Escitalopram, a brand name for a formulation containing essential Escitalopram, is widely used for various health benefits. This guide provides comprehensive information on the uses, dosage, side effects, and mechanism of action of Escitalopram, as well as insights into how long it takes to work. Understanding these aspects can help you make informed decisions about its use and effectiveness.


Escitalopram is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is used to treat major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, panic disorder, and other mood disorders. It is the active S-enantiomer of the racemic drug citalopram, meaning that it has fewer side effects than citalopram while providing the same amount of therapeutic benefit.

Uses for

Escitalopram is used to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mechanism of Action

Escitalopram works by blocking the re-uptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which allows serotonin to remain in the synapses and act on the post-synaptic receptor cells. This leads to an increase in serotonin in the brain, which is thought to lead to the desired therapeutic effect.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

The effects of escitalopram can be seen within 1-2 weeks of starting therapy but full therapeutic benefit may take up to 4-8 weeks.


Escitalopram is rapidly and well absorbed into the body, with peak plasma concentrations seen in 1-2 hours after a single oral dose. It is highly bound to plasma proteins.

Route of Elimination

Escitalopram is mainly eliminated through the kidneys and has an elimination half-life of approximately 27-33 hours.


The recommended starting dose of escitalopram is 10 mg once daily. Depending on the individual's response to the drug, the dosage may be increased to 20 mg once daily. Children aged 12-17 may be started at 10 mg once daily, which may be increased to 20 mg once daily. The maximum recommended daily dose is 20 mg.


Escitalopram should be taken by mouth at the same time each day, either with or without food.

Side Effects

Common side effects of escitalopram include nausea, drowsiness, insomnia, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, and sexual dysfunction.


At extremely high doses, escitalopram can cause serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by agitation, delirium, tachycardia, and sweating.


Escitalopram should be used with caution in patients with prior history of seizure, or in patients with a significant risk of seizure activity. Escitalopram should also be used with caution in patients with cardiovascular disease or in patients taking other medications that may increase the risk of arrhythmias or other heart problems.


Escitalopram may interact with other drugs, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), anticoagulants, tricyclic antidepressants, non-tricyclic antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-epileptic medications, lithium, phenothiazines, and opioids. It is important to tell your doctor about all medications you are currently taking, to ensure no drug interactions occur.

Disease Interactions

Escitalopram may worsen or cause adverse effects in people with hepatic impairment, seizure disorders, or mania.

Drug Interactions

Escitalopram may interact with some medications, including MAOIs, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants.

Food Interactions

There are no known food interactions with escitalopram.

Pregnancy Use

Escitalopram should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Lactation Use

Escitalopram is excreted in human milk and should be used with caution in breastfeeding women.

Acute Overdose

Symptoms of an acute overdose include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, sweating, tachycardia, and seizures. Treatment should be supportive and symptomatic.


Escitalopram is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to escitalopram or any component of the medication.

Use Direction

Escitalopram should be taken as directed by a healthcare provider, and it is available in tablets and oral solution. Tablet strengths include 10 mg and 20 mg; the oral solution contains 5 mg per 5 ml.

Storage Condition

Escitalopram should be stored at room temperature, between 15-25 degrees Celsius. The tablets should be stored in a dry place and away from sunlight.

Volume of Distribution

Escitalopram has an apparent volume of distribution of 12-26 L/kg..

Half Life

The half life of escitalopram is approximately 27-33 hours.


Escitalopram has a renal clearance of 0.6 L/hour/kg.

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