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Mednotes

Lexapro FDA Alerts

The FDA Alert(s) below may be specifically about Lexapro or relate to a group or class of drugs which include Lexapro (escitalopram).

MedWatch Safety Alerts are distributed by the FDA and published by Drugs.com. Following is a list of possible medication recalls, market withdrawals, alerts and warnings. For the latest FDA MedWatch alerts, go here.

Recent FDA Alert(s) for escitalopram

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Antidepressants: Drug Safety Communication - Use During Pregnancy and Potential Risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn

Dec 14, 2011

Audience: Psychiatry, OB/GYN, Family Practice

Including Celexa (citalopram); Lexapro (escitalopram); Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax (fluoxetine); Luvox, Luvox CR (fluvoxamine); Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva (paroxetine); Zoloft (sertraline); Viibryd (vilazodone

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals and the public on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants by women during pregnancy and the potential risk of a rare heart and lung condition known as Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN). The initial Public Health Advisory in July 2006 on this potential risk was based on a single published study. Since then, there have been conflicting findings from new studies evaluating this potential risk, making it unclear whether use of SSRIs during pregnancy can cause PPHN. 

FDA has reviewed the additional new study results and has concluded that, given the conflicting results from different studies, it is premature to reach any conclusion about a possible link between SSRI use in pregnancy and PPHN. FDA will update the SSRI drug labels to reflect the new data and the conflicting results.

BACKGROUND: SSRIs are marketed under various brand and generic drug names, and are used to treat depression and other psychiatric disorders. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of SSRIs in pregnant women.

PPHN occurs when a newborn baby does not adapt to breathing outside the womb. Newborns with PPHN may require intensive care support including a mechanical ventilator to increase their oxygen level. If severe, PPHN can result in multiple organ damage, including brain damage, and even death.

RECOMMENDATION: FDA advises health care professionals not to alter their current clinical practice of treating depression during pregnancy. See the Data Summary in the FDA Drug Safety Communication for additional information.
 
Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178 

 

[12/14/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]

Antidepressant Medication Products

May 2, 2007

Audience: Healthcare professionals, consumers

[Posted 05/02/2007] FDA notified healthcare professionals that the Agency proposed that makers of all antidepressant medications update the existing black box warning on the prescribing information for their products to include warnings about the increased risks of suicidal thinking and behavior in young adults ages 18 to 24 years old during the first one to two months of treatment. The proposed labeling changes also state that scientific data did not show this increased risk in adults older than 24 years of age and that adults 65 years of age and older taking antidepressants have a decreased risk of suicidality. The proposed updates apply to the entire category of antidepressants. Individuals currently taking prescribed antidepressant medications should not stop taking them and should notify their healthcare professional if they have concerns. Manufacturers of antidepressant medications will have 30 days to submit their revised product labeling and revised Medication Guides to FDA for review. See the FDA press release for the list of products affected by the proposed antidepressant product labeling changes.

[May 02, 2007 - Press Release - FDA]
[May 02, 2007 - Antidepressant Information Page - FDA]

Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate)

Feb 16, 2007

Audience: Consumers, healthcare professionals

[Posted 02/16/2007] FDA informed consumers and healthcare professionals regarding the possible dangers of buying prescription medications online. Individuals who ordered Ambien, Xanax, Lexapro, and Ativan over the internet received a product that contained haloperidol, a powerful anti-psychotic drug. Several consumers experienced difficulty in breathing, muscle spasms and muscle stiffness after ingesting the suspect product and had to seek emergency medical treatment. Haloperiodol can cause muscle stiffness, spasms, agitation and sedation. Taking medication that contains an active ingredient other than what is prescribed by qualified healthcare professionals is generally unsafe. FDA urges consumers to review the FDA website for additional information prior to making purchases of medications over the internet (http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ProtectYourself/default.htm).

[February 16, 2007 - News Release - FDA]

SSRIs and Treatment Challenges of Depression in Pregnancy

Jul 19, 2006

Audience: Neuropsychiatric and other healthcare professionals, and consumers

[Posted 07/19/2006] FDA notified healthcare professionals and consumers of important information from two recent studies that should be considered when making treatment decisions in pregnant women who take antidepressants. The studies included pregnant women who were treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or in a few cases, other antidepressant medications.

One study illustrated the potential risk of relapsed depression after stopping antidepressant medication during pregnancy. In this study, women who stopped their medicine were five times more likely to have a relapse of depression during their pregnancy than were women who continued to take their antidepressant medicine while pregnant.

The second study suggests there may be additional, though rare, risks of taking SSRI medications during pregnancy. This study focused on newborn babies with persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN), which is a serious and life-threatening lung condition that occurs soon after birth. Babies born with PPHN have high pressure in their lung blood vessels and are not able to get enough oxygen into their bloodstream. In this study, PPHN was six times more common in babies whose mothers took an SSRI antidepressant after the 20th week of pregnancy compared to babies whose mothers did not take an antidepressant. The study was too small to compare the risk of one drug compared to another. The finding of PPHN in babies of mothers who used a SSRI antidepressant in the second half of pregnancy adds to concerns from previous reports that infants of mothers taking SSRIs late in pregnancy may experience difficulties such as irritability, difficulty feeding and in very rare cases, difficulty breathing.

Additionally, the labeling for paroxetine (Paxil) was recently changed to add information about findings in an epidemiologic study that suggests that exposure to the drug in the first trimester of pregnancy may be associated with an increased risk of cardiac birth defects.

Women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should not stop any antidepressant medication without first consulting their physician. The FDA is seeking additional information about the possible risk of PPHN in newborn babies of mothers who took SSRI antidepressants in pregnancy. FDA has asked the sponsors of all SSRIs to change prescribing information to describe the potential risk for PPHN.

[July 19, 2006]

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) - Serotonin Syndrome

Jul 19, 2006

Audience: Neuropsychiatric and other healthcare professionals, and consumers

[Posted 07/19/2006] FDA notified healthcare professionals and consumers of new safety information regarding taking medications used to treat migraine headaches (triptans) together with certain types of antidepressant and mood disorder medications (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). A life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome may occur when triptans are used together with a SSRI or a SNRI.

Serotonin syndrome occurs when the body has too much of a chemical found in the nervous system (serotonin). Each of the above medications (triptans, SSRIs, and SNRIs), cause an increase in serotonin levels. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include restlessness, hallucinations, loss of coordination, fast heart beat, rapid changes in blood pressure, increased body temperature, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Healthcare professionals prescribing a triptan, SSRI or SNRI should keep in mind that triptans are often used intermittently and either the triptan, SSRI or SNRI may be prescribed by a different physician; weigh the potential risk of serotonin syndrome with the expected benefit of using the above combination; discuss the possibility of serotonin syndrome with patients if a triptan and an SSRI or SNRI will be used together; and follow patients closely during treatment if a triptan and an SSRI or SNRI are used together.

Patients taking a triptan along with an SSRI or SNRI should talk to their doctor before stopping their medication and should immediately seek medical attention if they experience any of the above symptoms. FDA requested that all manufacturers of triptans, SSRIs and SNRIs update their prescribing information to warn of the possibility of serotonin syndrome when these medications are taken together.

[July 19, 2006]

Lexapro (escitalopram)

Jul 8, 2005

Audience: Neuropsychiatric healthcare professionals and consumers


[UPDATE 07/08/2005] FDA notified healthcare professionals about the availability of updated Healthcare Professional and Patient Information Sheets for antidepressant medications that were the subject of a June 30, 2005 Public Health Advisory issued about the risk of suicidality (suicidal thinking or behavior) in adults being treated with antidepressant medications.

[Posted 07/01/2005] In response to recent scientific publications that report the possibility of increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults treated with antidepressants, the FDA has issued a Public Health Advisory to update patients and healthcare providers with the latest information on this subject. Even before the publication of these recent reports, FDA had already begun the process of reviewing available data to determine whether there is an increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults taking antidepressants. The Agency has asked manufacturers to provide information from their trials using an approach similar to that used in the evaluation of the risk of suicidal behavior in the pediatric population taking antidepressants. This effort will involve hundreds of clinical trials and may take more than a year to complete.

[July 08, 2005 - Healthcare Professional and Patient Information Sheets - FDA]
[July 01, 2005 - Talk Paper - FDA]
[June 30, 2005 - Public Health Advisory - FDA]
[June 30, 2005 - Drug Information Page - FDA]

Public Health Advisory: Antidepressant Use in Children, Adolescents, and Adults

Mar 22, 2004

Audience: Neuropsychiatric healthcare professionals and consumers

The FDA asked manufacturers of the following antidepressant drugs to include in their labeling a Warning statement that recommends close observation of adult and pediatric patients for worsening depression or the emergence of suicidality when treated with these agents. The drugs that are the focus of this new Warning are: Prozac (fluoxetine); Zoloft (sertraline); Paxil (paroxetine); Luvox (fluvoxamine); Celexa (citalopram); Lexapro (escitalopram); Wellbutrin (bupropion); Effexor (venlafaxine); Serzone (nefazodone); and Remeron (mirtazapine).

[March 22, 2004 Public Health Advisory - FDA]
[March 22, 2004 Drug Information Page - FDA]

More Lexapro Resources