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Terms Of Use


Brand Name(s) : Cipralex
Side Effects


Escitalopram should be used with caution in: the elderly, women who are pregnant or likely to become pregnant, those under 18 years of age, patients with heart disease, diabetes or epilepsy, those with poor liver or kidney function, previous or current mental diseases such as mania or psychoses, bleeding disorders (especially bleeding from the gut), increased pressure in the eye (known as narrow-angle glaucoma), or who are undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

It should not be used in: patients who are taking a drug called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) within 14 days, women who are breastfeeding, people with abnormal heart rhythm problems, during the manic phase in patients – such as those with bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depression) – who experience this mental symptom.

Also see list of precautions and interactions.


Store below 25°C


What is it used for?

It is a member of a class of antidepressant drugs called the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, sometimes known as SSRIs.

It is used to treat mental health problems.

In general this drug is used to treat depression, but also for other mental conditions known as anxiety disorders (social anxiety disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder and obsessive–compulsive disorder).

Benefits of being on this drug can include relief from depression and panic or anxiety.

Listed below are the typical uses of escitalopram.

  • Depression
  • Social anxiety disorder (sometimes called social phobia; anxiety in social situations)
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (excessive anxiety in normal everyday situations on most days, and which is difficult to control)
  • Panic disorder (recurring and severe panic attacks), with or without agoraphobia (fear of open spaces)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (a type of anxiety characterised by an obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions, such as repeatedly performing trivial or meaningless actions such as cleaning, checking, counting, hoarding, or rearranging items).

On occasion your doctor may prescribe this medicine to treat a condition not on the above list.


How often do I take it?

  • Take this medication orally, usually once daily, with or without food. Tablets should be taken with some water and oral drops can be mixed with water, orange juice or apple juice before drinking.
  • Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it.
  • Remember to use it at the same time each day - unless specifically told otherwise by your doctor.
  • It may take up to several weeks or months before the full benefit of this drug takes effect.
  • Certain medical conditions may require different dosage instructions as directed by your doctor.

What dose?

  • Dosage is based on your age, gender, medical condition, response to therapy, and use of certain interacting medicines.

Do I need to avoid anything?

  • Avoid drinking alcohol. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know if, or whether, escitalopram affects your ability to perform these operations. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When can I stop?

  • It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well, unless your doctor tells you to stop.


  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Increased weight
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Sleepiness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Dizziness
  • Pain in muscles and joints
  • Fever
  • Tingling, numbness or 'pins and needle' sensations (paraesthesia)
  • Sexual problems (e.g. decreased sexual drive, problems with erection or delayed ejaculation in men or difficulties in reaching orgasm in women).

Only the most common side effects have been listed. Further information about other side-effects can be found in the patient information leaflet.

If any of these persist or you consider them severe then inform your doctor.

Tell your doctor immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms: feeling more depressed and/or thinking about suicide; having a fit (seizure); blurred vision; unusual bleeding (vomit blood or develop black or blood stained stools); are unable to produce water (urinate); some or all of the following symptoms of serotonin syndrome (confusion, irritability, restlessness, excessive sweating, shaking, shivering, hallucinations, fast heart beat and muscle twitches); any manic symptoms (e.g. rapid speech, racing thoughts, severely elevated mood [euphoria]).

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

The Yellow Card Scheme allows you to report suspected side effects from any type of medicine (which includes vaccines, herbals and over the counter medicines) that you are taking. It is run by the medicines safety watchdog called the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory agency (MHRA). Please report any suspected side effect on the Yellow Card Scheme website.


Before taking escitalopram, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI); or if you have any other allergies.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: any mental disorders (particularly schizophrenia or bipolar disorder), epilepsy, liver or kidney disease or any sort of heart or blood disorder, diabetes, increased pressure in the eye (glaucoma), or are undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially any of the following: any previous mental disorders or epilepsy, any bleeding disorders (especially bleeding from the gut), any heart rhythm problems.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Does alcohol intake affect this drug?

  • Possibly. Avoid alcohol whilst taking escitalopram.

The elderly: escitalopram should be used with caution in the elderly as it may not be metabolised as efficiently as in younger patients.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding - please ensure you read the detailed information below


The safety of escitalopram has not been established during pregnancy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any doubts or questions about this.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during pregnancy whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Escitalopram is not safe to take if you are breastfeeding.

It is sensible to limit use of medication during breastfeeding whenever possible. However, your doctor may decide that the benefits outweigh the risks in individual circumstances and after a careful assessment of your specific health situation.

If you have any doubts or concerns you are advised to discuss the medicine with your doctor or pharmacist.


Your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with them first.

This drug should not be used with the following medications because very serious, possibly fatal interactions may occur:

  • Other antidepressants (monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs], including the reversible MAOI, moclobemibe; St John's Wort)
  • Antimalarial agents (artemether/lumefantrine)
  • The antibiotic linezolid

If you are currently using any of these medications, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting escitalopram.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and non-prescription/herbal products you may use, especially of:

  • The beta-blocker, metoprolol
  • Antiepileptic drugs, used to control fits (e.g. carbamazepine, phenytoin and primadone)
  • Antidepressants/anti-mania drugs (tryptophan and lithium)
  • Blood-thinning drugs (e.g. warfarin)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. aspirin or ibuprofen) and some other drugs for pain relief (tramodol)
  • Serotonin (5HT1) agonists (e.g. the anti-migraine drug sumatriptan)
  • Antiviral agents (ritonavir)
  • Dopaminergics used in Parkinson's disease (rasagiline and selegiline)
  • Ulcer-healing drugs (e.g. cimetidine and omeprazole)

This information does not contain all possible interactions. Therefore, before using escitalopram, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the products you use.


Symptoms of an overdose include: dizziness, tremor, agitation, fits, coma (unable to wake), feeling sick (nausea), changes in heart beat (which may become fast or irregular) and low blood pressure.

If you think you, or someone you care for, might have accidentally taken more than the recommended dose of escitalopram or intentional overdose is suspected, contact your local hospital, GP or if in England call 111. In Scotland call NHS 24. In Wales, call NHS Direct Wales. In the case of medical emergencies, always dial 999.


If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

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Source: Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by Boots UK Limited. This copyrighted material is sourced from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorised by the applicable terms of use.
CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgement of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse events, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular medicine is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any medicine, changing any diet, or discontinuing any course of treatment.

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