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Escitalopram (By mouth)

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Escitalopram is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It is an antidepressant that belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medicines work by increasing the activity of the chemical serotonin in the brain. This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription… Read more
Brand names include
Lexapro
Drug classes About this
Antianxiety, Antidepressant

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Meta-analysis on effectiveness and safety of escitalopram and citalopram in treatment of depression

Bibliographic details: Cao ZH, Cao HY, Qin L, Xu GL.  Meta-analysis on effectiveness and safety of escitalopram and citalopram in treatment of depression. Journal of Jilin University (Medicine Edition) 2013; 39(6): 1228-1232 Available from: http://gb.oversea.cnki.net/kcms/detail/22.1342.R.20131101.0859.002.html

Citalopram versus other antidepressants for depression

Major depression is a severe mental illness characterised by a persistent and unreactive low mood and loss of all interest and pleasure, usually accompanied by a range of symptoms including appetite change, sleep disturbance, fatigue, loss of energy, poor concentration, psychomotor symptoms, inappropriate guilt and morbid thoughts of death. Antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment in moderate‐to‐severe major depression. During the last 20 years, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Citalopram, one of the first SSRIs introduced in the market, is the racemic mixture of S‐ and R‐enantiomer. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of citalopram in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Thirty‐seven randomised controlled trials (more than 6000 participants) were included in the present review. In terms of efficacy, citalopram was more efficacious than other reference compounds like paroxetine or reboxetine, but worse than escitalopram. In terms of side effects, citalopram was more acceptable than older antidepressants, like tricyclics. Based on these findings, we conclude that clinicians should focus on practical or clinically relevant considerations including differences in efficacy and side‐effect profiles.

Escitalopram versus other antidepressive agents for depression

Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment. During the last 20 years, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Escitalopram, the last SSRI introduced in the market, is the pure S‐enantiomer of the racemic citalopram. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of escitalopram in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Twenty‐two randomised controlled trials (about 4000 participants) were included in the present review. Escitalopram appears to be suitable as first‐line antidepressant treatment for people with moderate to severe major depression. It has been compared with only a few other antidepressants and so we are unable to say whether it is better, worse or the same as many of the other drugs used in practice. However, it did perform better than citalopram when we brought together the results of six studies in nearly two thousand patients

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Summaries for consumers

Citalopram versus other antidepressants for depression

Major depression is a severe mental illness characterised by a persistent and unreactive low mood and loss of all interest and pleasure, usually accompanied by a range of symptoms including appetite change, sleep disturbance, fatigue, loss of energy, poor concentration, psychomotor symptoms, inappropriate guilt and morbid thoughts of death. Antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment in moderate‐to‐severe major depression. During the last 20 years, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Citalopram, one of the first SSRIs introduced in the market, is the racemic mixture of S‐ and R‐enantiomer. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of citalopram in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Thirty‐seven randomised controlled trials (more than 6000 participants) were included in the present review. In terms of efficacy, citalopram was more efficacious than other reference compounds like paroxetine or reboxetine, but worse than escitalopram. In terms of side effects, citalopram was more acceptable than older antidepressants, like tricyclics. Based on these findings, we conclude that clinicians should focus on practical or clinically relevant considerations including differences in efficacy and side‐effect profiles.

Escitalopram versus other antidepressive agents for depression

Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment. During the last 20 years, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Escitalopram, the last SSRI introduced in the market, is the pure S‐enantiomer of the racemic citalopram. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of escitalopram in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Twenty‐two randomised controlled trials (about 4000 participants) were included in the present review. Escitalopram appears to be suitable as first‐line antidepressant treatment for people with moderate to severe major depression. It has been compared with only a few other antidepressants and so we are unable to say whether it is better, worse or the same as many of the other drugs used in practice. However, it did perform better than citalopram when we brought together the results of six studies in nearly two thousand patients

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for treating people with autism spectrum disorders

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterised by problems with social interaction and communication, as well as repetitive behaviours and limited activities and interests. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants that are sometimes given to reduce anxiety or obsessive‐compulsive behaviours. We found nine trials, involving 320 people, which evaluated four SSRIs: fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, fenfluramine and citalopram. Five studies included only children and four studies included only adults. One trial enrolled 149 children, but the other trials were much smaller. We found no trials that evaluated sertraline, paroxetine or escitalopram. There is no evidence to support the use of SSRIs to treat autism in children. There is limited evidence, which is not yet sufficiently robust, to suggest effectiveness of SSRIs in adults with autism. Treatment with an SSRI may cause side effects. Decisions about the use of SSRIs for established clinical indications that may co‐occur with autism, such as obsessive‐compulsive disorder and depression in adults or children, and anxiety in adults, should be made on a case‐by‐case basis.

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