Lexapro is used to treat major depressive disorder in adults and adolescents and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in adults. It is taken orally and is available in tablet and oral solution form. The tablets come in dosage strengths equivalent to 5mg, 10mg and 20mg escitalopram base and Lexapro oral solution contains escitalopram oxalate equivalent to 1 mg/mL escitalopram base.
Lexapro Starting Dosages
- For a major depressive disorder, the recommended starting Lexapro dosage is 10mg once daily in both adults and adolescents. In this context, the definition of an adolescent is any person aged between 12 and 17 years.
- The recommended initial dosage for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is also 10mg, but the dose can be increased to 20mg after 1 week.
- 10mg once a day is also the recommended dose for special populations such as the majority of elderly patients and individuals with hepatic impairment.
However, these are just general guidelines and the correct starting dose may vary from patient to patient.
Dosage for Maintenance Treatment
General consensus suggests patients experiencing acute episodes of major depressive disorder should continue taking 10 or 20mg of Lexapro daily for several months. Healthcare providers who elect to prescribe Lexapro to a patient for an extended period of time should make sure to periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual. GAD, on the other hand, is a chronic condition and the efficacy of Lexapro in the treatment of this disorder beyond 8 weeks has not been systematically studied.
Tips and Warnings
- Lexapro can be taken with or without food.
- Patients who find the medication upsets their stomach should try taking it with a meal.
- In cases where the drug makes the patient drowsy, he or she can try taking it shortly before bedtime.
- Once the individual finds a suitable time of day to take Lexapro, the medication should be taken at the same time every day to maintain an even level of the drug in the patient’s blood.
- It typically takes several weeks to feel the beneficial effects of the correct dosage of Lexapro.
Although Lexapro is a useful drug, it must be handled extremely carefully. The medication should be taken exactly as prescribed by the patient’s healthcare provider and is only to be used by the person it was prescribed for. If a patient has any concerns or questions about the medication, he or she should consult their doctor.