Escitalopram: Uses & Dosage

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

There are a lot of medications that have been used to try and treat depression, and escitalopram is one of them. You'll learn what kind of medication this is, what it's used for, and some example dosage information.

Escitalopram

Every one of us worries now and then. Maybe you have to take a major test in a week or so. You're anxious as a result. That's not abnormal. Once you take that test you'll probably be fine. In fact, you'll probably be very relieved and will go have a good time with friends.

That kind of anxiety is very different from more serious anxiety disorders as you're about to learn. Some anxiety disorders can be so disruptive that they require medication. One possible medication for this is called escitalopram. Let's learn more about its uses and dosage.

Uses

Escitalopram, or Lexapro, is a medication that is known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI. What does this mean? Well, you communicate with words. But your brain cells communicate with biochemical signals called neurotransmitters. One such neurotransmitter is serotonin. When a brain cell wants to chat to its neighboring brain cell, it might release serotonin. After releasing the serotonin, the brain cell will reabsorb it in order to send it out again the next time it needs to say something.

SSRIs like escitalopram block this reabsorption. This means the brain has more serotonin floating around. This may help regulate a person's mood in a beneficial way. So, it shouldn't be too big of a shocker that escitalopram is used to regulate two major disorders involving mood:

  • Major depressive disorder, more commonly called depression. This condition results in persistent sadness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, feelings of worthlessness and much more. As such, escitalopram is also an antidepressant.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder. Like the intro should've made clear, this isn't just a one-off episode of anxiety. No, this is persistent and an excessive worry that interferes with a person's health, mental state, and day-to-day life. As a result, escitalopram also has anxiolytic effects. In other words, it has anxiety-relieving effects.

While these are the two disorders for which escitalopram is used for officially, it can be used off-label for numerous other conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and insomnia.

Dosage

Because depression and generalized anxiety disorder are serious, and escitalopram has numerous side effects, you should always talk to a doctor about any of the following dosage information!

For instance, when escitalopram is used to treat depression, it might be given 10 mg, by mouth, once a day. If it's used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, it could be given 10 mg, by mouth, once a day as well.

When being used off-label to treat insomnia as a result of a panic disorder in women, it might be given 5-10 mg, by mouth, over the course of 8 weeks. When being used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder in an off-label fashion, it might be given at 10 mg, by mouth, once a day.

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