More Information on Escitalopram Indications
How Does Escitalopram Work?Escitalopram is part of a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs for short. SSRIs, such as escitalopram, act on a specific chemical within the brain known as serotonin. Serotonin is one of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin. The serotonin enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough serotonin reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any serotonin that remains in the gap between cells. This is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. But when the levels of serotonin become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression. Escitalopram helps to block the reuptake of serotonin so that more serotonin remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the serotonin a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.
Escitalopram Use in Children
Escitalopram is not approved for the treatment of childhood anxiety. It is approved for treating depression in adolescents as young as 12 years of age. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using escitalopram in children with depression or anxiety.
Off-Label Escitalopram Uses
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend escitalopram for treating something other than the conditions listed above. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, some off-label escitalopram uses include the treatment of:
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Eating disorders (including anorexia and bulimia)
- Hot flashes
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Personality disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Premature ejaculation (see Premature Ejaculation and Lexapro)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- Social anxiety disorder
- Tourette syndrome.