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Escitalopram, Lexapro, Cipralex

Description

Escitalopram is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), a class that also includes fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft).

Action

SSRI

Indications

depression and generalized anxiety disorder.

Side Effects

The most commonly-noted side effects associated with escitalopram are agitation or restlessness, blurred vision, diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, drowsiness, dry mouth, fever, frequent urination, headache, indigestion, nausea, increased or decreased appetite, increased sweating, sexual difficulties (decreased sexual ability or desire, ejaculatory delay), taste alterations, tremor (shaking), weight changes. Although changes in sexual desire, sexual performance and sexual satisfaction often occur as a result of depression itself, they also may be a consequence of the drugs used to treat depression. In particular, about one in 11 men given escitalopram report difficulties experiencing ejaculation.

Some patients may experience withdrawal reactions upon stopping SSRI therapy. Symptoms may include dizziness, tingling, tiredness, vivid dreams, irritability, or poor mood. In order to avoid these symptoms, the dose of SSRI can be slowly reduced instead of abruptly stopped.
It has been suggested that SSRIs may cause depression to worsen and even lead to suicide in a small number of patients. These potential side effects are difficult to evaluate in depressed patients because depression can progress with or without treatment, and suicide is itself a consequence of depression. Moreover, the evidence supporting these potential side effects is weak. Therefore, no conclusions can yet be drawn about the relationship between SSRIs and worsening depression and suicide. Until better information is available, patients receiving SSRIs should be monitored for worsening depression and suicidal tendencies.

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