Escitalopram is used to treat depression.
This medicine may also be used to treat other mood disorders as decided by your doctor.
Take Escitalopram exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instruction on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at about the same time each day.
This medicine is available as a tablet, oral drops or oral solution.
If you are taking the oral drops or solution, shake the bottle well before you take it to ensure that the liquid is evenly mixed. Use the dropper, measuring cup or spoon provided to take the prescribed dose.
Oral drops may be mixed with water, orange juice or apple juice.
Escitalopram must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed otherwise, as stopping it suddenly could worsen your condition.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- unstable epilepsy (fits or seizures)
- heart rhythm disorder
as Escitalopram may not be suitable for you.
Do not take Escitalopram if you are currently taking or have taken a medicine that is used to treat depression known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as moclobemide, isocarboxazid, phenelzine and tranylcypromine in the last 14 days. Please see the section “Can I take this with other medicines?” below for more information.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- other mood disorders including bipolar disorder (mania and hypomania)
- history of or risk factors for seizure disorder e.g. brain damage, alcoholism
- bleeding disorders
- having thoughts of self-harm
- heart disease e.g. recent heart attack, slow heartbeat
- imbalance of essential minerals in the body
- liver disease
- kidney disease
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving Escitalopram to an elderly. The elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Alert your doctor if you are scheduled for or have recently undergone electroshock therapy (also known as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT).
Genes may affect an individual’s response to certain medicines. Researchers say that certain genetic traits can affect the effectiveness or can enhance the side effects of Escitalopram. Individuals who are poor metaboliser of CYP2C19
may have an increased risk of experiencing side effects while individuals who are ultrarapid metaboliser of CYP2C19
may respond poorer to this medicine. Though not routinely done, in some exceptional cases, your doctor may advise you to take genetic testing to check if this medicine is best suited for you.
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly. Routine tests (e.g. liver/kidney function, electrolyte levels) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine.
Medicines for depression such as Escitalopram may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour. As depression and some psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with an increased risk of suicide, it is important for you or your family members to monitor your condition especially at the start of treatment and if your dosage is still being adjusted. If you experience new or sudden changes in mood, behaviour, thoughts or feelings or a worsening of your depression with suicidal thoughts or attempts, harm to self or harm to others, contact your doctor immediately.
Escitalopram may cause drowsiness or dizziness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
Other side effects include any of the following: headache, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, tiredness, fever, unusual sweating, tingling or pricking sensation in the hands and feet, joint and muscle pain, loss of appetite or increased appetite, weight gain, yawning, clogged nose, loss of libido, and changes in sex drive.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- restlessness, confusion, loss of muscle coordination, muscle rigidity, shivering
- irritability, visual disturbances, abnormal dreams, difficulty sleeping, electric shock sensations
- having thoughts of self-harm, suicide attempts
- fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, difficulty breathing
- worsening of depression or anxiety (being more depressed or anxious)
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not take Escitalopram with the following medicines:
- pimozide (medicine for uncontrolled movements)
- linezolid (antibiotic)
- methylene blue injection (medicine used to treat a certain type of blood disorder called methaemoglobinaemia)
- medicines for irregular heartbeat e.g. quinidine, amiodarone
- certain antibiotics e.g. pentamidine, moxifloxacin
- certain medicines for cold or allergy e.g. astemizole, mizolastine
- halofantrine (medicine to treat malaria)
Do not take this medicine if you are currently taking or have taken or used a medicine to treat depression known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as moclobemide, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine in the last 14 days.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- blood-thinning medicines e.g. warfarin, ticlopidine, dipyridamole
- medicines for pain and inflammation (NSAIDs) e.g. ibuprofen, diclofenac
- strong painkillers e.g. tramadol, fentanyl
- other medicines for mood disorder e.g. chlorpromazine, haloperidol, thioridazine
- medicines for migraine e.g. sumatriptan
- medicine for anxiety e.g. buspirone
- medicines used to treat high blood pressure or heart disease e.g. metoprolol
- medicines for diabetes e.g. insulin
- other medicines for depression e.g. fluvoxamine, amitriptyline, desipramine, bupropion
- St John's wort (herbal supplement)
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Escitalopram.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.