
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • drowsiness
  • increased sweating
  • dizziness
  • heartburn
  • stomach pain
  • excessive tiredness
  • dry mouth
  • increased appetite
  • flu-like symptoms
  • runny nose
  • sneezing

Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience either of them, call your doctor immediately:

  • unusual excitement
  • seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)

Lexapro may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication. What storage conditions are needed for this medication? Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication. What other information should I know? Keep all appointments with your doctor .

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 16.02.
Revision date: July 9, 2011
Last revised: by Tatiana Kuznetsova, D.M.D.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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