Escitalopram (Page 6 of 9)

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Data from the published literature report the presence of escitalopram and desmethylescitalopram in human milk (see Data). There are reports of excessive sedation, restlessness, agitation, poor feeding and poor weight gain in infants exposed to escitalopram, through breast milk (see Clinical Considerations). There are no data on the effects of escitalopram or its metabolites on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for escitalopram oxalate and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from escitalopram oxalate or from the underlying maternal condition.

Clinical Considerations

Infants exposed to escitalopram oxalate should be monitored for excess sedation, restlessness, agitation, poor feeding and poor weight gain.


A study of 8 nursing mothers on escitalopram with daily doses of 10 to 20 mg/day showed that exclusively breast-fed infants receive approximately 3.9% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose of escitalopram and 1.7% of the maternal weight-adjusted dose of desmethylcitalopram.

8.4 Pediatric Use

The safety and effectiveness of escitalopram oxalate have been established in adolescents (12 to 17 years of age) for the treatment of major depressive disorder [see Clinical Studies (14.1)]. Although maintenance efficacy in adolescent patients with major depressive disorder has not been systematically evaluated, maintenance efficacy can be extrapolated from adult data along with comparisons of escitalopram pharmacokinetic parameters in adults and adolescent patients.
The safety and effectiveness of escitalopram oxalate have not been established in pediatric (younger than 12 years of age) patients with major depressive disorder. In a 24-week, open-label safety study in 118 children (aged 7 to 11 years) who had major depressive disorder, the safety findings were consistent with the known safety and tolerability profile for escitalopram oxalate.
Safety and effectiveness of escitalopram oxalate has not been established in pediatric patients less than 18 years of age with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Decreased appetite and weight loss have been observed in association with the use of SSRIs. Consequently, regular monitoring of weight and growth should be performed in children and adolescents treated with an SSRI such as escitalopram oxalate.

8.5 Geriatric Use

Approximately 6% of the 1144 patients receiving escitalopram in controlled trials of escitalopram oxalate in major depressive disorder and GAD were 60 years of age or older; elderly patients in these trials received daily doses of escitalopram oxalate between 10 and 20 mg. The number of elderly patients in these trials was insufficient to adequately assess for possible differential efficacy and safety measures on the basis of age. Nevertheless, greater sensitivity of some elderly individuals to effects of escitalopram oxalate cannot be ruled out.
SSRIs and SNRIs, including escitalopram oxalate, have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].
In two pharmacokinetic studies, escitalopram half-life was increased by approximately 50% in elderly subjects as compared to young subjects and C max was unchanged [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. 10 mg/day is the recommended dose for elderly patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) ]. Of 4422 patients in clinical studies of racemic citalopram, 1357 were 60 and over, 1034 were 65 and over, and 457 were 75 and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but again, greater sensitivity of some elderly individuals cannot be ruled out.


9.2 Abuse and Dependence

Physical and Psychological Dependence
Animal studies suggest that the abuse liability of racemic citalopram is low. Escitalopram oxalate has not been systematically studied in humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance, or physical dependence. The premarketing clinical experience with escitalopram oxalate 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 escitalopram oxalate 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).


The following have been reported with escitalopram tablet overdosage:

  • Seizures, which may be delayed, and altered mental status including coma.
  • Cardiovascular toxicity, which may be delayed, including QRS and QTc interval prolongation, wide complex tachyarrhythmias, and torsade de pointes. Hypertension most commonly seen, but rarely can see hypotension alone or with co-ingestants including alcohol.
  • Serotonin syndrome (patients with a multiple drug overdosage with other proserotonergic drugs may have a higher risk).

Prolonged cardiac monitoring is recommended in escitalopram oxalate overdosage ingestions due to the arrhythmia risk.

Gastrointestinal decontamination with activated charcoal should be considered in patients who present early after a escitalopram oxalate overdose.

Consider contacting a poison center (1-800-221-2222) or a medical toxicologist for overdosage management recommendations.


Escitalopram tablets contains escitalopram oxalate, an orally administered selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Escitalopram is the pure S-enantiomer (single isomer) of the racemic bicyclic phthalane derivative citalopram. Escitalopram oxalate is designated S-(+)-1-[3(dimethyl-amino)propyl]-1-( p -fluorophenyl)-5-phthalancarbonitrile oxalate with the following structural formula:

Chemical Structure

The molecular formula is C 20 H 21 FN 2 O • C 2 H 2 O 4 and the molecular weight is 414.40.
Escitalopram oxalate USP occurs as a white to almost white, crystalline powder and is freely soluble in methanol and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), soluble in isotonic saline solution, sparingly soluble in water and ethanol, slightly soluble in ethyl acetate, and insoluble in heptane.
Escitalopram oxalate USP is available as tablets for oral administration.

Escitalopram tablets USP are film-coated, containing 6.38 mg, 12.77 mg, 25.54 mg escitalopram oxalate USP in strengths equivalent to 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg, respectively, of escitalopram base. The 10 and 20 mg tablets are scored. The tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients: butylated hydroxyl anisole, butylated hydroxy toluene, colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, silicified microcrystalline cellulose, and talc. The film coating contains hypromellose, polyethylene glycol 400, and titanium dioxide.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

The mechanism of antidepressant action of escitalopram, the S-enantiomer of racemic citalopram, is presumed to be linked to potentiation of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system (CNS) resulting from its inhibition of CNS neuronal reuptake of serotonin (5-HT).

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

In vitro and in vivo studies in animals suggest that escitalopram is a highly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with minimal effects on norepinephrine and dopamine neuronal reuptake. Escitalopram is at least 100-fold more potent than the R-enantiomer with respect to inhibition of 5-HT reuptake and inhibition of 5-HT neuronal firing rate. Tolerance to a model of antidepressant effect in rats was not induced by long-term (up to 5 weeks) treatment with escitalopram. Escitalopram has no or very low affinity for serotonergic (5-HT 1-7 ) or other receptors including alpha- and beta-adrenergic, dopamine (D 1-5 ), histamine (H 1-3 ), muscarinic (M 1-5 ), and benzodiazepine receptors. Escitalopram also does not bind to, or has low affinity for, various ion channels including Na + , K + , Cl , and Ca ++ channels. Antagonism of muscarinic, histaminergic, and adrenergic receptors has been hypothesized to be associated with various anticholinergic, sedative, and cardiovascular side effects of other psychotropic drugs.

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