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Generic Name: Escitalopram oxalate

Brands: Lexapro

Class: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)

Availability: Prescription only

Molecular Formula: C20H21FN2O

Substance UNII: 4O4S742ANY

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI. It is the popular brand name of escitalopram oxalate.

What is Lexapro Used For?

Lexapro is indicated (recommended) for both short-term and long-term treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in those aged 12 and up as well as for short-term treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults.

How Does Lexapro Work?

Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, which means that it works to inhibit the reuptake (reabsorption) of the neurotransmitter serotonin. By inhibiting serotonin reuptake, Lexapro and other SSRIs leave more serotonin in the brain available for binding with certain receptors. This binding may enhance and stabilize mood.

Lexapro stands apart from many other drugs in its class for affecting serotonin almost exclusively, having little effect on the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine (which are also associated with mood).

How Long Does it Take for Lexapro to Work?

The answer to this question will vary by individual. That being said, it usually takes anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks for patients to feel the full effect of this medication.

Do Not Use Lexapro If:

There are several situations where this medication may not be the right choice for you. According to the FDA, the following should not use Lexapro:

  • Those who are currently taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), or have taken MAOIs within the last 14 days
  • Those being treated with linezolid (Zyvox) or intravenous methylene blue (Provayblue)
  • Patients taking pimozide (Orap)
  • Those with known allergies or hypersensitivities to either escitalopram or citalopram (Celexa) or any other ingredient in Lexapro

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other situations where Lexapro use is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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