What should I know before taking this drug
Additional information if any
Escitalopram is a prescription drug available from your pharmacy store only with the prescription of a qualified medical practitioner.
Escitalopram is pronounced as: es- sye-TAL-oh-pram
Escitalopram is an Anti depressant belonging to a group of drugs called as Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
Escitalopram is used for treating Depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder and in the management of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
- Take escitalopram exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If do not understand these instructions ask your pharmacist, nurse or doctor to explain them to you.
- Take escitalopram at regular intervals as advised by your doctor for it to be effective.
- Escitalopram may take up to 3-4 wks to show its beneficial effects. However continue to take it as advised.
- Do not take the medication in larger amounts or for longer duration than recommended by your doctor.
- Do not skip doses or stop taking escitalopram without consulting your doctor as it may worsen your symptoms.
- Always remember to inform your health expert if you are currently taking any OTC or prescription drugs like,
- Aspirin (NSAIDs)
- Oral anticoagulant like warfarin
- Lithium (mood stabilizer)
- Anti histamine like Terfenadine , Astemizole, cimetidine
- Anti arrhythmic like Propafenone, Flecainide
- Other anti depressants like Amitriptyline, fluoxetine, imipramine
- Inform your doctor if you have following medical diseases , as escitalopram should be used cautiously in these conditions
- History of suicide attempt or thoughts
- History or acute myocardial infarction (heart attack)
- Seizure disorder
- Liver or kidney disease
Do not use escitalopram if you have taken Mono amine Oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) like Phenelzine, Selegiline, rasagiline, Linezolid etc as it may cause life threatening reaction. Wait for at least 14 days after stopping MAO inhibitors to start taking the new medication.
Old people: Escitalopram should be used cautiously in older people as they more prone for side effects like muscle stiffness, involuntary movements etc
Pregnant woman: Escitalopram belongs to FDA pregnancy category C. This means that escitalopram may harm an unborn baby if used during pregnancy but potential benefit may warrant use of the drug in pregnant woman despite potential risks. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning for conception.
Lactating women: It is not known whether escitalopram passes into breast milk or if it could harm the baby. Do not take escitalopram with out first talking to doctor if you are breast feeding a baby.
Other: Avoid alcohol and other sedative drugs as it may increase side effects due to escitalopram.
Escitalopram is available in the form of tablet.
Use as directed by your physician, your physician prescribes depending on the severity of disease.
Use the complete course of medication as prescribed by your physician even though you feel better after one or two days of usage of medication.
If it is almost the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at same time to cover up the missed dose.
In case of overdose contact your nearest poison control centre or emergency medical centre for immediate care by physician.
The overdose symptoms of Escitalopram include
- Fast/ slow irregular heart rate
Escitalopram may cause following side effects
- Giddiness on changing posture
- Decrease in sexual drive or performance
- Difficulty in sleeping (Insomnia)
Consult your doctor immediately if notice following symptoms.
- Allergic reaction like swollen lips, hives, difficulty in breathing, rashes. Peeling of skin etc
- Uncontrolled movements of the hands, legs, tongue, face
- Tremors, Jerking movements or stiffness
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Fever, sweating, Muscle stiffness
- Worsening of agitation, aggressiveness
- Severe mental or mood changes
Store escitalopram at room temp (15 – 30 degrees C). Avoid excessive heat, moisture or direct sunlight, never store in the bathroom.
Keep it out of reach of children. Make sure that any leftover portion is disposed off safely.
- Escitalopram increases the risk for suicidal thoughts or actions, worsening of depression, mood and behavioural changes especially in teenagers, young adults < 25 yrs. Care givers and family members should watch the patients closely and consult the doctor immediately if they notice any such symptoms.
- Escitalopram may cause dizziness when getting up from sitting or lying down position due to postural hypotension. Use precaution while changing posture to avoid falling down.
- Escitalopram may rarely cause a group of symptoms called as Serotonin syndrome especially when used concurrently with MAO inhibitors which is characterised by nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating, tremors, fever, rapid irregular heart rate, agitation, confusion, hallucination etc, stop the drug immediately and consult your doctor.
- Escitalopram causes giddiness, drowsiness and visual disturbances as side effects. Therefore when affected do not drive, operate heavy machinery or perform unsafe tasks.
- Escitalopram can cause prolonged painful erection even when not having sex. When affected Consult your doctor immediately as it may lead to permanent sexual disability.
It is imp to read manufacturing packaging instruction carefully if available and always do not hesitate to consult pharmacist or physician for any information.
Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: November 16,2011