Labeled indications include major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Unlabeled indications include treatment of mild dementia-associated agitation in nonpsychotic patients.
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.
Mode 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.
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 reaction.
Signs of overdose include convulsions, coma, dizziness, hypotension, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, sinus tachycardia, somnolence, and ECG changes (including QT prolongation).
Moore N, Verdoux H, Fantino B: Prospective, multicentre, randomized, double-blind study of the efficacy of escitalopram versus citalopram in outpatient treatment of major depressive disorder. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2005 May;20(3):131-7. PubmedBoulenger JP, Huusom AK, Florea I, Baekdal T, Sarchiapone M: A comparative study of the efficacy of long-term treatment with escitalopram and paroxetine in severely depressed patients. Curr Med Res Opin. 2006 Jul;22(7):1331-41. PubmedBielski RJ, Ventura D, Chang CC: A double-blind comparison of escitalopram and venlafaxine extended release in the treatment of major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;65(9):1190-6. PubmedNierenberg AA, Greist JH, Mallinckrodt CH, Prakash A, Sambunaris A, Tollefson GD, Wohlreich MM: Duloxetine versus escitalopram and placebo in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder: onset of antidepressant action, a non-inferiority study. Curr Med Res Opin. 2007 Feb;23(2):401-16. PubmedChen F, Larsen MB, Sanchez C, Wiborg O: The S-enantiomer of R,S-citalopram, increases inhibitor binding to the human serotonin transporter by an allosteric mechanism. Comparison with other serotonin transporter inhibitors. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2005 Mar;15(2):193-8. Pubmed
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