Brand & Generic Names; Drug Classes

US brand name: Lexapro
Generic name: escitalopram

Drug Class(es)

Primary drug class: Antidepressants
Additional drug class(es): Serotonin-Selective Reuptake InhibitorsAnxiolytics/Anti-anxiety

Approved & Off-Label Uses (Indications)

Lexapro’s US FDA Approved Treatment(s)

Major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults & adolescents. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults.

Uses Approved Overseas but not in the US

  • Everywhere else in the world where you find Lexapro / Cipralex / etc. (escitalopram), it’s approved to treat Social Anxiety Disorder (SAnD) and Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia , along with MDD and GAD.
  • Cipralex / Lexapro is also approved to treat OCD in:
    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Chile
    • Denmark
    • Sweden
    • Spain
    • New Zealand
    • the UK

Off-Label Uses of Lexapro

The entire panic-anxiety spectrum, including: Social anxiety disorder (SAnD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Also bipolar depression.


When & If Lexapro Will Work

Lexapro’s Usual Onset of Action (when it starts working)

Lexapro can start working within one week. You should still give it at least three weeks. Unless the side effects hit hard and fast.

Likelihood of Working

If you’ve never taken an antidepressant before, and for all you and your doctor know serotonin is a big part of your problem, the odds are pretty damn good that Lexapro will help for MDD. Although the odds of Lexapro working may not be statistically much better than Celexa (citalopram), they both have better chances of working for MDD than all the other SSRIs, and most other antidepressants. I.e. around a 60–75% chance of response (they’ll do something positive) and 50–70% chance of remission (kiss that MDD goodbye, as long as you’re taking your meds).

The odds are similar for GAD.

Taking and Discontinuing

How to Take Lexapro

Manufacturers’ Recommendations

Lundbeck & Forest’s Recommendations

Per the Lexapro Full US PI sheet: 10 mg once a day , for adults and adolescents with MDD , adults with GAD , and just about anything else. That’s it.

Crazymeds’ Suggestions

Start at 5mg a day for anything in the Anxiety or Depression spectra. Increase by 2.5 to 5mg a day after at least a week, and only if needed.

How to Stop Taking Lexapro (discontinuation / withdrawal)

Decrease your dosage by 5mg every week. So if you’re taking 10mg a day, take 5mg for a week, then you can stop. 2.5mg a day if you really need to. If you experience severe SSRI discontinuation syndrome that’s not going away, talk to your doctor about a prescription for flouxetine or the oral solution for a slow tapering off.