Lexapro contains escitalopram and is used to treat depression (major depressive episodes) and anxiety disorders (such as panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Why have I been prescribed Lexapro?

How does it work?

Lexapro contains an antidepressant drug (Escitalopram) called an SSRI. It increases the amount of a chemical (serotonin) in the brain which is known to be lowered in depression.

When and how do I take it?

  • You can take Lexapro with or without food. Swallow the tablet with some water. Do not chew them, as the taste is bitter.

  • If necessary, you can divide the tablets by firstly placing the tablet on a flat surface with the score facing upwards. The tablets may then be broken by pressing down on each end of the tablet, using both forefingers.

What’s the dose?

Adults  

Depression
The normally recommended dose of Lexapro is 10 mg taken as one daily dose. The dose may be increased by your doctor to a maximum of 20 mg per day.
Panic disorder
The starting dose of Lexapro is 5 mg as one daily dose for the first week before increasing the dose to 10 mg per day. The dose may be further increased by your doctor to a maximum of 20 mg per day.
Social anxiety disorder
The normally recommended dose of Lexapro is 10 mg taken as one daily dose. Your doctor can either decrease your dose to 5 mg per day or increase the dose to a maximum of 20 mg per day, depending on how you respond to the medicine.
Generalised anxiety disorder
The normally recommended dose of Lexapro is 10 mg taken as one daily dose. The dose may be increased by your doctor to a maximum of 20 mg per day.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
The normally recommended dose of Lexapro is 10 mg taken as one daily dose. The dose may be increased by your doctor to a maximum of 20 mg per day.

Elderly patients (above 65 years of age)

The normally recommended starting dose of Lexapro is 5 mg taken as one daily dose.

Could it interact with other tablets?

Please tell your doctor if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines, including medicines obtained without prescription.

Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following medicines:

  • "Non-selective monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)", containing phenelzine, iproniazid, isocarboxazid, nialamide, and tranylcypromine as active ingredients. If you have taken any of these medicines you will need to wait 14 days before you start taking Lexapro. After stopping Lexapro you must allow 7 days before taking any of these medicines.
  • "Reversible, selective MAO-A inhibitors", containing moclobemide (used to treat depression).
  • "Irreversible MAO-B inhibitors", containing selegiline (used to treat Parkinson’s disease). These increase the risk of side effects.
  • The antibiotic linezolid.
  • Lithium (used in the treatment of manic-depressive disorder) and tryptophan.
  • Imipramine and desipramine (both used to treat depression).
  • Sumatriptan and similar medicines (used to treat migraine) and tramadol (used against severe pain). These increase the risk of side effects.
  • Cimetidine and omeprazole (used to treat stomach ulcers), fluvoxamine (antidepressant) and ticlopidine (used to reduce the risk of stroke). These may cause increased blood levels of Lexapro.
  • St. John's Wort (hypericum perforatum) - a herbal remedy used for depression.
  • Acetylsalicyclic acid and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (medicines used for pain relief or to thin the blood, so called anti-coagulant).
  • Warfarin, dipyridamole, and phenprocoumon (medicines used to thin the blood, so called anti-coagulant). Your doctor will probably check the coagulation time of your blood when starting and discontinuing Lexapro in order to verify that your dose of anti-coagulant is still adequate.
  • Mefloquin (used to treat Malaria), bupropion (used to treat depression) and tramadol (used to treat severe pain) due to a possible risk of a lowered threshold for seizures.
  • Neuroleptics (medicines to treat schizophrenia, psychosis) due to a possible risk of a lowered threshold for seizures, and antidepressants.
  • Flecainide, propafenone, and metoprolol (used in cardio-vascular diseases), clomipramine, and nortriptyline (antidepressants) and risperidone, thioridazine, and haloperidol (antipsychotics). The dosage of Lexapro may need to be adjusted.

What are the possible risks or side-effects?

Very common side effects:

  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Blocked or runny nose (sinusitis)
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Anxiety, restlessness, abnormal dreams, difficulties falling asleep, feeling sleepy, dizziness, yawning, tremours, prickling of the skin
  • Diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, dry mouth
  • Increased sweating
  • Pain in muscle and joints (arthralgia and myalgia)
  • Sexual disturbances (delayed ejaculation, problems with erection, decreased sexual drive and women may experience difficulties achieving orgasm)
  • Fatigue, fever
  • Increased weight

Can I drink alcohol while taking it?

  • As with many medicines, combining Lexapro with alcohol is not advisable, although Lexapro is not expected to interact with alcohol.

What if I’m pregnant/breastfeeding?

  • Lexapro should not be used during pregnancy unless absolutely necessary.
  • It is not recommended to take Lexapro and breast feed at the same time.


If you have any more questions please ask your Pharmacist.

Remember to keep all medicines out of reach of children
Please Note
: We have made every effort to ensure that the content of this information sheet is correct at time of publish, but remember that information about drugs may change. This sheet does not list all the uses and side-effects associated with this drug. For full details please see the drug information leaflet which comes with your medicine. Your doctor will assess your medical circumstances and draw your attention to any information or side-effects which may be relevant in your particular case.

References: 

1. Medicines.ie Website- Lexapro SPC http://www.medicines.ie/medicine/6796/SPC/Lexapro+Tablets/

2. Medicines.ie Website- Lexapro PIL