Escitalopram has FDA approval for the treatment of major depressive disorder in adolescents and adults, and generalized anxiety disorder in adults. In European countries and Australia, it is approved for depression and certain anxiety disorders: general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder.
How does Cipralex work?
Cipralex tablets contain the active ingredient escitalopram oxalate, which is a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Antidepressant medicines act on nerve cells in the brain. In the brain there are numerous different chemical compounds called neurotransmitters. These act as chemical messengers between the nerve cells. Serotonin is one such neurotransmitter and has various functions that we know of.
When serotonin is released from nerve cells in the brain it acts to lighten mood. When it is reabsorbed into the nerve cells, it no longer has an effect on mood. It is thought that when depression occurs, there may be a decreased amount of serotonin released from nerve cells in the brain.
SSRIs work by preventing serotonin from being reabsorbed back into the nerve cells in the brain. This helps prolong the mood lightening effect of any released serotonin. In this way, escitalopram helps relieve depression, panic and fear.
It may take between 2 to 4 weeks for the benefits of this medicine to appear, so it is very important that you keep taking it, even if it doesn't seem to make much difference at first. If you feel your depression or anxiety has got worse, or if you have any distressing thoughts or feelings in these first few weeks, then you should talk to your doctor.
What is Cipralex used for?
- Depressive illness.
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia.
- Fear of social situations (social phobia or social anxiety disorder).
How do I take Cipralex (Escitalopram)?
Escitalopram is taken once a day. Your dose can be taken at any time of day and can be taken either with or without food. Do not exceed the dose prescribed by your doctor. You should not suddenly stop taking this medicine, as this can cause withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, sleep disturbances (including intense dreams), nausea, headache, a feeling of weakness, pins and needles and anxiety. Withdrawal symptoms are temporary and are not due to addiction or dependence on the medicine. They can usually be avoided by stopping the medicine gradually, usually over a period of weeks or months, depending on your individual situation.
Use with caution in:
- Elderly people.
- Young adults (under 25 years of age).
- People with a history of suicidal behaviour or thoughts.
- People with a history of mania or hypomania.
- People also receiving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
- People taking antipsychotic medicines.
- Decreased kidney function.
- Decreased liver function.
Not to be used in:
- Children and adolescents under 18 years of age.
- Manic episodes of manic depression (bipolar affective disorder).
- Uncontrolled epilepsy.
- People with an abnormal heart rhythm seen on a heart monitoring trace (ECG) as a 'prolonged QT interval'.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Cipralex Side effects:
- Decreased or increased appetite.
- Weight gain.
- Abnormal dreams.
- Decreased sex drive.
- Inability to have an orgasm (women).
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia).
- Pins and needles sensations.
- Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis).
- Disturbances of the gut such as diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting.
- Increased sweating.
- Pain in the muscles and joints.