Lexapro

LEXAPRO — escitalopram oxalate tablet
Physicians Total Care, Inc.

FULL PRESCRIBING INFORMATION

WARNINGS: SUICIDALITY AND ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of Lexapro or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. 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 in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Lexapro is not approved for use in pediatric patients less than 12 years of age. [See Warnings and Precautions: Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk (5.1), Patient Counseling Information: Information for Patients (17.1), and Used in Specific Populations: Pediatric Use (8.4)].

1.1 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 (14.1) ].

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.

1.2 Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Lexapro is indicated for the acute treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in adults [see Clinical Studies (14.2) ].

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.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Lexapro should be administered once daily, in the morning or evening, with or without food.

2.1 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 (14.1) ]. 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 (14.1) ]. 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 (14.1)]. 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.

2.2 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.

2.3 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.

2.4 Discontinuation of Treatment with Lexapro

Symptoms associated with discontinuation of Lexapro and other SSRIs and SNRIs have been reported [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3) ]. 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.

2.5 Switching Patients To or From a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor

At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI and initiation of Lexapro therapy. Similarly, at least 14 days should be allowed after stopping Lexapro before starting an MAOI [see Contraindications (4.1) and Warnings and Precautions (5.10)].

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

3.1 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.

3.2 Oral Solution

Lexapro oral solution contains escitalopram oxalate equivalent to 1 mg/mL escitalopram base.

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

4.1 Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

Concomitant use in patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) is contraindicated [see Warnings and Precautions (5.10) ].

4.2 Pimozide

Concomitant use in patients taking pimozide is contraindicated [see Drug Interactions (7.10) ].

4.3 Hypersensitivity to escitalopram or citalopram

Lexapro is contraindicated in patients with a hypersensitivity to escitalopram or citalopram or any of the inactive ingredients in Lexapro.

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 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 long-standing 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
Age Range Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated
Increases Compared to Placebo
Less Than 1814 additional cases
18-245 additional cases
Decreases Compared to Placebo
25-641 fewer case
Greater Than or Equal To 656 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 (2.4) ].

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 also Patient Counseling Information (17.1) ]. 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.

5.2 Serotonin Syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)-like Reactions

The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome or Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS)-like reactions have been reported with SNRIs and SSRIs alone, including Lexapro treatment, but particularly with concomitant use of serotonergic drugs (including triptans) with drugs which impair metabolism of serotonin (including MAOIs), or with antipsychotics or other dopamine antagonists. Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Serotonin syndrome, in its most severe form can resemble neuroleptic malignant syndrome, which includes hyperthermia, muscle rigidity, autonomic instability with possible rapid fluctuation of vital signs, and mental status changes. Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome or NMS-like signs and symptoms.

The concomitant use of Lexapro with MAOIs intended to treat depression is contraindicated. If concomitant treatment of Lexapro with a 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonist (triptan) is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases.

The concomitant use of Lexapro with serotonin precursors (such as tryptophan) is not recommended. Treatment with Lexapro and any concomitant serotonergic or antidopaminergic agents, including antipsychotics, should be discontinued immediately if the above events occur and supportive symptomatic treatment should be initiated.

5.3 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 Lexapro. 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 [see Dosage and Administration (2.4) ].

5.4 Seizures

Although anticonvulsant effects of racemic citalopram have been observed in animal studies, Lexapro has not been systematically evaluated in patients with a seizure disorder. These patients were excluded from clinical studies during the product’s premarketing testing. In clinical trials of Lexapro, cases of convulsion have been reported in association with Lexapro treatment. Like other drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, Lexapro should be introduced with care in patients with a history of seizure disorder.

5.5 Activation of Mania/Hypomania

In placebo-controlled trials of Lexapro in major depressive disorder, activation of mania/hypomania was reported in one (0.1%) of 715 patients treated with Lexapro and in none of the 592 patients treated with placebo. One additional case of hypomania has been reported in association with Lexapro treatment. Activation of mania/hypomania has also been reported in a small proportion of patients with major affective disorders treated with racemic citalopram and other marketed drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder. As with all drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder, Lexapro should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania.

5.6 Hyponatremia

Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including Lexapro. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), and was reversible when Lexapro was discontinued. Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume depleted may be at greater risk [see Geriatric Use (8.5)]. Discontinuation of Lexapro should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and appropriate medical intervention should be instituted.

Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.

5.7 Abnormal Bleeding

SSRIs and SNRIs, including Lexapro, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anticoagulants may add to the risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding events related to SSRIs and SNRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages.

Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of Lexapro and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation.

5.8 Interference with Cognitive and Motor Performance

In a study in normal volunteers, Lexapro 10 mg/day did not produce impairment of intellectual function or psychomotor performance. Because any psychoactive drug may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills, however, patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles, until they are reasonably certain that Lexapro therapy does not affect their ability to engage in such activities.

5.9 Use in Patients with Concomitant Illness

Clinical experience with Lexapro in patients with certain concomitant systemic illnesses is limited. Caution is advisable in using Lexapro in patients with diseases or conditions that produce altered metabolism or hemodynamic responses.

Lexapro has not been systematically evaluated in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable heart disease. Patients with these diagnoses were generally excluded from clinical studies during the product’s premarketing testing.

In subjects with hepatic impairment, clearance of racemic citalopram was decreased and plasma concentrations were increased. The recommended dose of Lexapro in hepatically impaired patients is 10 mg/day [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) ].

Because escitalopram is extensively metabolized, excretion of unchanged drug in urine is a minor route of elimination. Until adequate numbers of patients with severe renal impairment have been evaluated during chronic treatment with Lexapro, however, it should be used with caution in such patients [see Dosage and Administration (2.3) ].

5.10 Potential for Interaction with Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

In patients receiving serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs in combination with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), there have been reports of serious, sometimes fatal, reactions including hyperthermia, rigidity, myoclonus, autonomic instability with possible rapid fluctuations of vital signs, and mental status changes that include extreme agitation progressing to delirium and coma. These reactions have also been reported in patients who have recently discontinued SSRI treatment and have been started on an MAOI. Some cases presented with features resembling neuroleptic malignant syndrome. Furthermore, limited animal data on the effects of combined use of SSRIs and MAOIs suggest that these drugs may act synergistically to elevate blood pressure and evoke behavioral excitation. Therefore, it is recommended that Lexapro should not be used in combination with an MAOI, or within 14 days of discontinuing treatment with an MAOI. Similarly, at least 14 days should be allowed after stopping Lexapro before starting an MAOI.

Serotonin syndrome has been reported in two patients who were concomitantly receiving linezolid, an antibiotic which is a reversible non-selective MAOI.

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