Use in Pregnancy: Pregnancy Category C: In a rat embryo/fetal development study, oral administration of Escitalopram (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). 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.
Pregnancy-Nonteratogenic Effects: Neonates exposed to Escitalopram oxalate tablets and other SSRIs or 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 late pregnancy may have an increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN occurs in 1-2 per 1000 live births in the general population and is associated with substantial neonatal morbidity and mortality. In a retrospective, case-control study of 377 women whose infants were born with PPHN and 836 women whose infants were born healthy, the risk for developing PPHN was approximately six-fold higher for infants exposed to SSRIs after the 20th week of gestation compared to infants who had not been exposed to antidepressants during pregnancy.
When treating a pregnant woman with Escitalopram oxalate tablets during the third trimester, the physician should carefully consider both the potential risks and benefits of treatment. Physicians should note that in a prospective longitudinal study of 201 women with a history of major depression who were euthymic at the beginning of pregnancy, women who discontinued antidepressant medication during pregnancy were more likely to experience a relapse of major depression than women who continued antidepressant medication.
Labor and Delivery: The effect of Escitalopram oxalate tablets on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.
Use in Lactation: Racemic Citalopram, like many other drugs, is excreted in human breast milk. There have been two reports of infants experiencing excessive somnolence, decreased feeding, and weight loss in association with breastfeeding from a citalopram-treated mother; in one case, the infant was reported to recover completely upon discontinuation of citalopram by its mother and, in the second case, no follow-up information was available. The decision whether to continue or discontinue either nursing or escitalopram oxalate tablets therapy should take into account the risks of citalopram exposure for the infant and the benefits of Escitalopram oxalate tablets treatment for the mother.