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About escitalopram

Escitalopram is a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

It's often used to treat depression and is sometimes used for anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or panic attacks.

Escitalopram helps many people recover from depression and has fewer side effects than older antidepressants.

Escitalopram is available on prescription. It comes as tablets and liquid drops that you put in a drink.

Key facts

  • Escitalopram is thought to work by increasing the levels of a mood-enhancing chemical called serotonin in your brain.
  • It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for escitalopram to work fully.
  • Common side effects include feeling sick (nausea) and headaches. They're usually mild and go away after a couple of weeks.
  • If you and your doctor decide to take you off escitalopram, your doctor will probably recommend reducing your dose gradually to help prevent withdrawal side effects.
  • Some people find they cannot concentrate properly while they're taking escitalopram. It might be best to stop driving and cycling for the first few days of treatment until you know how this medicine makes you feel.

Page last reviewed: 24 February 2022
Next review due: 24 February 2025