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ESCITALOPRAM 15MG FILM-COATED TABLETS

Active substance(s): ESCITALOPRAM OXALATE / ESCITALOPRAM OXALATE / ESCITALOPRAM OXALATE

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SUMMARY OF PRODUCT CHARACTERISTICS

1

NAME OF THE MEDICINAL PRODUCT

Escitalopram 15 mg film-coated tablets

2

QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE COMPOSITION

Escitalopram 15 mg film-coated tablets: Each tablet contains 15 mg escitalopram (as oxalate)
For a full list of excipients, see section 6.1.

3

PHARMACEUTICAL FORM

Film-coated tablet
Escitalopram 15 mg film-coated tablets: White to off-white, oval, biconvex, film coated
tablets with ‘E 3’ debossed on one side and scoreline on the other side.
The 10 mg, 15 mg and 20 mg tablets can be divided into equal halves.

4

CLINICAL PARTICULARS

4.1

Therapeutic indications

Treatment of major depressive episodes.
Treatment of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia.
Treatment of social anxiety disorder (social phobia).
Treatment of generalised anxiety disorder.
Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

4.2

Posology and method of administration

The safety of daily doses above 20 mg has not been demonstrated.
Escitalopram film-coated tablets is administered as a single daily dose and may be taken with
or without food.
Major depressive episodes
Usual dosage is 10 mg once daily. Depending on individual patient response, the dose may be
increased to a maximum of 20 mg daily.
Usually 2-4 weeks are necessary to obtain antidepressant response. After the symptoms
resolve, treatment for at least 6 months is required for consolidation of the response.
Panic disorder with or without agoraphobia
An initial dose of 5 mg is recommended for the first week before increasing the dose to 10 mg
daily. The dose may be further increased, up to a maximum of 20 mg daily, dependent on
individual patient response.
Maximum effectiveness is reached after about 3 months. The treatment lasts several months.
Social anxiety disorder
Usual dosage is 10 mg once daily. Usually 2-4 weeks are necessary to obtain symptom relief.
The dose may subsequently, depending on individual patient response, be decreased to 5 mg
or increased to a maximum of 20 mg daily.
Social anxiety disorder is a disease with a chronic course, and treatment for 12 weeks is
recommended to consolidate response. Long-term treatment of responders has been studied
for 6 months and can be considered on an individual basis to prevent relapse; treatment
benefits should be re-evaluated at regular intervals.
Social anxiety disorder is a well-defined diagnostic terminology of a specific disorder, which
should not be confounded with excessive shyness. Pharmacotherapy is only indicated if the
disorder interferes significantly with professional and social activities.
The place of this treatment compared to cognitive behavioural therapy has not been assessed.
Pharmacotherapy is part of an overall therapeutic strategy.
Generalised anxiety disorder
Initial dosage is 10 mg once daily. Depending on the individual patient response, the dose
may be increased to a maximum of 20 mg daily.
Long-term treatment of responders has been studied for at least 6 months in patients receiving
20 mg daily. Treatment benefits and dose should be re-evaluated at regular intervals (see
Section 5.1).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Initial dosage is 10 mg once daily. Depending on the individual patient response, the dose
may be increased to a maximum of 20 mg daily.

As OCD is a chronic disease, patients should be treated for a sufficient period to ensure that
they are symptom free.
Treatment benefits and dose should be re-evaluated at regular intervals (see section 5.1).
Elderly patients (> 65 years of age)
Initial dosage is 5 mg once daily. Depending on individual patient response the dose may be
increased to 10 mg daily (see section 5.2).
The efficacy of escitalopram in social anxiety disorder has not been studied in elderly
patients.
Children and adolescents (<18 years)
Escitalopram film-coated tablets should not be used in the treatment of children and
adolescents under the age of 18 years (see section 4.4).
Reduced renal function
Dosage adjustment is not necessary in patients with mild or moderate renal impairment.
Caution is advised in patients with severely reduced renal function (CLCR less than 30
ml/min.) (see section 5.2).
Reduced hepatic function
An initial dose of 5 mg daily for the first two weeks of treatment is recommended in patients
with mild or moderate hepatic impairment. Depending on individual patient response, the
dose may be increased to 10 mg daily. Caution and extra careful dose titration is advised in
patients with severely reduced hepatic function (see section 5.2).
Poor metabolisers of CYP2C19
For patients who are known to be poor metabolisers with respect to CYP2C19, an initial dose
of 5 mg daily during the first two weeks of treatment is recommended. Depending on
individual patient response, the dose may be increased to 10 mg daily (see section 5.2).
Discontinuation symptoms seen when stopping treatment
Abrupt discontinuation should be avoided. When stopping treatment with escitalopram the
dose should be gradually reduced over a period of at least one to two weeks in order to reduce
the risk of discontinuation symptoms (see section 4.4 and 4.8). If intolerable symptoms occur
following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the
previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue
decreasing the dose, but at a more gradual rate.

4.3

Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to escitalopram or to any of the excipients.

Concomitant treatment with non-selective, irreversible monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOinhibitors) is contraindicated due to the risk of serotonin syndrome with agitation, tremor,
hyperthermia etc. (see section 4.5).
The combination of escitalopram with reversible MAO-A inhibitors (e.g. moclobemide) or
the reversible non-selective MAO-inhibitor linezolid is contraindicated due to the risk of
onset of a serotonin syndrome (see section 4.5).
Escitalopram is contraindicated in patients with known QT-interval prolongation or
congenital long QT syndrome.
Escitalopram is contraindicated together with medicinal products that are known to prolong
the QT-interval (see section 4.5).

4.4

Special warnings and precautions for use

The following special warnings and precautions apply to the therapeutic class of SSRIs
(Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors).
Use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age
Escitalopram should not be used in the treatment of children and adolescents under the age of
18 years. Suicide-related behaviours (suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts), and hostility
(predominantly aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) were more frequently observed
in clinical trials among children and adolescents treated with antidepressants compared to
those treated with placebo. If, based on clinical need, a decision to treat is nevertheless taken,
the patient should be carefully monitored for the appearance of suicidal symptoms. In
addition, long-term safety data in children and adolescents concerning growth, maturation and
cognitive and behavioural development are lacking.
Paradoxical anxiety
Some patients with panic disorder may experience increased anxiety symptoms at the
beginning of treatment with antidepressants. This paradoxical reaction usually subsides within
two weeks during continued treatment. A low starting dose is advised to reduce the likelihood
of an anxiogenic effect (see section 4.2).
Seizures
Escitalopram should be discontinued if a patient develops seizures for the first time, or if
there is an increase in seizure frequency (in patients with a previous diagnosis of epilepsy).
SSRIs should be avoided in patients with unstable epilepsy and patients with controlled
epilepsy should be closely monitored.
Mania
SSRIs should be used with caution in patients with a history of mania/hypomania. SSRIs
should be discontinued in any patient entering a manic phase.
Diabetes
In patients with diabetes, treatment with an SSRI may alter glycaemic control (hypoglycaemia
or hyperglycaemia). Insulin and/or oral hypoglycaemic dosage may need to be adjusted.
Suicide/suicidal thoughts or clinical worsening
Depression is associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, self-harm and suicide
(suicide-related events). This risk persists until significant remission occurs. As improvement

may not occur during the first few weeks or more of treatment, patients should be closely
monitored until such improvement occurs. It is general clinical experience that the risk of
suicide may increase in the early stages of recovery.
Other psychiatric conditions for which escitalopram is prescribed can also be associated with
an increased risk of suicide-related events. In addition, these conditions may be co-morbid
with major depressive disorder. The same precautions observed when treating patients with
major depressive disorder should therefore be observed when treating patients with other
psychiatric disorders.
Patients with a history of suicide-related events, or those exhibiting a significant degree of
suicidal ideation prior to commencement of treatment, are known to be at greater risk of
suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, and should receive careful monitoring during treatment.
A meta analysis of placebo controlled clinical trials of antidepressant drugs in adult patients
with psychiatric disorders showed an increased risk of suicidal behaviour with antidepressants
compared to placebo in patients less than 25 years old. Close supervision of patients and in
particular those at high risk should accompany drug therapy especially in early treatment and
following dose changes.
Patients (and caregivers of patients) should be alerted about the need to monitor for any
clinical worsening, suicidal behaviour or thoughts and unusual changes in behaviour and to
seek medical advice immediately if these symptoms present.
Akathisia/psychomotor restlessness
The use of SSRIs/SNRIs has been associated with the development of akathisia, characterised
by a subjectively unpleasant or distressing restlessness and need to move often accompanied
by an inability to sit or stand still. This is most likely to occur within the first few weeks of
treatment. In patients who develop these symptoms, increasing the dose may be detrimental.
Hyponatraemia
Hyponatraemia, probably due to inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), has
been reported rarely with the use of SSRIs and generally resolves on discontinuation of
therapy. Caution should be exercised in patients at risk, such as the elderly, or patients with
cirrhosis, or if used in combination with other medications which may cause hyponatraemia.
Haemorrhage
There have been reports of cutaneous bleeding abnormalities, such as ecchymoses and
purpura, with SSRIs. Caution is advised in patients taking SSRIs, particularly in concomitant
use with oral anticoagulants, with medicinal products known to affect platelet function (e.g.
atypical antipsychotics and phenothiazines, most tricyclic antidepressants, acetylsalicylic acid
and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicinal products (NSAIDs), ticlopidine and
dipyridamole) and in patients with known bleeding tendencies.
ECT (electroconvulsive therapy)
There is limited clinical experience of concurrent administration of SSRIs and ECT, therefore
caution is advisable.
Serotonin syndrome
Caution is advisable if escitalopram is used concomitantly with medicinal products with
serotonergic effects such as sumatriptan or other triptans, tramadol and tryptophan.
In rare cases, serotonin syndrome has been reported in patients using SSRIs concomitantly
with serotonergic medicinal products. A combination of symptoms, such as agitation, tremor,
myoclonus and hyperthermia may indicate the development of this condition. If this occurs
treatment with the SSRI and the serotonergic medicinal product should be discontinued
immediately and symptomatic treatment initiated.
St. John´s Wort

Concomitant use of SSRIs and herbal remedies containing St. John´s Wort (Hypericum
perforatum) may result in an increased incidence of adverse reactions (see section 4.5).
Discontinuation symptoms seen when stopping treatment
Discontinuation symptoms when stopping treatment are common, particularly if
discontinuation is abrupt (see section 4.8). In clinical trials adverse events seen on treatment
discontinuation occurred in approximately 25% of patients treated with escitalopram and 15%
of patients taking placebo.
The risk of discontinuation symptoms may be dependent on several factors including the
duration and dose of therapy and the rate of dose reduction. Dizziness, sensory disturbances
(including paraesthesia and electric shock sensations), sleep disturbances (including insomnia
and intense dreams), agitation or anxiety, nausea and/or vomiting, tremor, confusion,
sweating, headache, diarrhoea, palpitations, emotional instability, irritability, and visual
disturbances are the most commonly reported reactions. Generally these symptoms are mild
to moderate, however, in some patients they may be severe in intensity.
They usually occur within the first few days of discontinuing treatment, but there have been
very rare reports of such symptoms in patients who have inadvertently missed a dose.
Generally these symptoms are self-limiting and usually resolve within 2 weeks, though in
some individuals they may be prolonged (2-3 months or more). It is therefore advised that
escitalopram should be gradually tapered when discontinuing treatment over a period of
several weeks or months, according to the patient's needs (see “Discontinuation symptoms
seen when stopping treatment”, section 4.2).
Coronary heart disease
Due to limited clinical experience, caution is advised in patients with coronary heart disease
(see section 5.3).
QT interval prolongation

Escitalopram has been found to cause a dose-dependent prolongation of the QTinterval. Cases of QT interval prolongation and ventricular arrhythmia including
torsade de pointes have been reported during the post-marketing period,
predominantly in patients of female gender, in patients with hypokalaemia, or with
pre-existing QT interval prolongation or other cardiac diseases (see sections 4.3, 4.5,
4.8, 4.9 and 5.1).
Caution is advised in patients with significant bradycardia; or in patients with recent acute
myocardial infarction or uncompensated heart failure.
Electrolyte disturbances such as hypokalaemia and hypomagnesaemia increase the risk for
malignant arrhythmias and should be corrected before treatment with escitalopram is started.
If patients with stable cardiac disease are treated, an ECG review should be considered before
treatment is started.

If signs of cardiac arrhythmia occur during treatment with escitalopram, the treatment
should be withdrawn and an ECG should be performed.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma
SSRIs including escitalopram may have an effect on pupil size resulting in mydriasis.
This mydriatic effect has the potential to narrow the eye angle resulting in increased
intraocular pressure and angle-closure glaucoma, especially in patients pre-disposed.

Escitalopram should therefore be used with caution in patients with angle-closure
glaucoma or history of glaucoma.
4.5

Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Pharmacodynamic interactions
Contra-indicated combinations:
Irreversible non-selective MAOIs
Cases of serious reactions have been reported in patients receiving a SSRI in combination
with a non-selective, irreversible monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), and in patients who
have recently discontinued SSRI treatment and have been started on such MAOI treatment
(see section 4.3). In some cases, the patient developed serotonin syndrome (see section 4.8).
Escitalopram is contra-indicated in combination with non-selective, irreversible MAOIs.
Escitalopram may be started 14 days after discontinuing treatment with an irreversible MAOI.
At least 7 days should elapse after discontinuing escitalopram treatment, before starting a
non-selective, irreversible MAOI.
Reversible, selective MAO-A inhibitor (moclobemide)
Due to the risk of serotonin syndrome, the combination of escitalopram with a MAO-A
inhibitor such as moclobemide is contraindicated (see section 4.3). If the combination proves
necessary, it should be started at the minimum recommended dosage and clinical monitoring
should be reinforced.
Reversible, non-selective MAO-inhibitor (linezolid)
The antibiotic linezolid is a reversible non-selective MAO-inhibitor and should not be given
to patients treated with escitalopram. If the combination proves necessary, it should be given
with minimum dosages and under close clinical monitoring (see section 4.3).
Irreversible, selective MAO-B inhibitor (selegiline)
In combination with selegiline (irreversible MAO-B inhibitor), caution is required due to the
risk of developing serotonin syndrome. Selegiline doses up to 10 mg/day have been safely coadministered with racemic citalopram.

QT interval prolongation
Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies of escitalopram combined with other
medicinal products that prolong the QT interval have not been performed. An additive effect
of escitalopram and these medicinal products cannot be excluded. Therefore, coadministration of escitalopram with medicinal products that prolong the QT interval, such as
Class IA and III antiarrhythmics, antipsychotics (e.g. phenotiazine derivatives, pimozide,
haloperidol), tricyclic antidepressants, certain antimicrobial agents (e.g. sparfloxacin,
moxifloxacin, erythromycin IV, pentamidine, anti-malarian treatment particularly
halofantrine), certain antihistamines (astemizole, mizolastine), is contraindicated.
Combinations requiring precautions for use:
Serotonergic medicinal products
Co-administration with serotonergic medicinal products (e.g. tramadol, sumatriptan and other
triptans) may lead to serotonin syndrome.
Medicinal products lowering the seizure threshold

SSRIs can lower the seizure threshold. Caution is advised when concomitantly using other
medicinal products capable of lowering the seizure threshold (e.g antidepressants (tricyclics,
SSRIs), neuroleptics (phenothiazines, thioxanthenes and butyrophenones), mefloquine,
bupropion and tramadol).
Lithium, tryptophan
There have been reports of enhanced effects when SSRIs have been given together with
lithium or tryptophan, therefore concomitant use of SSRIs with these medicinal products
should be undertaken with caution.
St. John's Wort
Concomitant use of SSRIs and herbal remedies containing St. John´s Wort (Hypericum
perforatum) may result in an increased incidence of adverse reactions (see section 4.4).
Haemorrhage

Altered anti-coagulant effects may occur when escitalopram is combined with oral
anticoagulants. Patients receiving oral anticoagulant therapy should receive careful
coagulation monitoring when escitalopram is started or stopped (see section 4.4).
Concomitant use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase
bleeding-tendency (see section 4.4).
Alcohol
No pharmacodynamic or pharmacokinetic interactions are expected between escitalopram and
alcohol. However, as with other psychotropic medicinal products, the combination with
alcohol is not advisable.

Medicinal products inducing hypokalaemia/hypomagnesaemia
Caution is warranted for concomitant use of hypokalaemia/hypomagnesaemia
inducing medicinal products as these conditions increase the risk of malignant
arrhythmias (see section 4.4).
Pharmacokinetic interactions
Influence of other medicinal products on the pharmacokinetics of escitalopram.
The metabolism of escitalopram is mainly mediated by CYP2C19. CYP3A4 and CYP2D6
may also contribute to the metabolism although to a smaller extent. The metabolism of the
major metabolite S-DCT (demethylated escitalopram) seems to be partly catalysed by
CYP2D6.
Co-administration of escitalopram with omeprazole 30 mg once daily (a CYP2C19 inhibitor)
resulted in moderate (approximately 50%) increase in the plasma concentrations of
escitalopram.

Co-administration of escitalopram with cimetidine 400 mg twice daily (moderately potent
general enzyme-inhibitor) resulted in a moderate (approximately 70%) increase in the plasma
concentrations of escitalopram. Caution is advised when administering escitalopram in
combination with cimetidine. Dose adjustment may be warranted.

Thus, caution should be exercised when used concomitantly with CYP2C19 inhibitors (e.g.
omeprazole, esomeprazole, fluvoxamine, lansoprazole, ticlopidine) or cimetidine. A

reduction in the dose of escitalopram may be necessary based on monitoring of side-effects
during concomitant treatment.

Effect of escitalopram on the pharmacokinetics of other medicinal products
Escitalopram is an inhibitor of the enzyme CYP2D6. Caution is recommended when
escitalopram is co-administered with medicinal products that are mainly metabolised by this
enzyme, and that have a narrow therapeutic index, e.g. flecainide, propafenone and
metoprolol (when used in cardiac failure), or some CNS acting medicinal products that are
mainly metabolised by CYP2D6, e.g. antidepressants such as desipramine, clomipramine and
nortriptyline or antipsychotics like risperidone, thioridazine and haloperidol. Dosage
adjustment may be warranted.
Co-administration with desipramine or metoprolol resulted in both cases in a twofold increase
in the plasma levels of these two CYP2D6 substrates.
In vitro studies have demonstrated that escitalopram may also cause weak inhibition of
CYP2C19. Caution is recommended with concomitant use of medicinal products that are
metabolised by CYP2C19.

4.6

Fertility, pregnancy and lactation

Pregnancy
For escitalopram only limited clinical data are available regarding exposed pregnancies.
In reproductive toxicity studies performed in rats with escitalopram, embryo-fetotoxic effects,
but no increased incidence of malformations, were observed (see section 5.3). Escitalopram
film-coated tablets should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary and only
after careful consideration of the risk/benefit.
Neonates should be observed if maternal use of escitalopram continues into the later stages of
pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Abrupt discontinuation should be avoided
during pregnancy.
The following symptoms may occur in the neonate after maternal SSRI/SNRI use in later
stages of pregnancy: respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnoea, seizures, temperature instability,
feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycaemia, hypertonia, hypotonia, hyperreflexia, tremor,
jitteriness, irritability, lethargy, constant crying, somnolence and difficulty sleeping. These
symptoms could be due to either serotonergic effects or discontinuation symptoms. In a
majority of instances the complications begin immediately or soon (<24 hours) after delivery.

Epidemiological data have suggested that the use of SSRIs in pregnancy, particular in
late pregnancy, may increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in the
newborn (PPHN). The observed risk was approximately 5 cases per 1000 pregnancies.
In the general population 1 to 2 cases of PPHN per 1000 pregnancies occur.
Lactation
It is expected that escitalopram will be excreted into human milk.
Consequently, breast-feeding is not recommended during treatment.
Fertility
Animal data have shown that citalopram may affect sperm quality (see section 5.3). Human
case reports with some SSRIs have shown that an effect on sperm quality is reversible.

Impact on human fertility has not been observed so far.

4.7

Effects on ability to drive and use machines

Although escitalopram has been shown not to affect intellectual function or psychomotor
performance, any psychoactive medicinal product may impair judgement or skills. Patients
should be cautioned about the potential risk of an influence on their ability to drive a car and
operate machinery.

4.8

Undesirable effects

Adverse reactions are most frequent during the first or second week of treatment and usually
decrease in intensity and frequency with continued treatment.

Tabulated list of adverse reactions
Adverse reactions known for SSRIs and also reported for escitalopram in either placebocontrolled clinical studies or as spontaneous post-marketing events are listed below by system
organ class and frequency.
Frequencies are taken from clinical studies; they are not placebo-corrected. Frequencies are
defined as: very common ( 1/10), common ( 1/100 to <1/10), uncommon ( 1/1,000 to
<1/100), rare ( 1/10,000 to <1/1,000), very rare (<1/10,000), or not known (cannot be
estimated from the available data).

Very
common
Investigations

Common

Uncommon

Weight
increased

Weight
decreased

Cardiac
disorders

Tachycardia

Rare

Liver function test
abnormal
Bradycardia

Blood and
lymphatic
system disorders
Nervous system
disorders

Not known

Ventricular
arrhythmia includin
torsade de pointes
Thrombocytopenia

Headacahe Insomnia,
somnolence,
dizziness,
paraesthesia,
tremor

Taste
disturbance,
sleep disorder,
syncope

Eye disorders

Mydriasis,
visual
disturbance

Ear and
labyrinth
disorders

Tinnitus

Serotonin
syndrome

Dyskinesia,
movement disorder
convulsion,
psychomotor
restlessness/akathis

Respiratory,
thoracic and
mediastinal
disorders
Gastrointestinal
disorders

Nausea

Sinusitis,
yawning

Epistaxis

Diarrhoea,
constipation,
vomiting,
dry mouth

Gastrointestinal
haemorrhages
(including
rectal
haemorrhage)

Renal and
urinary disorders

Urinary retention

Skin and
subcutaneous
tissue disorders

Sweating
increased

Musculoskeletal,
connective
tissue and bone
disorders

Arthralgia,
myalgia

Urticaria,
alopecia, rash,
pruritus

Ecchymosis,
angioedemas

Endocrine
disorders
Metabolism and
nutrition
disorders

Inappropriate ADH
secretion
Decreased
appetite,
increased
appetite

Hyponatraemia,
anorexia1

Vascular
disorders
General
disorders and
administration
site conditions

Orthostatic
hypotension
Fatigue,
pyrexia

Oedema

Immune system
disorders

Anaphylactic
reaction

Hepatobiliary
disorders

Hepatitis, liver
function test
abnormal

Reproductive
system and
breast disorders

Male:
ejaculation
disorder,
impotence

Female:
metrorrhagia,
menorrhagia

Psychiatric
disorders

Anxiety,
restlessness,
abnormal
dreams

Bruxism,
agitation,
nervousness,
panic attack,

Galactorrhoea
Male: priapism,
Aggression,
Mania, suicidal
depersonalisation, ideation, suicidal
hallucination
behaviour1

Female and confusional
male: libido state
decreased
Female:
anorgasmia
1

These events have been reported for the therapeutic class of SSRIs

2

Cases of suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviours have been reported during escitalopram
therapy or early after treatment discontinuation (see section 4.4).

QT interval prolongation
Cases of QT interval prolongation and ventricular arrhythmia including torsade de pointes
have been reported during the post-marketing period, predominantly in patients of female
gender, with hypokalaemia, or with pre-existing QT interval prolongation or other cardiac
diseases (see sections 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.9 and 5.1).

Class effects
Epidemiological studies, mainly conducted in patients 50 years of age and older, show
an increased risk of bone fractures in patients receiving SSRIs and TCAs. The
mechanism leading to this risk is unknown.
Discontinuation symptoms seen when stopping treatment
Discontinuation of SSRIs/SNRIs (particularly when abrupt) commonly leads to
discontinuation symptoms. Dizziness, sensory disturbances (including paraesthesia and
electric shock sensations), sleep disturbances (including insomnia and intense dreams),
agitation or anxiety, nausea and/or vomiting, tremor, confusion, sweating, headache,
diarrhoea, palpitations, emotional instability, irritability, and visual disturbances are the most
commonly reported reactions. Generally these events are mild to moderate and are selflimiting, however, in some patients they may be severe and/or prolonged. It is therefore
advised that when escitalopram treatment is no longer required, gradual discontinuation by
dose tapering should be carried out (see section 4.2 and 4.4).

4.9

Overdose

Toxicity
Clinical data on escitalopram overdose are limited and many cases involve concomitant
overdoses of other drugs. In the majority of cases mild or no symptoms have been reported.
Fatal cases of escitalopram overdose have rarely been reported with escitalopram alone; the
majority of cases have involved overdose with concomitant medications. Doses between 400
and 800mg of escitalopram alone have been taken without any severe symptoms.
Symptoms
Symptoms seen in reported overdose of escitalopram include symptoms mainly related to the
central nervous system (ranging from dizziness, tremor, and agitation to rare cases of
serotonin syndrome, convulsion, and coma), the gastrointestinal system (nausea/vomiting),
and the cardiovascular system (hypotension, tachycardia, QT interval prolongation, and
arrhythmia) and electrolyte/fluid balance conditions (hypokalaemia, hyponatraemia).
Management
There is no specific antidote. Establish and maintain an airway, ensure adequate oxygenation
and respiratory function. Gastric lavage and the use of activated charcoal should be
considered. Gastric lavage should be carried out as soon as possible after oral ingestion.

Cardiac and vital signs monitoring are recommended along with general symptomatic
supportive measures.
ECG monitoring is advised in case of overdose, in patients with congestive heart
failure/bradyarrhythmias, in patients using concomitant medications that prolong the QT
interval, or in patients with altered metabolism, e.g. liver impairment.

5

PHARMACOLOGICAL PROPERTIES

5.1

Pharmacodynamic properties

Pharmacotherapeutic group: antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
ATC-code: N 06 AB 10
Mechanism of action
Escitalopram is a selective inhibitor of serotonin (5-HT) re-uptake with high affinity for the
primary binding site. It also binds to an allosteric site on the serotonin transporter, with a 1000
fold lower affinity.
Escitalopram has no or low affinity for a number of receptors including 5-HT1A, 5-HT2, DA
D1 and D2 receptors, α1-, α2-, β-adrenoceptors, histamine H1, muscarine cholinergic,
benzodiazepine, and opioid receptors.
The inhibition of 5-HT re-uptake is the only likely mechanism of action explaining the
pharmacological and clinical effects of escitalopram.
Clinical efficacy
Major depressive episodes
Escitalopram has been found to be effective in the acute treatment of major depressive
episodes in three out of four double-blind, placebo controlled short-term (8-weeks) studies. In
a long-term relapse prevention study, 274 patients who had responded during an initial 8week open label treatment phase with escitalopram 10 or 20 mg/day, were randomised to
continuation with escitalopram at the same dose, or to placebo, for up to 36 weeks. In this
study, patients receiving continued escitalopram experienced a significantly longer time to
relapse over the subsequent 36 weeks compared to those receiving placebo.
Social anxiety disorder
Escitalopram was effective in both three short-term (12- week) studies and in responders in a
6 months relapse prevention study in social anxiety disorder. In a 24-week dose-finding study,
efficacy of 5, 10 and 20 mg escitalopram has been demonstrated.
Generalised anxiety disorder

Escitalopram in doses of 10 and 20 mg/day was effective in four out of four placebocontrolled studies.
In pooled data from three studies with similar design comprising 421 escitalopram-treated
patients and 419 placebo-treated patients there were 47.5% and 28.9% responders
respectively and 37.1% and 20.8% remitters. Sustained effect was seen from week 1.
Maintenance of efficacy of escitalopram 20mg/day was demonstrated in a 24 to 76 week,
randomised, maintenance of efficacy study in 373 patients who had responded during the
initial 12-week open-label treatment.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
In a randomised, double-blind, clinical study, 20 mg/day escitalopram separated from placebo
on the Y-BOCS total score after 12 weeks. After 24 weeks, both 10 and 20 mg/day
escitalopram were superior as compared to placebo.
Prevention of relapse was demonstrated for 10 and 20 mg/day escitalopram in patients who
responded to escitalopram in a 16-week open-label period and who entered a 24-week,
randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled period.
Pharmacodynamic effects
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled ECG study in healthy subjects, the change from baseline
in QTc (Fridericia-correction) was 4.3 msec (90% CI: 2.2, 6.4) at the 10 mg/day dose and
10.7 msec (90% CI: 8.6, 12.8) at the supratherapeutic dose of 30 mg/day (see sections 4.3,
4.4, 4.5, 4.8 and 4.9).

5.2

Pharmacokinetic properties

Absorption
Absorption is almost complete and independent of food intake. (Mean time to maximum
concentration (mean Tmax) is 4 hours after multiple dosing). As with racemic citalopram, the
absolute bio-availability of escitalopram is expected to be about 80%.
Distribution
The apparent volume of distribution (Vd,β/F) after oral administration is about 12 to 26 L/kg.
The plasma protein binding is below 80% for escitalopram and its main metabolites.
Biotransformation
Escitalopram is metabolised in the liver to the demethylated and didemethylated metabolites.
Both of these are pharmacologically active. Alternatively, the nitrogen may be oxidised to
form the N-oxide metabolite. Both parent substance and metabolites are partly excreted as
glucuronides. After multiple dosing the mean concentrations of the demethyl and didemethyl
metabolites are usually 28-31% and <5%, respectively, of the escitalopram concentration.
Biotransformation of escitalopram to the demethylated metabolite is mediated primarily by
CYP2C19. Some contribution by the enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 is possible.
Elimination

The elimination half-life (t½β) after multiple dosing is about 30 hours and the oral plasma
clearance (Cloral) is about 0.6 L/min. The major metabolites have a significantly longer halflife. Escitalopram and major metabolites are assumed to be eliminated by both the hepatic
(metabolic) and the renal routes, with the major part of the dose excreted as metabolites in the
urine.
There is linear pharmacokinetics. Steady-state plasma levels are achieved in about 1 week.
Average steady-state concentrations of 50 nmol/L (range 20 to 125 nmol/L) are achieved at a
daily dose of 10 mg.
Elderly patients (> 65 years)
Escitalopram appears to be eliminated more slowly in elderly patients compared to younger
patients. Systemic exposure (AUC) is about 50% higher in elderly compared to young healthy
volunteers (see section 4.2).
Reduced hepatic function
In patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh Criteria A and B), the halflife of escitalopram was about twice as long and the exposure was about 60% higher than in
subjects with normal liver function (see section 4.2).
Reduced renal function
With racemic citalopram, a longer half-life and a minor increase in exposure have been
observed in patients with reduced kidney function (CLcr 10-53 ml/min). Plasma
concentrations of the metabolites have not been studied, but they may be elevated (see section
4.2).
Polymorphism
It has been observed that poor metabolisers with respect to CYP2C19 have twice as high a
plasma concentration of escitalopram as extensive metabolisers. No significant change in
exposure was observed in poor metabolisers with respect to CYP2D6 (see section 4.2).

5.3

Preclinical safety data

No complete conventional battery of preclinical studies was performed with escitalopram
since the bridging toxicokinetic and toxicological studies conducted in rats with escitalopram
and citalopram showed a similar profile. Therefore, all the citalopram information can be
extrapolated to escitalopram.
In comparative toxicological studies in rats, escitalopram and citalopram caused cardiac
toxicity, including congestive heart failure, after treatment for some weeks, when using
dosages that caused general toxicity. The cardiotoxicity seemed to correlate with peak plasma
concentrations rather than to systemic exposures (AUC). Peak plasma concentrations at noeffect-level were in excess (8-fold) of those achieved in clinical use, while AUC for
escitalopram was only 3- to 4-fold higher than the exposure achieved in clinical use. For
citalopram AUC values for the S-enantiomer were 6- to 7-fold higher than exposure achieved
in clinical use. The findings are probably related to an exaggerated influence on biogenic

amines i.e. secondary to the primary pharmacological effects, resulting in hemodynamic
effects (reduction in coronary flow) and ischaemia. However, the exact mechanism of
cardiotoxicity in rats is not clear. Clinical experience with citalopram, and the clinical trial
experience with escitalopram, does not indicate that these findings have a clinical correlate.
Increased content of phospholipids has been observed in some tissues e.g. lung, epididymides
and liver after treatment for longer periods with escitalopram and citalopram in rats. Findings
in the epididymides and liver were seen at exposures similar to that in man. The effect is
reversible after treatment cessation. Accumulation of phospholipids (phospholipidosis) in
animals has been observed in connection with many cationic amphiphilic medicines. It is not
known if this phenomenon has any significant relevance for man.
In the developmental toxicity study in the rat embryotoxic effects (reduced foetal weight and
reversible delay of ossification) were observed at exposures in terms of AUC in excess of the
exposure achieved during clinical use. No increased frequency of malformations was noted. A
pre- and postnatal study showed reduced survival during the lactation period at exposures in
terms of AUC in excess of the exposure achieved during clinical use.Animal data have shown
that citalopram induces a reduction of fertility index and pregnancy index, reduction in
number in implantation and abnormal sperm at exposure well in excess of human exposure.

No animal data related to this aspect are available for escitalopram.

6

PHARMACEUTICAL PARTICULARS

6.1

List of excipients

Tablet Cores
Cellulose, microcrystalline (E460)
Croscarmellose sodium (E468)
Magnesium Stearate (E572)
Colloidal Anhydrous Silica
Talc
Film Coating
Hypromellose (E464), Titanium dioxide (E171), Macrogol 400

6.2

Incompatibilities

Not applicable.

6.3
2 years.

Shelf life

6.4

Special precautions for storage

No special storage conditions are required

6.5

Nature and contents of container

Blisters: Plain Aluminium/Aluminium blisters; Clear PVC-Aclar/Aluminium blisters
Pack Sizes: 20, 28, 50, 56, 100 and 200
Not all pack sizes may be marketed.
6.6

Special precautions for disposal

No special requirements.

7

MARKETING AUTHORISATION HOLDER
Glenmark Generics (Europe) Limited
Laxmi House, 2 B Draycott Avenue,
Kenton, Middlesex HA3 0BU,
United Kingdom

8

MARKETING AUTHORISATION NUMBER(S)
PL 25258/0144

9

DATE OF FIRST AUTHORISATION/RENEWAL OF THE
AUTHORISATION
16/10/2013

10

DATE OF REVISION OF THE TEXT
08/02/2017

Expand Transcript

Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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