Cipralex – Use | Side Effects | Dose
Cipralex is a medicine that contains an active substance called escitalopram. It belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is used to treat depression, social phobia, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Cipralex antidepressant should be avoided in patients taking other medicines to treat depression, known as MAO inhibitors, such as:
- selegiline (used to treat Parkinson’s disease),
- linezolid (it is used as an antibiotic), and others.
If you take these or if you have taken them in the last two weeks do not start treatment with Ciprlaex. Concomitant use of these medicines with Cipralex may cause serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- loss of muscle control,
- muscle cramps,
- irregular heartbeat,
- delirium and coma! Tell your doctor immediately if you are experiencing any of abovementioned symptoms.
It may prolong the QT interval causing heart rhythm disorder, therefore Cipralex drug should be avoided in combination with other drugs that may also prolong the QT interval, such as:
- Antibiotics, such as:
- Antihistamines, used in the treatment of allergy, such as:
- Drugs used in the treatment of fungal infections, such as:
- ketoconazole and others.
- Drugs used to treat irregular heartbeat.
- Other medicines used to treat depression.
Concomitant use of the abovementioned drugs with Cipralex can cause serious arrhythmias.
It should be avoided in patients allergic to the active substance escitalopram or other similar drugs (e.g. citalopram).
Cipralex should be used with extra precautions in the following conditions:
- In patients with diabetes.
- In patients with low levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia).
- Patients with bleeding.
- In patients with heart problems.
- In patients with glaucoma.
Do not stop suddenly stop taking this medicine. If you suddenly stop taking this medicine you may have side effects. You should gradually reduce the dose before stopping Cipralex. Your doctor will explain you how to gradually reduce the dose.
Use during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Cipralex should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit to the mother outweighs the risk to the child. Newborns whose mothers took this medicine during pregnancy may have difficulty breathing at birth.
Avoid breastfeeding while using this drug, as Cipralex passes into breast milk and may harm your baby.
How to use
Your doctor will generally recommend you to start the treatment with low dose of Cipralex 10 mg or 5 mg once a day. The dosage may be gradually increased up to 20 mg once a day, until the desired effect is achieved. The maximum daily dose is 20 mg. Treatment usually lasts for several months. Keep in mind that it takes at least a month of treatment for symptoms to improve.
Do not stop suddenly stop taking Cipralex. You should gradually reduce the dose before stopping Cipralex.
Example: If you have been taking 20 mg per day, then the dose should first be reduced to 10 mg once a day for one week, then the dose should be reduced again to 5 mg once a day for another week and only after that you can stop using Cipalex completely. If you suddenly stop taking this medicine you may have side effects.
Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water. Do not crush or chew the tablet. It can be taken with food, because Ciprlalex is not affected by food in your stomach.
Use with other medicines (Interactions)
Besides the drugs listed above, Cipralex should be avoided in combination with the following drugs:
- Drugs used to treat migraines, so-called triptans, such as: sumatriptan (Imigran).
- Lithium, used in the treatment of depression.
- Warfarin, a drug used in the treatment of blood clotting disorders. Concomitant use of Cipralex with this drug increases the risk of bleeding.
- St. John’s Wort. This plant and its products may increase the level of Cipralex in the blood, increasing the risk of side effects.
- Omeprazole, a drug used in the treatment of heartburn and ulcers. This drug increases level of Cipralex in the blood, increasing the risk of side effects.
- Metoprolol (Presolol), a drug used in the treatment of heart disease.
It should not be used in combination with alcoholic beverages.
Tell your doctor about all medications and herbal products you are taking.
Cipralex side effects
Cipralex can cause the following side effects:
- weight gain,
- low blood sodium level (hyponatremia),
- loss of muscle coordination,
- muscle cramps (muscle rigidity),
- heart rhythm disorders,
- low blood pressure (hypotension),
- dry mouth,
- muscle pain,
- joint pain,
- menstrual disorders,
- reducing the number of platelets in the blood,
- allergy and others.
Tell your doctor if you are experiencing any side effects.