Drug Class: Antidepressant, SSRI

Table of Contents


Lexapro (Escitalopram) is used to treat depression as well as generalized anxiety disorder. It belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). It may decrease nervousness, improve energy level and improve feelings of well-being.

This medicine works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) back into the nerve cell. This increases the amount of serotonin that is available.

This medicine may be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor or healthcare provider.

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

How to Take It

Follow your doctor’s directions. This medicine is taken orally and may be taken with food or on an empty stomach.

Side Effects

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • drowsiness
  • constipation
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • increased sweating
  • decreased libido

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • vision changes
  • confusion
  • increased thirst
  • seizures
  • unusual weakness or fatigue
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • bloody/black/tarry stools
  • convulsions
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling in ankles, hands or face
  • coma
  • vomiting

Warnings & Precautions

  • Escitalopram is not approved for use in all children. Talk with your doctor to find out if this medication is right for your child.
  • Alcoholic beverages can increase the effects of this medicine and should be avoided.
  • DO NOT take this medication if you are taking pimozide.
  • Tell your doctor if you have irregular heartbeat (long QT syndrome) or low blood magnesium or potassium levels.
  • This medicine can cause dizziness or drowsiness..
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking anticoagulants or diuretics.
  • Older adults may be experience certain side effects of this drug, including bleeding, QT prolongation, or loss of coordination, which may increase the risk of falling. If they are taking “water pills” (diuretics), they may be prone to losing too much salt (hyponatremia).
  • This medicine may take several weeks to reach its full effect. Do not stop taking this medicine without talking to your doctor.
  • For an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. For non emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Drug Interactions

This medication should not be taken with MAO inhibitors. Your doctor or pharmacist can give you more information on MAO inhibitors. Wait 5 weeks after stopping escitalopram before starting a non-selective MAO inhibitor. Wait 2 weeks after stopping an MAO inhibitor before starting escitalopram.

Do not take escitalopram with the herb, St. John’s Wort.

If you are taking medications for migraines such as Imitrex, talk to your doctor before starting escitalopram.

Dosage & Missed Dose

Lexapro is available in tablet form, in 5-, 10-, or 20-mgs. It is also available in liquid form. Most people start by taking 10mg/day for generalized anxiety disorder and depression.

Lexapro is typically taken 1x/day. It may be taken in the morning or at night, with our without food.

If you miss a dose, take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses or take extra medicine to make up for the missed dose.


Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (preferably not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.


If you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using this medicine during your pregnancy. Escitalopram is excreted in the breast milk and should be avoided if you are nursing.

More Information

For more information, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or health care provider, or you can visit this website, https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a603005.html for additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.