Lexapro (escitalopram) is an antidepressant belonging to 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. Lexapro is used to treat anxiety in adults. Lexapro is also used to treat major depressive disorder in adults and adolescents who are at least 12 years old. Lexapro may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
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You should not use Lexapro if you also take pimozide, or if you are being treated with methylene blue injection. Do not use Lexapro if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.
Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using Lexapro. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Lexapro should not be given to a child younger than 12 years old.
Before taking Lexapro
It is dangerous to try and purchase Lexapro 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.
You should not use Lexapro
If you are allergic to escitalopram or citalopram (Celexa), or if: you also take pimozide; or you are being treated with methylene blue injection. Do not use Lexapro if you have taken an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, and tranylcypromine. After you stop taking Lexapro, you must wait at least 14 days before you start taking an MAOI. To make sure Lexapro is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have: liver or kidney disease; seizures or epilepsy; diabetes; heart disease; bipolar disorder (manic depression); or a history of drug abuse or suicidal thoughts.
Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using Lexapro. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
Taking an SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy may cause serious lung problems or other complications in the baby. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking Lexapro. Do not start or stop taking this medicine during pregnancy without your doctor's advice.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings
Escitalopram can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. Lexapro should not be given to a child younger than 12 years old.
How should I take Lexapro?
Take Lexapro exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Try to take Lexapro 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. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one. It may take up to 4 weeks or longer before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve. Do not stop using Lexapro suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose. Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid?
Avoid taking tryptophan while you are taking Lexapro. Ask your doctor before taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for pain, arthritis, fever, or swelling. This includes aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam, and others. Using an NSAID with escitalopram may cause you to bruise or bleed easily. Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of Lexapro. Lexapro may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Lexapro side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Lexapro: 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: 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; racing thoughts, unusual risk-taking behavior, feelings of extreme happiness or sadness; or headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, fainting, seizure, shallow breathing or breathing that stops.
Common Lexapro side effects may include:
drowsiness, tired feeling; sleep problems (insomnia); mild nausea, gas, heartburn, upset stomach, constipation; weight changes; decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm; or increased sweating. This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
What other drugs will affect Lexapro?
Taking Lexapro with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can increase these effects. Ask your doctor before taking this medicine with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment with Lexapro, especially: any other antidepressant; buspirone; lithium; St. John's wort; tryptophan (sometimes called L-tryptophan); a blood thinner such as warfarin, Coumadin; migraine headache medication--sumatriptan, rizatriptan, and others; or pain medication--fentanyl or tramadol. This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with Lexapro, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
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