Are you taking, or considering taking, Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex) for depression or anxiety? This page provides information on the medication’s benefits, side effects, and other properties.
Type of Medication: SSRI
Escitalopram is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, related to Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Seropram). Technically, Escitalopram is a chemically ‘cleaner’ version of Citalopram. While Citalopram is a mixture of two molecules, identical except for being mirror images of each other, Escitalopram is only the molecule which displays the antidepressant action. (From the manufacturer’s information pamphlet: “Escitalopram is the pure S-enantiomer (single isomer) of the racemic bicyclic phthalane derivative citalopram”, p. 1.) As a result, Escitalopram may have slightly fewer side effects and may even be slightly more effective.
Variants include Lexapro, Cipralex.
Benefits of Escitalopram (Lexapro) for Depression and Anxiety
Escitalopram is widely prescribed to help treat depression, and it is also used in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder. It is highly selective in its action on the neurotransmitter serotonin and shows minimal effects on norepinephrine and dopamine neuronal reuptake.
Side Effects of Escitalopram (Lexapro)
Please note that the following side effects include only some of the most common and somewhat less common but do not include rarer side effects; the list is not exhaustive. Many people taking Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex) experience none of these side effects. Please consult a physician about any unusual symptoms.
The most commonly observed adverse side effects of Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex) include:
- ejaculation disorder (primarily ejaculatory delay)
- decreased libido
- increased sweating
Some of the less common side effects of Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex) include:
Escitalopram (Lexapro) and Alcohol
Although Escitalopram (Lexapro, Cipralex) has not been shown to potentiate the cognitive or motor effects of alcohol, the manufacturer recommends against the use of alcohol with the medication.
Stopping Escitalopram (Lexapro): Discontinuation Effects or Withdrawal Symptoms
It is best to consult a physician before discontinuing SSRIs. Adverse events reported upon discontinuation of this medication, according to the manufacturer, have included:
- dysphoric mood
- sensory disturbances (e.g. paresthesias such as electric shock sensations)
- emotional lability
- insomnia, and
Note that these discontinuation effects have been particularly prominent when the medication is discontinued abruptly.
Should You Buy Escitalopram (Lexapro) Online?
Particularly in the United States, many individuals choose to purchase medications online, either for reasons of cost savings, privacy, or both. Both brand-name Lexapro and so-called ‘generic Lexapro’ (i.e., Escitalopram without the Lexapro brand name) can sometimes be purchased at deep discounts (and sometimes without a prescription) in this way. Before undertaking any purchase of medications online, however — and certainly if you are contemplating doing so without a prior prescription — please consider the integrity of the supplier and the national and/or local laws which may apply where you live.
For more on the political and safety controversies about buying drugs online (including VIPPS, price-gouging, and more) see our separate site MedsDebate.com.
Information Sources and Disclaimer
The information provided here has been summarized in good faith purely for educational purposes. It is not intended in any way to replace the advice of a qualified medical professional. Please do not take any action on the basis of information contained here without consulting a physician. Unless otherwise specified, information is intended to apply only to adult use of the medication. Drug interaction precautions have not been included; please consult another source for this information.
All registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
- United States FDA-approved Product Insert for Lexapro (PDF)
- Your Medicines — Any Questions?
- British National Formulary
- Medication Reference Materials
- Drug Information by Generic Name
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- Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil, Seropram) for Depression
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- Drug Information by Generic Name
All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more clinical psychologists or other qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .on and was last reviewed or updated by