Antidepressant Basics: Lexapro
Generic Name: Escitalopram
Brand Names: • Lexapro • Cipralex
Class: Antidepressant, Tricyclic
Updated: July 2014
What Is It?
Lexapro® (escitalopram oxalate) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for oral administration.
LEXAPRO is indicated for the acute and maintenance treatment of major depressive disorder in adults and in adolescents 12 to 17 years of age, and for the acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults.
Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. 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.
This medication guide does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider if there is something you do not understand or want to learn more about.
Do not start or stop taking this medicine during pregnancy without your doctor’s advice.
Who Should Not Take Lexapro?
Do not take Lexapro if you: 1) are allergic to escitalopram oxalate or citalopram hydrobromide or any of the ingredients in Lexapro. See the end of this section for a complete list of ingredients in Escitalopram Oxalate Tablets; 2) take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or have taken an MAOI in the past 14 days. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take an MAOI, including the antibiotic linezolid. Do not take an MAOI within 2 weeks of stopping Lexapro unless directed to do so by your physician. Do not start Lexapro if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks unless directed to do so by your physician. MAOIs include Parnate (Tranylcypromine), Nardil (Phenelzine), Emsam (Selegiline transdermal), and Marplan (Isocarboxazid).
Do not give Lexapro to anyone younger than 18 years old without the advice of a doctor.
Before Starting Lexapro
Tell your healthcare provider about: 1) any medical conditions you have, including liver, kidney, or blood disease; 2) current pregnancy or plans to become pregnant; 3) current breastfeeding or plans to breastfeed; 4) any and all medications and supplements you are taking; 5) any thoughts or feelings of suicide. 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.
Patients should be told that the concomitant use of Lexapro and alcohol is not advised. Patients should inform their physician if they are taking, or plan to take, any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, as there is a potential for interactions. Patients should notify their physician if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy. Patients should notify their physician if they are breast feeding an infant. While patients may notice improvement with Lexapro therapy, they should be advised to continue therapy as directed.
Ingredients of LEXAPRO:
Active ingredient: escitalopram oxalate. Inactive ingredients: Tablets: talc, croscarmellose sodium, microcrystalline cellulose/colloidal silicon dioxide, and magnesium stearate. The film coating contains hypromellose, titanium dioxide, and polyethylene glycol. Oral Solution: sorbitol, purified water, citric acid, sodium citrate, malic acid, glycerin, propylene glycol, methylparaben, propylparaben, and natural peppermint flavor. Lexapro oral solution contains escitalopram oxalate equivalent to 1 mg/mL escitalopram base.
Indications and Usage
Lexapro (escitalopram) is indicated for the acute and maintenance treatment of major depressive disorder in adults and in adolescents 12 to 17 years of age. A major depressive episode (DSM-IV) implies a prominent and relatively persistent (nearly every day for at least 2 weeks) depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning, and includes at least five of the following nine symptoms: depressed mood, loss of interest in usual activities, significant change in weight and/or appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, increased fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation.
Lexapro is indicated for the acute treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults. Generalized anxiety disorder (DSM-IV) is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation) that is persistent for at least 6 months and which the person finds difficult to control. It must be associated with at least 3 of the following symptoms: restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.
Off-label use of Lexapro includes obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
The physician who elects to use Lexapro for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
The use of MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders with Lexapro or within 14 days of stopping treatment with Lexapro is contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. The use of Lexapro within 14 days of stopping an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders is also contraindicated. Starting Lexapro in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue is also contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome.
Concomitant use in patients taking pimozide is contraindicated.
Hypersensitivity to escitalopram or citalopram
Lexapro is contraindicated in patients with a hypersensitivity to escitalopram or citalopram or any of the inactive ingredients in Lexapro.
Common Side Effects with percent reported
Dermatologic: Diaphoresis (3% to 8% )
Gastrointestinal: Abdominal pain (2% ), Constipation (3% to 6% ), Diarrhea (6% to 14% ), Indigestion (2% to 6% ), Nausea (15% to 18% ), Vomiting (up to 3% ), Xerostomia (4% to 9% )
Neurologic: Dizziness (4% to 7% ), Headache (24% ), Insomnia (7% to 14% ), Somnolence (4% to 13% )
Reproductive: Disorder of ejaculation (9% to 14%), Impotence (3% ), Orgasm incapacity (females, 2% to 6% ), Reduced libido (3% to 7% )
Other: Fatigue (5% to 8% )
Serious Side Effects
Psychiatric: Depression worsening, Suicidal thoughts, Suicide
Other: Serotonin syndrome
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs
Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of Lexapro or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants
compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Lexapro is not approved for use in pediatric patients less than 12 years of age.
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide. It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.
All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases. Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to healthcare providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for Lexapro should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder
A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. It should be noted that Lexapro is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.
In clinical trials of escitalopram, there were reports of escitalopram overdose, including overdoses of up to 600 mg, with no associated fatalities. During the postmarketing evaluation of escitalopram, Lexapro overdoses involving overdoses of over 1000 mg have been reported. As with other SSRIs, a fatal outcome in a patient who has taken an overdose of escitalopram has been rarely reported. Symptoms most often accompanying escitalopram overdose, alone or in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol, included convulsions, coma, dizziness, hypotension, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, sinus tachycardia, somnolence, and ECG changes (including QT prolongation and very rare cases of torsade de pointes). Acute renal failure has been very rarely reported accompanying overdose.
Management of Overdose
Establish and maintain an airway to ensure adequate ventilation and oxygenation. Gastric evacuation by lavage and use of activated charcoal should be considered. Careful observation and cardiac and vital sign monitoring are recommended, along with general symptomatic and supportive care. Due to the large volume of distribution of escitalopram, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit. There are no specific antidotes for Lexapro. In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple-drug involvement. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose.
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women; therefore, escitalopram should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Neonates exposed to Lexapro and other SSRIs or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), late in the third trimester have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications can arise immediately upon delivery. Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs and SNRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome. It should be noted that, in some cases, the clinical picture is consistent with serotonin syndrome. Infants exposed to SSRIs in pregnancy may have an increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN occurs in 1 – 2 per 1,000 live births in the general population and is associated with substantial neonatal morbidity and mortality. Several recent epidemiologic studies suggest a positive statistical association between SSRI use (including Lexapro) in pregnancy and PPHN. Other studies do not show a significant statistical association. Physicians should also note the results of a prospective longitudinal study of 201 pregnant women with a history of major depression, who were either on antidepressants or had received antidepressants less than 12 weeks prior to their last menstrual period, and were in remission. Women who discontinued antidepressant medication during pregnancy showed a significant increase in relapse of their major depression compared to those women who remained on antidepressant medication throughout pregnancy.
In a rat embryo/fetal development study, oral administration of escitalopram (56, 112, or 150 mg/kg/day) to pregnant animals during the period of organogenesis resulted in decreased fetal body weight and associated delays in ossification at the two higher doses (approximately ≥ 56 times the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD] of 20 mg/day on a body surface area [mg/m2] basis). Maternal toxicity (clinical signs and decreased body weight gain and food consumption), mild at 56 mg/kg/day, was present at all dose levels. The developmental no-effect dose of 56 mg/kg/day is approximately 28 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis. No teratogenicity was observed at any of the doses tested (as high as 75 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis). When female rats were treated with escitalopram (6, 12, 24, or 48 mg/kg/day) during pregnancy and through weaning, slightly increased offspring mortality and growth retardation were noted at 48 mg/kg/day which is approximately 24 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis. Slight maternal toxicity (clinical signs and decreased body weight gain and food consumption) was seen at this dose. Slightly increased offspring mortality was also seen at 24 mg/kg/day. The no-effect dose was 12 mg/kg/day which is approximately 6 times the MRHD on a mg/m2 basis. In animal reproduction studies, racemic citalopram has been shown to have adverse effects on embryo/fetal and postnatal development, including teratogenic effects, when administered at doses greater than human therapeutic doses. In two rat embryo/fetal development studies, oral administration of racemic citalopram (32, 56, or 112 mg/kg/day) to pregnant animals during the period of organogenesis resulted in decreased embryo/fetal growth and survival and an increased incidence of fetal abnormalities (including cardiovascular and skeletal defects) at the high dose. This dose was also associated with maternal toxicity (clinical signs, decreased body weight gain). The developmental no-effect dose was 56 mg/kg/day. In a rabbit study, no adverse effects on embryo/fetal development were observed at doses of racemic citalopram of up to 16 mg/kg/day. Thus, teratogenic effects of racemic citalopram were observed at a maternally toxic dose in the rat and were not observed in the rabbit. When female rats were treated with racemic citalopram (4.8, 12.8, or 32 mg/kg/day) from late gestation through weaning, increased offspring mortality during the first 4 days after birth and persistent offspring growth retardation were observed at the highest dose. The no-effect dose was 12.8 mg/kg/day. Similar effects on offspring mortality and growth were seen when dams were treated throughout gestation and early lactation at doses ≥ 24 mg/kg/day. A no-effect dose was not determined in that study.
Labor and Delivery
The effect of Lexapro on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.
Escitalopram is excreted in human breast milk. Limited data from women taking 10-20 mg escitalopram showed that exclusively breast-fed infants receive approximately 3.9% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose of escitalopram and 1.7% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose of desmethylcitalopram. There were two reports of infants experiencing excessive somnolence, decreased feeding, and weight loss in association with breastfeeding from a racemic citalopram-treated mother; in one case, the infant was reported to recover completely upon discontinuation of racemic citalopram by its mother and, in the second case, no follow-up information was available. Caution should be exercised and breastfeeding infants should be observed for adverse reactions when Lexapro is administered to a nursing woman.
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome has been reported with SNRIs and SSRIs, including Lexapro, alone but particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, busipirone, and St. John’s Wort) and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin (in particular MAOIs, both those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and also others, such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue). Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination),seizures, and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome. The concomitant use of Lexapro with MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders is contraindicated. Lexapro should also not be started in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. All reports with methylene blue that provided information on the route of administration involved intravenous administration in the dose range of 1 mg/kg to 8 mg/kg. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection) or at lower doses. There may be circumstances when it is necessary to initiate treatment with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking Lexapro. Lexapro should be discontinued before initiating treatment with the MAOI. If concomitant use of Lexapro with other serotonergic drugs, including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, buspirone, tryptophan and St. John’s Wort is clinically warranted, patients should be made aware of a potential increased risk for serotonin syndrome, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases. Treatment with Lexapro and any concomitant serotonergic agents, should be discontinued immediately if the above events occur and supportive symptomatic treatment should be initiated.
Consult with a doctor for a complete list of Warnings and Precautions
Lexapro® (escitalopram oxalate) is an orally administered selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Escitalopram is the pure Senantiomer (single isomer) of the racemic bicyclic phthalane derivative citalopram. Escitalopram oxalate is designated S-(+)-1-[3(dimethyl-amino)propyl]-1-(p-fluorophenyl)-5-phthalancarbonitrile oxalate. The molecular formula is C20H21FN2O • C2H2O4 and the molecular weight is 414.40. Escitalopram oxalate occurs as a fine, white to slightly-yellow powder and is freely soluble in methanol and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), soluble in isotonic saline solution, sparingly soluble in water and ethanol, slightly soluble in ethyl acetate, and insoluble in heptane. Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate) is available as tablets or as an oral solution. Lexapro tablets are film-coated, round tablets containing escitalopram oxalate in strengths equivalent to 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg escitalopram base. The 10 and 20 mg tablets are scored. The tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients: talc, croscarmellose sodium, microcrystalline cellulose/colloidal silicon dioxide, and magnesium stearate. The film coating contains hypromellose, titanium dioxide, and polyethylene glycol. Lexapro oral solution contains escitalopram oxalate equivalent to 1 mg/mL escitalopram base. It also contains the following inactive
ingredients: sorbitol, purified water, citric acid, sodium citrate, malic acid, glycerin, propylene glycol, methylparaben, propylparaben, and natural peppermint flavor.
Mechanism Of Action
The mechanism of antidepressant action of escitalopram, the S-enantiomer of racemic citalopram, is presumed to be linked to potentiation of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system (CNS) resulting from its inhibition of CNS neuronal reuptake of serotonin (5-HT).
In vitro and in vivo studies in animals suggest that escitalopram is a highly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with minimal effects on norepinephrine and dopamine neuronal reuptake. Escitalopram is at least 100-fold more potent than the R-enantiomer with respect to inhibition of 5-HT reuptake and inhibition of 5-HT neuronal firing rate. Tolerance to a model of antidepressant effect in rats was not induced by long-term (up to 5 weeks) treatment with escitalopram. Escitalopram has no or very low affinity for serotonergic (5-HT1-7) or other receptors including alpha- and beta-adrenergic, dopamine (D1-5), histamine (H1-3), muscarinic (M1-5), and benzodiazepine receptors. Escitalopram also does not bind to, or has low affinity for, various ion channels including Na+, K+, Cl-, and Ca++ channels. Antagonism of muscarinic, histaminergic, and adrenergic receptors has been hypothesized to be associated with various anticholinergic, sedative, and cardiovascular side effects of other psychotropic drugs.
The single- and multiple-dose pharmacokinetics of escitalopram are linear and dose-proportional in a dose range of 10 to 30 mg/day. Biotransformation of escitalopram is mainly hepatic, with a mean terminal half-life of about 27-32 hours. With once-daily dosing, steady state plasma concentrations are achieved within approximately one week. At steady state, the extent of accumulation of escitalopram in plasma in young healthy subjects was 2.2-2.5 times the plasma concentrations observed after a single dose. The tablet and the oral solution dosage forms of escitalopram oxalate are bioequivalent.
Absorption and Distribution
Following a single oral dose (20 mg tablet or solution) of escitalopram, peak blood levels occur at about 5 hours. Absorption of escitalopram is not affected by food. The absolute bioavailability of citalopram is about 80% relative to an intravenous dose, and the volume of distribution of citalopram is about 12 L/kg. Data specific on escitalopram are unavailable. The binding of escitalopram to human plasma proteins is approximately 56%.
Following oral administrations of escitalopram, the fraction of drug recovered in the urine as escitalopram and S-demethylcitalopram (S-DCT) is about 8% and 10%, respectively. The oral clearance of escitalopram is 600 mL/min, with approximately 7% of that due to renal clearance. Escitalopram is metabolized to S-DCT and S-didemethylcitalopram (S-DDCT). In humans, unchanged escitalopram is the predominant compound in plasma. At steady state, the concentration of the escitalopram metabolite S-DCT in plasma is approximately one-third that of escitalopram. The level of S-DDCT was not detectable in most subjects. In vitro studies show that escitalopram is at least 7 and 27 times more potent than S-DCT and S-DDCT, respectively, in the inhibition of serotonin reuptake,
suggesting that the metabolites of escitalopram do not contribute significantly to the antidepressant actions of escitalopram. S-DCT and S-DDCT also have no or very low affinity for serotonergic (5-HT1-7) or other receptors including alpha- and beta-adrenergic, dopamine (D1-5), histamine (H1-3), muscarinic (M1-5), and benzodiazepine receptors. S-DCT and S-DDCT also do not bind to various ion channels including Na+, K+, Cl-, and Ca++ channels. In vitro studies using human liver microsomes indicated that CYP3A4 and CYP2C19 are the primary isozymes involved in the N
demethylation of escitalopram.
Approximately 6% of the 1144 patients receiving escitalopram in controlled trials of Lexapro in major depressive disorder and GAD were 60 years of age or older; elderly patients in these trials received daily doses of Lexapro between 10 and 20 mg. The number of elderly patients in these trials was insufficient to adequately assess for possible differential efficacy and safety measures on the basis of age. Nevertheless, greater sensitivity of some elderly individuals to effects of Lexapro cannot be ruled out. SSRIs and SNRIs, including Lexapro, have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event.
Safety and effectiveness of Lexapro has not been established in pediatric patients (less than 12 years of age) with Major Depressive Disorder. Safety and effectiveness of Lexapro has been established in adolescents (12 to 17 years of age) for the treatment of major depressive disorder [see Clinical Studies (14.1)]. Although maintenance efficacy in adolescent patients with Major Depressive Disorder has not been systematically evaluated, maintenance efficacy can be extrapolated from adult data along with comparisons of escitalopram pharmacokinetic parameters in adults and adolescent patients. Safety and effectiveness of Lexapro has not been established in pediatric patients less than 18 years of age with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Decrease appetite and weight loss have been observed in association with the use of SSRIs. Consequently, regular monitoring of weight and growth should be performed in children and adolescents treated with an SSRI such as Lexapro.
Hepatic and Renal Disease
10 mg/day is the recommended dose for most elderly patients and patients with hepatic impairment. No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with mild or moderate renal impairment. Lexapro should be used with caution in patients with severe renal impairment.
Drug-Drug Interactions Including P450 Interactions
In vitro studies indicated that CYP3A4 and -2C19 are the primary enzymes involved in the metabolism of escitalopram. However, coadministration of escitalopram (20 mg) and ritonavir (600 mg), a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of escitalopram. Because escitalopram is metabolized by multiple enzyme systems, inhibition of a single enzyme may not appreciably decrease escitalopram clearance. In vitro studies did not reveal an inhibitory effect of escitalopram on CYP2D6. In addition, steady state levels of racemic citalopram were not significantly different in poor metabolizers and extensive CYP2D6 metabolizers after multiple-dose administration of citalopram, suggesting that coadministration, with escitalopram, of a drug that inhibits CYP2D6, is unlikely to have clinically significant effects on escitalopram metabolism. However, there are limited in vivo data suggesting a modest CYP2D6 inhibitory effect for escitalopram, i.e., coadministration of escitalopram (20 mg/day for 21 days) with the tricyclic antidepressant desipramine (single dose of 50 mg), a substrate for CYP2D6, resulted in a 40% increase in Cmax and a 100% increase in AUC of desipramine. The clinical significance of this finding is unknown. Nevertheless, caution is indicated in the coadministration of escitalopram and drugs metabolized by CYP2D6.
Dosage and Administration
Dosage Forms and Strengths
Escitalopram Tablets are available in the following strengths, colors, imprints, and presentations:
• 5 mg Tablets: White to off-white, round, non-scored, film-coated. Imprint “FL” on one side of the tablet and “5” on the other side.
Bottle of 100 NDC # 0456-2005-01
• 10 mg Tablets: White to off-white, round, scored, film-coated. Imprint on scored side with “F” on the left side and “L” on the right side. Imprint on the non-scored side with “10”.
Bottle of 100 NDC # 0456-2010-01
10 x 10 Unit Dose NDC # 0456-2010-63
• 20 mg Tablets: White to off-white, round, scored, film-coated. Imprint on scored side with “F” on the left side and “L” on the right side. Imprint on the non-scored side with “20”.
Bottle of 100 NDC # 0456-2020-01
10 x 10 Unit Dose NDC # 0456-2020-63
• Oral Solution
5 mg/5 mL, peppermint flavor (240 mL) NDC # 0456-2101-08
The recommended starting dose of Lexapro is 10 mg once daily. If the dose is increased to 20 mg, this should occur after a minimum of one week.
Maintenance/Continuation Extended Treatment
Generalized anxiety disorder is recognized as a chronic condition. The efficacy of Lexapro in the treatment of GAD beyond 8 weeks has not been systematically studied. The physician who elects to use Lexapro for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
Discontinuation of Treatment
Symptoms associated with discontinuation of Lexapro and other SSRIs and SNRIs have been reported. Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate.