Citalopram is a widely prescribed antidepressant in the United States. It ranks among the most commonly prescribed medications in the country. While Escitalopram shares some similarities with Citalopram, it is less frequently prescribed. Let’s delve into a detailed comparison of Escitalopram versus Citalopram to uncover their distinctions and similarities.

Escitalopram vs Citalopram: Legal Status

Both Citalopram and Escitalopram are prescription medications in the USA. They can only be obtained with a prescription from a healthcare professional. Whether you use BeSafeRx or another independent prescriber, they can provide the necessary medicine. Alternatively, you can opt for a private prescription, which means getting the medication outside, such as from a private clinic or hospital.

Escitalopram vs Citalopram: Licensed Use

Escitalopram and Citalopram are part of a group of medications known as antidepressants. Specifically, they belong to a class of antidepressants called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are widely considered the primary treatment for depression and are commonly prescribed by healthcare professionals.

Citalopram is used in the treatment of:

  • Depression
  • Panic disorder

Escitalopram has a wider licensed use than Citalopram:

  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social Anxiety disorder

Escitalopram vs Citalopram: Which Is Better For Depression?

The study titled “Efficacy Comparison of Escitalopram and Citalopram in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: Pooled Analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials” contributes to our understanding of antidepressant treatments for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends psychological interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy as the initial approach for individuals with mild symptoms of depression. Nevertheless, for those with persistent or moderate depression that doesn’t respond well to psychological interventions, NICE may suggest using antidepressant medications such as Escitalopram or Citalopram.

The study examined the efficacy of Escitalopram and Citalopram in treating MDD by analyzing data from multiple placebo-controlled trials. The results indicated that both medications were effective in relieving symptoms of depression. Nevertheless, Escitalopram demonstrated slightly higher response rates and more remarkable symptom improvement than Citalopram.

These findings highlight that while psychological interventions are the recommended first-line treatment for mild depression, medication options such as Escitalopram or Citalopram can be considered for individuals with persistent or moderate depression. It is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to assess individual circumstances and determine the most appropriate treatment approach based on the severity of symptoms and patient-specific factors.

Escitalopram vs Citalopram: Effectiveness Comparison

The study “Efficacy of Escitalopram Compared to Citalopram: A Meta-Analysis” aimed to compare the effectiveness of Escitalopram and Citalopram, two commonly prescribed antidepressant medications.

To conduct the study, researchers gathered data from various studies that had previously been conducted on these medications. They then combined and analyzed the results to better understand how the two drugs compared their effectiveness in treating depression.

The study’s findings suggested that both Escitalopram and Citalopram effectively treat depression. Nevertheless, the analysis showed that Escitalopram had a slightly higher efficacy than Citalopram. This means that patients treated with Escitalopram tended to experience a more significant reduction in their depressive symptoms compared to those treated with Citalopram.

It’s important to note that individual responses to medication can vary, and the choice between Escitalopram and Citalopram should be made in consultation with a healthcare professional. They can consider factors such as the patient’s medical history, potential side effects, and individual preferences to determine the most suitable treatment option for each person.

Escitalopram vs Citalopram: What Is The Difference?

Escitalopram and Citalopram are both medications used in treating depression and related conditions, but they have some differences worth noting.

  • Chemical Structure: Escitalopram is the S-enantiomer of Citalopram. Enantiomers are mirror-image molecules, and the S-enantiomer is believed to be the more active component responsible for the therapeutic effects.
  • Effectiveness: Studies have shown that Escitalopram may have a slightly higher efficacy compared to Citalopram in relieving symptoms of depression. This means that patients treated with Escitalopram may experience a more significant reduction in depressive symptoms.
  • Dosage: The recommended dosage of Escitalopram is generally lower compared to Citalopram. For example, the typical dosage range for Escitalopram in adults is 10-20mg per day, while for Citalopram, it is 20-40mg per day.
  • Side Effects: Both medications have similar side effects, including nausea, dry mouth, drowsiness, and sexual dysfunction. Nevertheless, some studies suggest that Escitalopram may have a lower incidence of specific side effects than Citalopram, such as gastrointestinal disturbances and sexual dysfunction.
  • Drug Interactions: Escitalopram and Citalopram may interact with other medications differently. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or pharmacist to understand potential drug interactions before starting new medications.
  • Cost: In general, generic versions of Citalopram tend to be less expensive compared to generic Escitalopram. Nevertheless, the charge may vary depending on insurance coverage and geographical location.

Ultimately, the choice between Escitalopram and Citalopram depends on various factors, including individual response, side effect profile, and cost considerations.

Prescribing Statistics For Escitalopram And Citalopram

As of the latest available data from 2021, Escitalopram and Citalopram remain popular choices in antidepressant medications. Escitalopram, with its brand name Lexapro, had over 23 million prescriptions filled in the United States alone. It has been consistently prescribed in increasing numbers over the past few years. On the other hand, Citalopram, known by its brand name Celexa, had around 13 million prescriptions filled in the same period. While still widely prescribed, Citalopram has shown a relatively stable or slightly declining trend in recent years. These numbers highlight the significant usage and preference for both medications in treating depression and related conditions. It’s important to remember that prescribing statistics may vary depending on the specific year, region, and other factors.

Escitalopram vs Citalopram: Side Effects

Side EffectEscitalopramCitalopram
Dry mouthCommonCommon
Sexual dysfunctionCommonCommon
Weight changesCommonCommon
RestlessnessLess commonLess common
TremorsLess commonLess common

What Are The Interactions Between Escitalopram and Citalopram?

Citalopram and Escitalopram may interact with certain medications, substances, or medical conditions. Before taking these medications, you must be aware of potential interactions and consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Here are some everyday interactions:

  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): Taking Citalopram or Escitalopram with MAOIs or within 14 days of discontinuing MAOIs can result in a potentially severe serotonin syndrome condition. It’s essential to allow a sufficient washout period between these medications.
  • Other Serotonergic Medications: Combining Citalopram or Escitalopram with other serotonergic medications like certain antidepressants, migraine medications, or illicit substances (such as MDMA or “ecstasy”) can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Taking NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, with Citalopram or Escitalopram may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you have a history of stomach ulcers or are taking blood thinners.
  • Warfarin: Citalopram or Escitalopram can affect the metabolism of warfarin, an anticoagulant medication, potentially leading to changes in blood clotting. Regular monitoring of clotting factors is essential if taking these medications together.
  • Certain Medical Conditions: Citalopram and Escitalopram may interact with certain medical conditions, such as liver or kidney impairment, heart conditions, or epilepsy. It’s essential to inform your healthcare provider about any existing medical conditions.

Always give your healthcare professional a comprehensive list of prescriptions, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, so that they can thoroughly examine any interactions. They can provide customized advice based on your medical history and particular circumstances.

Can You Take Citalopram And Escitalopram At The Same Time?

Citalopram and Escitalopram are both antidepressant medications that belong to the same class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While they have similar mechanisms of action and are used to treat similar conditions, taking them together is generally not recommended due to the potential for increased side effects and adverse reactions. You also like to read how does Citalopram makes you feel at first.

Combining Citalopram and Escitalopram may result in an excessive increase in serotonin levels in the brain, leading to a condition known as serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome can cause symptoms such as confusion, agitation, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, dilated pupils, and tremors, and it can be life-threatening in severe cases.

Final Words From AzDrug

Citalopram and Escitalopram are both antidepressants belonging to the class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications are commonly used to treat depression and other mental health conditions. Studies have suggested that Escitalopram may exhibit greater efficacy in relieving symptoms of depression compared to Citalopram.

Nevertheless, discussing which medication is the most suitable and effective for your situation with your healthcare provider is crucial. They can consider factors such as your symptoms, medical history, and potential side effects to help guide your treatment decision. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.

Disclaimer: Please see your healthcare practitioner for any medical queries or concerns. Peer-reviewed research and information from medical societies and government agencies are used to support the articles in Health Guide. They are not, however, a replacement for expert medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

  • Auquier, Pascal, et al. “Comparison of Escitalopram and Citalopram Efficacy: A Meta-Analysis.” International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, vol. 7, no. 4, Dec. 2003, pp. 259–68, Accessed 25 June 2023.
  • El Mansari, Mostafa, et al. “Effects of Acute and Long-Term Administration of Escitalopram and Citalopram on Serotonin Neurotransmission: An in Vivo Electrophysiological Study in Rat Brain.” Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 30, no. 7, Feb. 2005, pp. 1269–77, Accessed 29 June 2023.
  • Gorman, Jack M., et al. “Efficacy Comparison of Escitalopram and Citalopram in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: Pooled Analysis of Placebo-Controlled Trials.” CNS Spectrums, vol. 7, no. S1, Apr. 2002, pp. 40–44, Accessed 26 June 2023.
  • “May 2005 – Volume 20 – Issue 3 : International Clinical Psychopharmacology.”, Accessed 27 June 2023.
  • Montgomery, Stuart, et al. “Efficacy of Escitalopram Compared to Citalopram: A Meta-Analysis.” The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, vol. 14, no. 02, Sept. 2010, pp. 261–68, Accessed 28 June 2023.
  • S�nchez, Connie, et al. “Escitalopram versus Citalopram: The Surprising Role of the R-Enantiomer.” Psychopharmacology, vol. 174, no. 2, May 2004, Accessed 30 June 2023.

Share Post On:

Recent Blogs