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Lexapro (Escitalopram Oxalate): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses

INDICATIONS
Major Depressive Disorder
Lexapro (escitalopram) is indicated for the acute and maintenance treatment of major depressive disorder in adults and in adolescents 12 to 17 years of age [see Clinical Studies ].
A major depressive episode ( DSM-IV ) implies a prominent and relatively persistent (nearly every day for at least 2 weeks) depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning, and includes at least five of the following nine symptoms: depressed mood, loss of interest in usual activities, significant change in weight and/or appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, increased fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Lexapro is indicated for the acute treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder ( GAD ) in adults [see Clinical Studies ].
Generalized Anxiety Disorder ( DSM -IV) is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation) that is persistent for at least 6 months and which the person finds difficult to control. It must be associated with at least 3 of the following symptoms: restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.
DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION
Lexapro should be administered once daily, in the morning or evening, with or without food.
Major Depressive Disorder
Initial Treatment
Adolescents
The recommended dose of Lexapro is 10 mg once daily. A flexible-dose trial of Lexapro (10 to 20 mg/day) demonstrated the effectiveness of Lexapro [see Clinical Studies ]. If the dose is increased to 20 mg, this should occur after a minimum of three weeks.
Adults
The recommended dose of Lexapro is 10 mg once daily. A fixed-dose trial of Lexapro demonstrated the effectiveness of both 10 mg and 20 mg of Lexapro, but failed to demonstrate a greater benefit of 20 mg over 10 mg [see Clinical Studies ]. If the dose is increased to 20 mg, this should occur after a minimum of one week.
Maintenance Treatment
It is generally agreed that acute episodes of major depressive disorder require several months or longer of sustained pharmacological therapy beyond response to the acute episode. Systematic evaluation of continuing Lexapro 10 or 20 mg/day in adults patients with major depressive disorder who responded while taking Lexapro during an 8-week, acute-treatment phase demonstrated a benefit of such maintenance treatment [see Clinical Studies ]. Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use Lexapro for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for maintenance treatment.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Initial Treatment
Adults
The recommended starting dose of Lexapro is 10 mg once daily. If the dose is increased to 20 mg, this should occur after a minimum of one week.
Maintenance Treatment
Generalized anxiety disorder is recognized as a chronic condition. The efficacy of Lexapro in the treatment of GAD beyond 8 weeks has not been systematically studied. The physician who elects to use Lexapro for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.
Special Populations
10 mg/day is the recommended dose for most elderly patients and patients with hepatic impairment.
No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with mild or moderate renal impairment. Lexapro should be used with caution in patients with severe renal impairment.
Discontinuation Of Treatment With Lexapro
Symptoms associated with discontinuation of Lexapro and other SSRIs and SNRIs have been reported [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS ]. Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate.
Switching A Patient To Or From A Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Intended To Treat Psychiatric Disorders
At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders and initiation of therapy with Lexapro. Conversely, at least 14 days should be allowed after stopping Lexapro before starting an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders [see CONTRAINDICATIONS ].
Use Of Lexapro With Other MAOIs Such As Linezolid Or Methylene Blue
Do not start Lexapro in a patient who is being treated with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue because there is an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. In a patient who requires more urgent treatment of a psychiatric condition, other interventions, including hospitalization, should be considered [see CONTRAINDICATIONS ].
In some cases, a patient already receiving Lexapro therapy may require urgent treatment with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. If acceptable alternatives to linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are not available and the potential benefits of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are judged to outweigh the risks of serotonin syndrome in a particular patient, Lexapro should be stopped promptly, and linezolid or intravenous methylene blue can be administered. The patient should be monitored for symptoms of serotonin syndrome for 2 weeks or until 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue, whichever comes first. Therapy with Lexapro may be resumed 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS ].
The risk of administering methylene blue by non-intravenous routes (such as oral tablets or by local injection) or in intravenous doses much lower than 1 mg/kg with Lexapro is unclear. The clinician should, nevertheless, be aware of the possibility of emergent symptoms of serotonin syndrome with such use [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS ].
HOW SUPPLIED
Dosage Forms And Strengths
Tablets
Lexapro tablets are film-coated, round tablets containing escitalopram oxalate in strengths equivalent to 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg escitalopram base. The 10 and 20 mg tablets are scored. Imprinted with "FL" on one side and either "5", “10”, or “20” on the other side according to their respective strengths.
Oral Solution
Lexapro oral solution contains escitalopram oxalate equivalent to 1 mg/mL escitalopram base.
Storage And Handling
5 mg Tablets
Bottle of 100      NDC # 0456-2005-01
White to off-white, round, non-scored, film-coated. Imprint "FL" on one side of the tablet and "5" on the other side.
10 mg Tablets
Bottle of 100      NDC # 0456-2010-01
10 x 10 Unit Dose     NDC # 0456-2010-63
White to off-white, round, scored, film-coated. Imprint on scored side with "F" on the left side and "L" on the right side. Imprint on the non-scored side with "10".
20 mg Tablets
Bottle of 100     NDC # 0456-2020-01
10 x 10 Unit Dose      NDC # 0456-2020-63
White to off-white, round, scored, film-coated. Imprint on scored side with "F" on the left side and "L" on the right side. Imprint on the non-scored side with "20".
Oral Solution
5 mg/5 mL, peppermint flavor (240 mL) NDC # 0456-2101-08
Store at 25°C (77°F); excursions permitted to 15 - 30°C (59-86°F).
Distributed by: Allergan USA, Inc. Irvine, CA 92612. Revised: Jan 2017
Side Effects & Drug Interactions
SIDE EFFECTS
Clinical Trials Experience
Because clinical studies are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical studies of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical studies of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.
Clinical Trial Data Sources
Pediatrics (6 -17 years)
Adverse events were collected in 576 pediatric patients (286 Lexapro, 290 placebo) with major depressive disorder in double-blind placebo-controlled studies. Safety and effectiveness of Lexapro in pediatric patients less than 12 years of age has not been established.
Adults
Adverse events information for Lexapro was collected from 715 patients with major depressive disorder who were exposed to escitalopram and from 592 patients who were exposed to placebo in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. An additional 284 patients with major depressive disorder were newly exposed to escitalopram in open-label trials. The adverse event information for Lexapro in patients with GAD was collected from 429 patients exposed to escitalopram and from 427 patients exposed to placebo in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.
Adverse events during exposure were obtained primarily by general inquiry and recorded by clinical investigators using terminology of their own choosing. Consequently, it is not possible to provide a meaningful estimate of the proportion of individuals experiencing adverse events without first grouping similar types of events into a smaller number of standardized event categories. In the tablesand tabulations that follow, standard World Health Organization (WHO) terminology has been used to classify reported adverse events.
The stated frequencies of adverse reactions represent the proportion of individuals who experienced, at least once, a treatment-emergent adverse event of the type listed. An event was considered treatment-emergent if it occurred for the first time or worsened while receiving therapy following baseline evaluation.
Adverse Events Associated With Discontinuation Of Treatment
Major Depressive Disorder
Pediatrics (6 -17 years)
Adverse events were associated with discontinuation of 3.5% of 286 patients receiving Lexapro and 1% of 290 patients receiving placebo. The most common adverse event (incidence at least 1% for Lexapro and greater than placebo) associated with discontinuation was insomnia (1% Lexapro, 0% placebo).
Adults
Among the 715 depressed patients who received Lexapro in placebo-controlled trials, 6% discontinued treatment due to an adverse event, as compared to 2% of 592 patients receiving placebo. In two fixed-dose studies, the rate of discontinuation for adverse events in patients receiving 10 mg/day Lexapro was not significantly different from the rate of discontinuation for adverse events in patients receiving placebo. The rate of discontinuation for adverse events in patients assigned to a fixed dose of 20 mg/day Lexapro was 10%, which was significantly different from the rate of discontinuation for adverse events in patients receiving 10 mg/day Lexapro (4%) and placebo (3%). Adverse events that were associated with the discontinuation of at least 1% of patients treated with Lexapro, and for which the rate was at least twice that of placebo, were nausea (2%) and ejaculation disorder (2% of male patients).
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Adults
Among the 429 GAD patients who received Lexapro 10-20 mg/day in placebo-controlled trials, 8% discontinued treatment due to an adverse event, as compared to 4% of 427 patients receiving placebo. Adverse events that were associated with the discontinuation of at least 1% of patients treated with Lexapro, and for which the rate was at least twice the placebo rate, were nausea (2%), insomnia (1%), and fatigue (1%).
Incidence Of Adverse Reactions In Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials
Major Depressive Disorder
Pediatrics (6 -17 years)
The overall profile of adverse reactions in pediatric patients was generally similar to that seen in adult studies, as shown in Table 2. However, the following adverse reactions (excluding those which appear in Table 2 and those for which the coded terms were uninformative or misleading) were reported at an incidence of at least 2% for Lexapro and greater than placebo: back pain , urinary tract infection , vomiting, and nasal congestion .
Adults
The most commonly observed adverse reactions in Lexapro patients (incidence of approximately 5% or greater and approximately twice the incidence in placebo patients) were insomnia, ejaculation disorder (primarily ejaculatory delay), nausea, sweating increased, fatigue, and somnolence . Table 2 enumerates the incidence, rounded to the nearest percent, of treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred among 715 depressed patients who received Lexapro at doses ranging from 10 to 20 mg/day in placebo-controlled trials. Events included are those occurring in 2% or more of patients treated with Lexapro and for which the incidence in patients treated with Lexapro was greater than the incidence in placebo-treated patients.
TABLE 2
Treatment-Emergent Adverse Reactions observed with a frequency of ? 2% and greater than placebo for Major Depressive Disorder
Adverse Reaction
2Denominator used was for males only (N=225 Lexapro; N=188 placebo).
3Denominator used was for females only (N=490 Lexapro; N=404 placebo).
 
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Adults
The most commonly observed adverse reactions in Lexapro patients (incidence of approximately 5% or greater and approximately twice the incidence in placebo patients) were nausea, ejaculation disorder (primarily ejaculatory delay), insomnia, fatigue, decreased libido , and anorgasmia . Table 3 enumerates the incidence, rounded to the nearest percent of treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred among 429 GAD patients who received Lexapro 10 to 20 mg/day in placebo-controlled trials. Events included are those occurring in 2% or more of patients treated with Lexapro and for which the incidence in patients treated with Lexapro was greater than the incidence in placebo-treated patients.
Table 3 enumerates the incidence, rounded to the nearest percent of treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred among 429 GAD patients who received Lexapro 10 to 20 mg/day in placebo-controlled trials. Events included are those occurring in 2% or more of patients treated with Lexapro and for which the incidence in patients treated with Lexapro was greater than the incidence in placebo-treated patients
TABLE 3
Treatment-Emergent Adverse Reactions observed with a frequency of ? 2% and greater than placebo for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Adverse Reaction
2Denominator used was for males only (N=182 Lexapro; N=195 placebo).
3Denominator used was for females only (N=247 Lexapro; N=232 placebo).
Dose Dependency Of Adverse Reactions
The potential dose dependency of common adverse reactions (defined as an incidence rate of ?5% in either the 10 mg or 20 mg Lexapro groups) was examined on the basis of the combined incidence of adverse reactions in two fixed-dose trials. The overall incidence rates of adverse events in 10 mg Lexapro-treated patients (66%) was similar to that of the placebo-treated patients (61%), while the incidence rate in 20 mg/day Lexapro-treated patients was greater (86%). Table 4 shows common adverse reactions that occurred in the 20 mg/day Lexapro group with an incidence that was approximately twice that of the 10 mg/day Lexapro group and approximately twice that of the placebo group.
TABLE 4
Incidence of Common Adverse Reactions in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder
Adverse Reaction
6%
Male And Female Sexual Dysfunction With SSRIs
Although changes in sexual desire, sexual performance, and sexual satisfaction often occur as manifestations of a psychiatric disorder, they may also be a consequence of pharmacologic treatment. In particular, some evidence suggests that SSRIs can cause such untoward sexual experiences.
Reliable estimates of the incidence and severity of untoward experiences involving sexual desire, performance, and satisfaction are difficult to obtain, however, in part because patients and physicians may be reluctant to discuss them. Accordingly, estimates of the incidence of untoward sexual experience and performance cited in product labeling are likely to underestimate their actual incidence.
TABLE 5
Incidence of Sexual Side Effects in Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials
Adverse Event
There are no adequately designed studies examining sexual dysfunction with escitalopram treatment.
Priapism has been reported with all SSRIs.
While it is difficult to know the precise risk of sexual dysfunction associated with the use of SSRIs, physicians should routinely inquire about such possible side effects.
Vital Sign Changes
Lexapro and placebo groups were compared with respect to (1) mean change from baseline in vital signs ( pulse , systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure) and (2) the incidence of patients meeting criteria for potentially clinically significant changes from baseline in these variables. These analyses did not reveal any clinically important changes in vital signs associated with Lexapro treatment. In addition, a comparison of supine and standing vital sign measures in subjects receiving Lexapro indicated that Lexapro treatment is not associated with orthostatic changes.
Weight Changes
Patients treated with Lexapro in controlled trials did not differ from placebo-treated patients with regard to clinically important change in body weight.
Laboratory Changes
Lexapro and placebo groups were compared with respect to (1) mean change from baseline in various serum chemistry, hematology , and urinalysis variables, and (2) the incidence of patients meeting criteria for potentially clinically significant changes from baseline in these variables. These analyses revealed no clinically important changes in laboratory test parameters associated with Lexapro treatment.
ECG Changes
Electrocardiograms from Lexapro (N=625) and placebo (N=527) groups were compared with respect to outliers defined as subjects with QTc changes over 60 msec from baseline or absolute values over 500 msec post-dose, and subjects with heart rate increases to over 100 bpm or decreases to less than 50 bpm with a 25% change from baseline (tachycardic or bradycardic outliers, respectively). None of the patients in the Lexapro group had a QTcF interval >500 msec or a prolongation >60 msec compared to 0.2% of patients in the placebo group. The incidence of tachycardic outliers was 0.2% in the Lexapro and the placebo group. The incidence of bradycardic outliers was 0.5% in the Lexapro group and 0.2% in the placebo group.
QTcF interval was evaluated in a randomized, placebo and active (moxifloxacin 400 mg) controlled cross-over, escalating multiple- dose study in 113 healthy subjects. The maximum mean (95% upper confidence bound) difference from placebo arm were 4.5 (6.4) and 10.7 (12.7) msec for 10 mg and supratherapeutic 30 mg escitalopram given once daily, respectively. Based on the established exposure-response relationship, the predicted QTcF change from placebo arm (95% confidence interval) under the Cmax for the dose of 20 mg is 6.6 (7.9) msec. Escitalopram 30 mg given once daily resulted in mean Cmax of 1.7-fold higher than the mean Cmax for the maximum recommended therapeutic dose at steady state (20 mg). The exposure under supratherapeutic 30 mg dose is similar to the steady state concentrations expected in CYP2C19 poor metabolizers following a therapeutic dose of 20 mg.
Other Reactions Observed During The Premarketing Evaluation Of Lexapro
Following is a list of treatment-emergent adverse events, as defined in the introduction to the ADVERSE REACTIONS section, reported by the 1428 patients treated with Lexapro for periods of up to one year in double-blind or open-label clinical trials during its premarketing evaluation. The listing does not include those events already listed in Tables 2 & 3, those events for which a drug cause was remote and at a rate less than 1% or lower than placebo, those events which were so general as to be uninformative, and those events reported only once which did not have a substantial probability of being acutely life threatening. Events are categorized by body system. Events of major clinical importance are described in the Warnings and Precautions section (5).
Gastrointestinal Disorders - abdominal cramp, heartburn , gastroenteritis .
General - allergy , chest pain, fever, hot flushes, pain in limb.
Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders - increased weight.
Musculoskeletal System Disorders - arthralgia , myalgia jaw stiffness.
Psychiatric Disorders - appetite increased, concentration impaired, irritability.
Respiratory System Disorders - bronchitis , coughing, nasal congestion, sinus congestion, sinus headache .
Skin and Appendages Disorders - rash.
Special Senses - vision blurred, tinnitus .
Urinary System Disorders - urinary frequency, urinary tract infection.
Post-Marketing Experience
Adverse Reactions Reported Subsequent To The Marketing Of Escitalopram
The following additional adverse reactions have been identified from spontaneous reports of escitalopram received worldwide. These adverse reactions have been chosen for inclusion because of a combination of seriousness, frequency of reporting, or potential causal connection to escitalopram and have not been listed elsewhere in labeling. However, because these adverse reactions were reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure. These events include:
General Disorders and Administration Site Conditions: abnormal gait , asthenia , edema, fall, feeling abnormal, malaise .
Hepatobiliary Disorders: fulminant hepatitis , hepatic failure, hepatic necrosis , hepatitis.
Immune System Disorders: allergic reaction, anaphylaxis .
Investigations: bilirubin increased, decreased weight, electrocardiogram QT prolongation, hepatic enzymes increased, hypercholesterolemia , INR increased, prothrombin decreased.
Metabolism and Nutrition Disorders: hyperglycemia , hypoglycemia , hypokalemia , hyponatremia .
Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders: muscle cramp , muscle stiffness, muscle weakness, rhabdomyolysis .
Nervous System Disorders: akathisia , amnesia , ataxia , choreoathetosis, cerebrovascular accident , dysarthria , dyskinesia , dystonia , extrapyramidal disorders, grand mal seizures (or convulsions), hypoaesthesia, myoclonus , nystagmus , Parkinsonism , restless legs , seizures, syncope , tardive dyskinesia , tremor .
Pregnancy, Puerperium and Perinatal Conditions: spontaneous abortion .
Psychiatric Disorders: acute psychosis , aggression, agitation, anger, anxiety, apathy, completed suicide, confusion, depersonalization, depression aggravated, delirium , delusion , disorientation, feeling unreal, hallucinations (visual and auditory), mood swings, nervousness, nightmare, panic reaction, paranoia, restlessness, self-harm or thoughts of self-harm, suicide attempt, suicidal ideation, suicidal tendency.
Renal and Urinary Disorders: acute renal failure , dysuria , urinary retention.
Reproductive System and Breast Disorders: menorrhagia , priapism.
[See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION , CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS ].
Serotonergic Drugs
[See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION , CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS ].
Triptans
There have been rare postmarketing reports of serotonin syndrome with use of an SSRI and a triptan . If concomitant treatment of Lexapro with a triptan is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS ].
CNS Drugs
Given the primary CNS effects of escitalopram, caution should be used when it is taken in combination with other centrally acting drugs.
Alcohol
Although Lexapro did not potentiate the cognitive and motor effects of alcohol in a clinical trial, as with other psychotropic medications, the use of alcohol by patients taking Lexapro is not recommended.
Drugs That Interfere With Hemostasis (NSAIDs, Aspirin, Warfarin, Etc.)
Serotonin release by platelets plays an important role in hemostasis . Epidemiological studies of the case-control and cohort design that have demonstrated an association between use of psychotropic drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of upper gastrointestinal bleeding have also shown that concurrent use of an NSAID or aspirin may potentiate the risk of bleeding. Altered anticoagulant effects, including increased bleeding, have been reported when SSRIs and SNRIs are coadministered with warfarin. Patients receiving warfarin therapy should be carefully monitored when Lexapro is initiated or discontinued.
Cimetidine
In subjects who had received 21 days of 40 mg/day racemic citalopram, combined administration of 400 mg twice a day cimetidine for 8 days resulted in an increase in citalopram AUC and Cmax of 43% and 39%, respectively. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown.
Digoxin
In subjects who had received 21 days of 40 mg/day racemic citalopram, combined administration of citalopram and digoxin (single dose of 1 mg) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of either citalopram or digoxin.
Lithium
Coadministration of racemic citalopram (40 mg/day for 10 days) and lithium (30 mmol/day for 5 days) had no significant effect on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram or lithium. Nevertheless, plasma lithium levels should be monitored with appropriate adjustment to the lithium dose in accordance with standard clinical practice. Because lithium may enhance the serotonergic effects of escitalopram, caution should be exercised when Lexapro and lithium are coadministered.
Pimozide And Celexa
In a controlled study, a single dose of pimozide 2 mg co-administered with racemic citalopram 40 mg given once daily for 11 days was associated with a mean increase in QTc values of approximately 10 msec compared to pimozide given alone. Racemic citalopram did not alter the mean AUC or Cmax of pimozide. The mechanism of this pharmacodynamic interaction is not known.
Sumatriptan
There have been rare postmarketing reports describing patients with weakness, hyperreflexia, and incoordination following the use of an SSRI and sumatriptan . If concomitant treatment with sumatriptan and an SSRI (e.g., fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram, escitalopram) is clinically warranted, appropriate observation of the patient is advised.
Theophylline
Combined administration of racemic citalopram (40 mg/day for 21 days) and the CYP1A2 substrate theophylline (single dose of 300 mg) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of theophylline. The effect of theophylline on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram was not evaluated.
Warfarin
Administration of 40 mg/day racemic citalopram for 21 days did not affect the pharmacokinetics of warfarin, a CYP3A4 substrate. Prothrombin time was increased by 5%, the clinical significance of which is unknown.
Carbamazepine
Combined administration of racemic citalopram (40 mg/day for 14 days) and carbamazepine (titrated to 400 mg/day for 35 days) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of carbamazepine, a CYP3A4 substrate. Although trough citalopram plasma levels were unaffected, given the enzyme-inducing properties of carbamazepine, the possibility that carbamazepine might increase the clearance of escitalopram should be considered if the two drugs are coadministered.
Triazolam
Combined administration of racemic citalopram (titrated to 40 mg/day for 28 days) and the CYP3A4 substrate triazolam (single dose of 0.25 mg) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of either citalopram or triazolam.
Ketoconazole
Combined administration of racemic citalopram (40 mg) and ketoconazole (200 mg), a potent CYP3A4 inhibitor, decreased the Cmax and AUC of ketoconazole by 21% and 10%, respectively, and did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of citalopram.
Ritonavir
Combined administration of a single dose of ritonavir (600 mg), both a CYP3A4 substrate and a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, and escitalopram (20 mg) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of either ritonavir or escitalopram.
CYP3A4 And -2C19 Inhibitors
In vitro studies indicated that CYP3A4 and -2C19 are the primary enzymes involved in the metabolism of escitalopram. However, coadministration of escitalopram (20 mg) and ritonavir (600 mg), a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of escitalopram. Because escitalopram is metabolized by multiple enzyme systems, inhibition of a single enzyme may not appreciably decrease escitalopram clearance.
Drugs Metabolized By Cytochrome P4502D6
In vitro studies did not reveal an inhibitory effect of escitalopram on CYP2D6. In addition, steady state levels of racemic citalopram were not significantly different in poor metabolizers and extensive CYP2D6 metabolizers after multiple-dose administration of citalopram, suggesting that coadministration, with escitalopram, of a drug that inhibits CYP2D6, is unlikely to have clinically significant effects on escitalopram metabolism. However, there are limited in vivo data suggesting a modest CYP2D6 inhibitory effect for escitalopram, i.e., coadministration of escitalopram (20 mg/day for 21 days) with the tricyclic antidepressant desipramine (single dose of 50 mg), a substrate for CYP2D6, resulted in a 40% increase in Cmax and a 100% increase in AUC of desipramine. The clinical significance of this finding is unknown. Nevertheless, caution is indicated in the coadministration of escitalopram and drugs metabolized by CYP2D6.
Metoprolol
Administration of 20 mg/day Lexapro for 21 days in healthy volunteers resulted in a 50% increase in Cmax and 82% increase in AUC of the beta-adrenergic blocker metoprolol (given in a single dose of 100 mg). Increased metoprolol plasma levels have been associated with decreased cardioselectivity. Coadministration of Lexapro and metoprolol had no clinically significant effects on blood pressure or heart rate.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
There are no clinical studies of the combined use of ECT and escitalopram.
Drug Abuse And Dependance
Abuse And Dependence
Physical and Psychological Dependence Animal studies suggest that the abuse liability of racemic citalopram is low. Lexapro has not been systematically studied in humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance, or physical dependence. The premarketing clinical experience with Lexapro did not reveal any drug-seeking behavior. However, these observations were not systematic and it is not possible to predict on the basis of this limited experience the extent to which a CNS-active drug will be misused, diverted, and/or abused once marketed. Consequently, physicians should carefully evaluate Lexapro patients for history of drug abuse and follow such patients closely, observing them for signs of misuse or abuse (e.g., development of tolerance, incrementations of dose, drug-seeking behavior).
Warnings & Precautions
Included as part of the "PRECAUTIONS" Section
PRECAUTIONS
Clinical Worsening And Suicide Risk
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a longstanding concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment. Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18-24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.
The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder ( OCD ), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug vs. placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1.
TABLE 1
?65
6 fewer cases
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.
All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.
The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity , akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania , and mania , have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms.
If the decision has been made to discontinue treatment, medication should be tapered, as rapidly as is feasible, but with recognition that abrupt discontinuation can be associated with certain symptoms [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ].
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers [see PATIENT INFORMATION ]. Prescriptions for Lexapro should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
Screening Patients For Bipolar Disorder
A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder . It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/ manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. It should be noted that Lexapro is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.
Serotonin Syndrome
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome has been reported with SNRIs and SSRIs, including Lexapro, alone but particularly with concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants , fentanyl, lithium , tramadol, tryptophan , buspirone, amphetamines, and St. John’s Wort) and with drugsthat impair metabolism of serotonin(in particular, MAOIs, both those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and also others, such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue).
Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium , and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia , labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia ), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor , rigidity, myoclonus , hyperreflexia, incoordination) seizures, and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome.
The concomitant use of Lexapro with MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders is contraindicated. Lexapro should also not be started in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. All reports with methylene blue that provided information on the route of administration involved intravenous administration in the dose range of 1 mg/kg to 8 mg/kg. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection) or at lower doses. There may be circumstances when it is necessary to initiate treatment with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking Lexapro. Lexapro should be discontinued before initiating treatment with the MAOI [see CONTRAINDICATIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION ].
If concomitant use of Lexapro with other serotonergic drugs including, triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, buspirone, tryptophan, amphetamine and St. John’s Wort is clinically warranted, patients should be made aware of a potential increased risk for serotonin syndrome, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases.
Treatment with Lexapro and any concomitant serotonergic agents, should be discontinued immediately if the above events occur and supportive symptomatic treatment should be initiated.
Discontinuation Of Treatment With Lexapro
During marketing of Lexapro and other SSRIs and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when abrupt, including the following: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy , emotional lability , insomnia, and hypomania. While these events are generally self-limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.
Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with