Moderate Anxiety Moderate Severe Anxiety Psychiatry & Medication Severe Anxiety


The Bottom Line

  • Cipralex is an SSRI medication prescribed to treat depression and anxiety.
  • Cipralex is FDA-approved to treat anxiety.
  • Also available under the brand name of Lexapro, and generic name of Escitalopram.
  • Fits long-term treatment.

Cipralex (Escitalopram)  is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs), usually prescribed to treat anxiety and depression. Cipralex is believed to work by balancing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which leads to relief.  It appears to be safe for long-term application if taken as directed. 

Cipralex is also widely sold under the brand name of Lexapro, or under its generic name Escitalopram. Available in tablets and oral solution.

Can Cipralex be taken for Anxiety?

Cipralex is usually prescribed to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults. In European countries, it is also approved for social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well as panic disorder. 

Is Cipralex  FDA approved for anxiety?

Escitalopram is approved to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What research supports Cipralex for anxiety? 

There is extensive evidence on the efficacy of Escitalopram for anxiety.

  • Escitalopram was studied against the placebo for efficacy and tolerability in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Outpatients were randomly assigned to take Escitalopram 10mg/one time per day for 4 weeks or placebo for 8 weeks. The Escitalopram group reported significant improvements in the anxiety scores over the placebo. Escitalopram was well-tolerated in all subjects with a minimum of side effects.
  • Escitalopram was studied against a placebo for efficacy in the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD). 177 subjects received placebo, and 181 received the Escitalopram dose of 10-20mg daily for 12 weeks. The results demonstrated that Escitalopram was more effective based on anxiety total scores compared to the placebo group.
  • Escitalopram was studied against Paroxetine as the first-line medication to treat GAD. Subjects were randomized to take Escitalopram 10-20mg/daily or Paroxetine 20-50mg/daily for 24 weeks. Both medications were effective with low rates of treatment-related adverse effects. The study suggested using Escitalopram as the first-line medication to treat GAD.

What do experts say about Cipralex for anxiety? 

Dr. Keith Roach, a primary care internist says “I often prefer to change a person from a medicine like Xanax (alprazolam) to a medication like escitalopram (Lexapro), which is similar to citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft) and fluoxetine (Prozac), among many others. In many people, the side effects are lower and effectiveness is higher.”

What are the possible side effects? 

The side effects of Cipralex are usually of a short-term nature, and are likely to disappear after the patient becomes accustomed to the medication. During the treatment with Cipralex, you may face the following side effects:

  • nausea;
  • extreme tiredness;
  • dry mouth;
  • dizziness;
  • constipation;
  • extreme sweating.

When stopping SSRIs like Cipralex, a gradual decrease of dosage is required, as they may cause withdrawal effects including:

  • insomnia;
  • nausea;
  • headache;
  • irritability.

Some men may also experience sexual problems when abruptly stopping the intake of SSRIs like Cipralex, including erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation. In women, it may lead to vaginal dryness.

Overdose incidents have been reported with Cipralex. If you believe you have overdosed, seek emergency help immediately (call 911).

Does Cipralex have interactions with other medications?

Cipralex may interact with other medications and health supplements. Disclose your full list of medications to your doctor before starting treatment with Cipralex.

Cipralex may interact with:

  • Antiplatelet medications;
  • Aspirin;
  • MAO inhibitors;
  • St. John’s wort;
  • Antihistamines;
  • Medications for insomnia;
  • Muscle relaxants;
  • Opioid medications.

It should not be prescribed to patients with diabetes or prescribed with caution, as it may become harder to control safe levels of blood sugar.

Abstain from drinking alcohol when taking Cipralex, as it may lead to extreme sedation and symptoms of dizziness, drowsiness, impairment in thinking as well as overdose if taking both substances in large doses.

Can you take Cipralex  while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Cipralex is not linked to malformations, respiratory issues, or abnormalities in the fetus, and may be occasionally prescribed by the doctor for pregnant women.

Cipralex is believed to be safe for nursing mothers. Speak to your doctor about the correct intake of this antidepressant when breastfeeding.

Can children take Cipralex for anxiety?

Children under 12 are not typically prescribed Cipralex for anxiety. It has a black box warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration, as it may increase suicidal thoughts or intentions in children and young adults. Other modalities are available to treat anxiety for this age group.

How to take Cipralex?

Cipralex dosage is tailored individually.

The initial dose is 10 mg one time per day. It may be increased to 20 mg if there is no therapeutic effect. 

Take it with or without the food, as directed by your doctor. Make a habit of taking the dose at the same time every day. If you have difficulty sleeping, it is believed to work best if taking in the morning.

This antidepressant should begin to work within 1 to 4 weeks, however, it may differ between individuals.  

Are there alternatives to Cipralex? 

Prescription medications as Alternatives to Cipralex  for Anxiety 

Cipralex is typically prescribed to treat anxiety disorders in adults, however, as an SSRIs medication, it may lead to potential side effects and have dangerous interactions. If you believe this medication may be for you, speak to the doctor about its applicability and efficacy for your particular case. Other modalities are available to treat anxiety including:

  • Klonopin
  • Valium
  • Lexapro
  • Prozac
  • Buspirone
  • Xanax
  • Inderal
  • Cymbalta
  • Tofranil
  • Hydroxyzine
  • Zoloft

There are various alternatives. If you’d like to learn more about whether Cipralex, another medication or treatment modality is right for you, we recommend that you speak with a licensed psychiatrist. Here are the best online psychiatry platforms so you can speak with someone right away!

Therapy as an Alternative to Cipralex

Learn more about different therapy options for anxiety here

Energy & Holistic Modalities as an Alternative to Cipralex

Learn more about different energy & holistics modalities for anxiety here

Tech & Devices as Alternative Treatments to Cipralex

Learn more about tech & devices for anxiety here

Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

By Natalie Kirilova

Natalie is a writer with a focus in medical research with over 10 years of experience