- escitalopram oxalate
POM: Prescription only medicine
The Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) is the leaflet included in the pack with a medicine. It is written for patients and gives information about taking or using a medicine. It is possible that the leaflet in your medicine pack may differ from this version because it may have been updated since your medicine was packaged.
Below is a text only representation of the Patient Information Leaflet. The original can be viewed in PDF format using the link above.
The text only version may be available from RNIB in large print, Braille or audio CD. For further information call RNIB Medicine Leaflet Line on 0800 198 5000. The product code(s) for this leaflet is: PL17780/0292.
Escitalopram 5mg, 10mg, 15mg and 20mg Film coated Tablets
PACKAGE LEAFLET: INFORMATION FOR THE USER
ESCITALOPRAM 5 MG, 10 MG AND 20 MG
Eight important things you need to know about Escitalopram
Please read all of the leaflet. It includes a lot of additional important information about this medicine.
Read all of this leaflet carefully before you start taking this medicine because it contains important information for you.
What is in this leaflet:
1. What escitalopram is and what it is used for
2. What you need to know before you take escitalopram
3. How to take escitalopram
4. Stopping escitalopram
5. Possible side effects
6. How to store escitalopram
7. Contents of the pack and other information
1. WHAT ESCITALOPRAM IS AND WHAT IT IS USED FOR
The name of your medicine is Escitalopram 5mg, 10mg and 20mg film-coated tablets (called escitalopram throughout this leaflet). It contains the active substance escitalopram. Escitalopram belongs to a group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medicines act on the serotonin-system in the brain by increasing the serotonin level. Disturbances in the serotonin-system are considered an important factor in the development of depression and related diseases.
Escitalopram is a medicine for the treatment of depression (major depressive episodes).
It may take a couple of weeks before you start to feel better. Continue to take escitalopram even if it takes some time before you feel any improvement in your condition.
You must talk to a doctor if you do not feel better or if you feel worse.
2. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU TAKE ESCITALOPRAM
Do not take escitalopram
Warnings and precautions
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking this medicine. Please tell your doctor if you have any other condition or illness, as your doctor may need to take this into consideration. In particular, tell your doctor:
Some patients with manic-depressive illness may enter into a manic phase. This is characterized by unusual and rapidly changing ideas, inappropriate happiness and excessive physical activity. If you experience this, contact your doctor.
Symptoms such as restlessness or difficulty in sitting or standing still can also occur during the first weeks of the treatment.
Tell your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
Thoughts of suicide and worsening of your depression
If you are depressed you can sometimes have thoughts of harming or killing yourself. These may be increased when first starting antidepressants, since these medicines all take time to work, usually about two weeks but sometimes longer.
You may be more likely to think like this:
If you have thoughts of harming or killing yourself at any time, contact your doctor or go to a hospital straight away.
You may find it helpful to tell a relative or close friend that you are depressed and ask them to read this leaflet. You might ask them to tell you if they think your depression is getting worse, or if they are worried about changes in your behaviour.
Use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age
Escitalopram should normally not be used for children and adolescents under 18 years. Also, you should know that patients under 18 have an increased risk of side effects such as suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts and hostility (predominately aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) when they take this class of medicines. Despite this, your doctor may prescribe escitalopram for patients under 18 because he/she decides that this is in their best interest. If your doctor has prescribed escitalopram for a patient under 18 and you want to discuss this, please go back to your doctor. You should inform your doctor if any symptoms listed above develop or worsen when patients under 18 are taking escitalopram. Also, the long term safety effects concerning growth, maturation and cognitive and behavioural development of escitalopram in this age group have not yet been demonstrated.
Other medicines and escitalopram
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines.
Tell your doctor if you taking any of the following medicines:
Do not take escitalopram if you take medicines for heart rhythm problems or medicines that may affect the heart’s rhythm, such as Class IA and III antiarrhythmics, antipsychotics (e.g. phenothiazine derivatives, pimozide, haloperidol), tricyclic antidepressants, certain antimicrobial agents (e.g. sparfloxacin, moxifloxacin, erythromycin IV, pentamidine, anti-malarial treatment, particularly halofantrine), certain antihistamines (e.g.astemizole, mizolastine).
If you have any further questions about this you should speak to your doctor.
Escitalopram with food, drink and alcohol
Escitalopram can be taken with or without food (see section 3 “How to take escitalopram”).
As with many medicines, combining escitalopram with alcohol is not advisable, although escitalopram is not expected to interact with alcohol.
Pregnancy, breast-feeding and fertility
If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before taking this medicine. Do not take escitalopram if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, unless you and your doctor have discussed the risks and benefits involved.
If you take escitalopram during the last 3 months of your pregnancy you should be aware that the following effects may be seen in your newborn baby: trouble with breathing, bluish skin, fits, body temperature changes, feeding difficulties, vomiting, low blood sugar, stiff or floppy muscles, vivid reflexes, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, lethargy, constant crying, sleepiness and sleeping difficulties. If your newborn baby has any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately.
Make sure your midwife and/or doctor know you are on escitalopram. When taken during pregnancy, particularly in the last 3 months of pregnancy, medicines like escitalopram may increase the risk of a serious condition in babies, called persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), making the baby breathe faster and appear bluish. These symptoms usually begin during the first 24 hours after the baby is born. If this happens to your baby you should contact your midwife and/or doctor immediately.
If used during pregnancy escitalopram should never be stopped abruptly.
It is expected that escitalopram will be excreted into breast milk.
Citalopram, a medicine like escitalopram, has been shown to reduce the quality of sperm in animal studies. Theoretically, this could affect fertility, but impact on human fertility has not been observed as yet.
Driving and using machines
You are advised not to drive a car or operate machinery until you know how escitalopram affects you.
3. HOW TO TAKE ESCITALOPRAM
Always take this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
Unless otherwise prescribed by the doctor, the recommended dose for adults is:
10 mg of escitalopram once daily. If necessary, your doctor can increase the dose. The maximum recommended dose is 20 mg of escitalopram once daily.
Swallow the tablet whole with some water. You can take the tablet with or without food.
Escitalopram 10mg/ 20mg Film-coated Tablets can be divided into equal doses.
Elderly patients (above 65 years of age)
The recommended starting dose of escitalopram is 5 mg taken as one daily dose. The dose may be increased by your doctor to 10 mg per day.
Children and adolescents (below 18 years of age)
Escitalopram should not normally be given to children and adolescents. For further information please see section 2 “What you need to know before you take escitalopram”.
Patients with liver function disorders
The recommended daily dose for patients with liver function disorders is 5 mg of escitalopram once daily. After 2 weeks your doctor may increase the dose to 10 mg of escitalopram once daily.
Patients with mild to moderate kidney function disorders
No dose adjustment is necessary if you suffer from mild or moderate kidney function disorders.
Patients with severe kidney function disorders
Patients with severe kidney function disorders should only take escitalopram after consulting their doctor.
How long should you continue to take escitalopram
Your doctor will determine how long you should continue to take escitalopram. As with other medicines for the treatment of depression, it may take some weeks until you start to feel better. Continue to take the tablets even if it takes a while until you feel better.
In any event you should speak to your doctor in advance before you make any changes to the dose.
Duration of treatment varies. Continue to take the film-coated tablets as your doctor has prescribed, even if you are already feeling better. If you stop taking the tablets too early, your symptoms may return. Therefore, treatment should be continued for at least six months after your symptoms have subsided.
If you take more escitalopram than you should
If you take more than the prescribed dose of escitalopram, contact your doctor or nearest hospital emergency department immediately. Do this even if there are no signs of discomfort. Some of the signs of an overdose could be dizziness, tremor, agitation, convulsion, coma, nausea, vomiting, change in heart rhythm, decreased blood pressure and change in body fluid/salt balance. Take the escitalopram box/container with you when you go to the doctor or hospital.
If you forget to take escitalopram
Do not take a double dose to make up for forgotten doses. If you do forget to take a dose, and you remember before you go to bed, take it straight away. Carry on as usual the next day. If you only remember during the night, or the next day, leave out the missed dose and carry on as usual.
4. STOPPING ESCITALOPRAM
You should speak to your doctor in advance before you stop taking escitalopram. Please inform your doctor if you wish to stop treatment early.
Do not stop taking escitalopram until your doctor tells you to do so. When you have completed your course of treatment, it is generally advised that the dose of escitalopram is gradually reduced over a number of weeks. When you stop taking escitalopram, especially if it is abruptly, you may feel discontinuation symptoms. These are common when treatment with escitalopram is stopped. The risk is higher, when escitalopram has been used for a long time or in high doses or when the dose is reduced too quickly. Most people find that the symptoms are mild and go away on their own within two weeks. However, in some patients they may be severe in intensity or they may be prolonged (2 – 3 months or more). If you get severe discontinuation symptoms when you stop taking escitalopram, please contact your doctor. He or she may ask you to start taking your tablets again and reduce the dose more slowly.
Discontinuation symptoms include: Feeling dizzy (unsteady or off-balance), feelings like pins and needles, burning sensations and (less commonly) electric shock sensations, including in the head, sleep disturbances (vivid dreams, nightmares, inability to sleep), feeling anxious, headaches, feeling sick (nausea), sweating (including night sweats), feeling restless or agitated, tremor (shakiness), feeling confused or disorientated, feeling emotional or irritable, diarrhoea (loose stools), visual disturbances, fluttering or pounding heartbeat (palpitations).
If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
5. POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.
The side effects usually disappear after a few weeks of treatment. Please be aware that many of the effects may also be symptoms of your illness and therefore will improve when you start to get better.
Stop taking escitalopram and see a doctor or go to a hospital straight away if you get:
Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people):
Rare (may affect up to 1 in 1000 people):
Talk to a doctor straightaway if you notice any of the following side effects (frequency not known):
In addition to the above, the following side effects have been reported:
Very common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people):
Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people):
Uncommon (may affect up to 1 in 100 people):
Rare (may affect up to 1 in 1000 people):
Some patients have reported (frequency cannot be estimated from the available data):
In addition, a number of side effects are known to occur with drugs that work in a similar way to escitalopram (the active ingredient of Escitalopram film-coated tablets). These are:
Reporting of side effects
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet. You can also report side effects directly via the Yellow Card Scheme at: www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard
By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.
6. HOW TO STORE ESCITALOPRAM
Keep this medicine out of the sight and reach of children.
Do not use this medicine after the expiry date which is stated on the outer carton and the blister (EXP). The expiry date refers to the last day of that month.
This medicinal product does not require any special storage conditions.
Do not throw away any medicine via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to throw away medicines you no longer use. These measures will help protect the environment.
7. CONTENTS OF THE PACK AND OTHER INFORMATION
What Escitalopram 5mg, 10mg and 20mg film-coated tablets contains
The active substance is escitalopram.
One film-coated tablet contains 5 mg, 10 mg or 20 mg escitalopram (as escitalopram oxalate).
The other ingredients are:
What Escitalopram 5mg, 10mg and 20mg film-coated tablets look like and contents of the pack
Escitalopram 5 mg film-coated tablets are white to off-white, round, biconvex, film-coated tablets.
Escitalopram 10mg and 20mg film-coated tablets are white to off-white, oval shaped film-coated tablets with a break line on one side.
Escitalopram are available in packs of 7, 10, 14, 20, 28, 30, 50, 56, 98, 100 (blister packs) film-coated tablets.
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.
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This leaflet was last revised in 07/2014