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Active ingredient: Escitalopram - Brands, Medical Use, Clinical Data

Brands, Medical Use, Clinical Data

Drug Category

  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors

Dosage Forms

  • Tablet

Brands / Synonyms

Escitalopram Oxalate; Escitalopram [Inn]; Lexapro; Lexapro

Indications

For the treatment of major depressive disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Pharmacology

Escitalopram is one of a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is used to treat the depression associated with mood disorders. It is also used on occassion in the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder and anxiety. The antidepressant, antiobsessive-compulsive, and antibulimic actions of escitalopram are presumed to be linked to its inhibition of CNS neuronal uptake of serotonin. In vitro studies show that escitalopram is a potent and selective inhibitor of neuronal serotonin reuptake and has only very weak effects on norepinephrine and dopamine neuronal reuptake. Escitalopram has no significant affinity for adrenergic (alpha1, alpha2, beta), cholinergic, GABA, dopaminergic, histaminergic, serotonergic (5HT1A, 5HT1B, 5HT2), or benzodiazepine receptors; antagonism of such receptors has been hypothesized to be associated with various anticholinergic, sedative, and cardiovascular effects for other psychotropic drugs. The chronic administration of escitalopram was found to downregulate brain norepinephrine receptors, as has been observed with other drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Escitalopram does not inhibit monoamine oxidase.

Mechanism of Action

The antidepressant, antiobsessive-compulsive, and antibulimic actions of escitalopram are presumed to be linked to its inhibition of CNS neuronal uptake of serotonin. Escitalopram blocks the reuptake of serotonin at the serotonin reuptake pump of the neuronal membrane, enhancing the actions of serotonin on 5HT1A autoreceptors. SSRIs bind with significantly less affinity to histamine, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine receptors than tricyclic antidepressant drugs.

Absorption

The absolute bioavailability of citalopram is about 80% relative to an intravenous dose

Toxicity

Signs of overdose include convulsions, coma, dizziness, hypotension, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, sinus tachycardia, somnolence, and ECG changes (including QT prolongation).

Biotrnasformation / Drug Metabolism

Mainly hepatic. Escitalopram undergoes N-demethylation to S-demethylcitalopram (S-DCT) and S-didemethylcitalopram (S-DDCT). CYP3A4 and CYP2C19 are the enzymes responsible for this N-demethylation.

Contraindications

Concomitant use in patients taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) is contraindicated.

Concomitant use in patients taking pimozide is contraindicated.

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

Drug Interactions

CNS Drugs - Given the primary CNS effects of escitalopram, caution should be used when it is taken in combination with other centrally acting drugs.

Alcohol - Although LEXAPRO did not potentiate the cognitive and motor effects of alcohol in a clinical trial, as with other psychotropic medications, the use of alcohol by patients taking LEXAPRO is not recommended. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) - See Contraindications and Warnings.

Drugs That Interfere With Hemostasis (NSAIDs, Aspirin, Warfarin, etc.)

Serotonin release by platelets plays an important role in hemostasis. Epidemiological studies of the case-control and cohort design that have demonstrated an association between use of psychotropic drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of upper gastrointestinal bleeding have also shown that concurrent use of an NSAID or aspirin potentiated the risk of bleeding. Thus, patients should be cautioned about the use of such drugs concurrently with LEXAPRO.

Cimetidine - In subjects who had received 21 days of 40 mg/day racemic citalopram, combined administration of 400 mg/day cimetidine for 8 days resulted in an increase in citalopram AUC and Cmax of 43% and 39%, respectively. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown.

Digoxin - In subjects who had received 21 days of 40 mg/day racemic citalopram, combined administration of citalopram and digoxin (single dose of 1 mg) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of either citalopram or digoxin.

Lithium - Coadministration of racemic citalopram (40 mg/day for 10 days) and lithium (30 mmol/day for 5 days) had no significant effect on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram or lithium. Nevertheless, plasma lithium levels should be monitored with appropriate adjustment to the lithium dose in accordance with standard clinical practice. Because lithium may enhance the serotonergic effects of escitalopram, caution should be exercised when LEXAPRO and lithium are coadministered.

Pimozide and Celexa - In a controlled study, a single dose of pimozide 2 mg co-administered with racemic citalopram 40 mg given once daily for 11 days was associated with a mean increase in QTc values of approximately 10 msec compared to pimozide given alone. Racemic citalopram did not alter the mean AUC or Cmax of pimozide. The mechanism of this pharmacodynamic interaction is not known.

Sumatriptan - There have been rare postmarketing reports describing patients with weakness, hyperreflexia, and incoordination following the use of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and sumatriptan. If concomitant treatment with sumatriptan and an SSRI (e.g., fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram, escitalopram) is clinically warranted, appropriate observation of the patient is advised.

Theophylline - Combined administration of racemic citalopram (40 mg/day for 21 days) and the CYP1A2 substrate theophylline (single dose of 300 mg) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of theophylline. The effect of theophylline on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram was not evaluated.

Warfarin - Administration of 40 mg/day racemic citalopram for 21 days did not affect the pharmacokinetics of warfarin, a CYP3A4 substrate. Prothrombin time was increased by 5%, the clinical significance of which is unknown.

Carbamazepine - Combined administration of racemic citalopram (40 mg/day for 14 days) and carbamazepine (titrated to 400 mg/day for 35 days) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of carbamazepine, a CYP3A4 substrate. Although trough citalopram plasma levels were unaffected, given the enzyme-inducing properties of carbamazepine, the possibility that carbamazepine might increase the clearance of escitalopram should be considered if the two drugs are coadministered.

Triazolam - Combined administration of racemic citalopram (titrated to 40 mg/day for 28 days) and the CYP3A4 substrate triazolam (single dose of 0.25 mg) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of either citalopram or triazolam.

Ketoconazole - Combined administration of racemic citalopram (40 mg) and ketoconazole (200 mg) decreased the Cmax and AUC of ketoconazole by 21% and 10%, respectively, and did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of citalopram.

Ritonavir - Combined administration of a single dose of ritonavir (600 mg), both a CYP3A4 substrate and a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, and escitalopram (20 mg) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of either ritonavir or escitalopram.

CYP3A4 and -2C19 Inhibitors - In vitro studies indicated that CYP3A4 and -2C19 are the primary enzymes involved in the metabolism of escitalopram. However, coadministration of escitalopram (20 mg) and ritonavir (600 mg), a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of escitalopram. Because escitalopram is metabolized by multiple enzyme systems, inhibition of a single enzyme may not appreciably decrease escitalopram clearance.

Drugs Metabolized by Cytochrome P4502D6 - In vitro studies did not reveal an inhibitory effect of escitalopram on CYP2D6. In addition, steady state levels of racemic citalopram were not significantly different in poor metabolizers and extensive CYP2D6 metabolizers after multiple-dose administration of citalopram, suggesting that coadministration, with escitalopram, of a drug that inhibits CYP2D6, is unlikely to have clinically significant effects on escitalopram metabolism. However, there are limited in vivo data suggesting a modest CYP2D6 inhibitory effect for escitalopram, i.e., coadministration of escitalopram (20 mg/day for 21 days) with the tricyclic antidepressant desipramine (single dose of 50 mg), a substrate for CYP2D6, resulted in a 40% increase in Cmax and a 100% increase in AUC of desipramine. The clinical significance of this finding is unknown. Nevertheless, caution is indicated in the coadministration of escitalopram and drugs metabolized by CYP2D6.

Metoprolol - Administration of 20 mg/day LEXAPRO for 21 days in healthy volunteers resulted in a 50% increase in Cmax and 82% increase in AUC of the beta-adrenergic blocker metoprolol (given in a single dose of 100 mg). Increased metoprolol plasma levels have been associated with decreased cardioselectivity. Coadministration of LEXAPRO and metoprolol had no clinically significant effects on blood pressure or heart rate.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) - There are no clinical studies of the combined use of ECT and escitalopram.

Concomitant Administration with Racemic Citalopram

Citalopram - Since escitalopram is the active isomer of racemic citalopram (Celexa), the two agents should not be coadministered.

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