Difference between escitalopram and citalopram

buy now

Are you considering medication for depression or anxiety? It’s important to understand the distinctions between escitalopram and citalopram before making a decision. While both are commonly prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), they have unique characteristics that may influence your treatment plan.

Mechanism of Action

Escitalopram and citalopram are both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. The primary mechanism of action for both drugs involves increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain by blocking its reuptake into the presynaptic neuron. This leads to an increase in serotonin levels in the synaptic cleft, which helps regulate mood, emotions, and behavior.

Mechanism of Action


Escitalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that works by blocking the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, leading to increased levels of serotonin in the synaptic cleft. This results in improved mood and decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety.

It specifically targets the serotonin transporter protein, inhibiting its function and allowing serotonin to remain in the synaptic space for a longer period of time. This leads to enhanced neurotransmission and regulation of mood.


Citalopram is also an SSRI that functions similarly to escitalopram by blocking the reuptake of serotonin. However, citalopram is a racemic mixture of S- and R-enantiomers, while escitalopram is the S-enantiomer alone.

Although both drugs work through the same mechanism, studies suggest that escitalopram may be more potent due to the higher affinity of its active enantiomer for the serotonin transporter. This could result in better efficacy and tolerability compared to citalopram.

See also  Is it safe to take escitalopram while pregnant

Side Effects Comparison

When comparing the side effects of escitalopram and citalopram, it’s important to note that both medications belong to the same class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, there are some differences in the side effects they may cause.

Side Effect Escitalopram Citalopram
Nausea Common Common
Insomnia Common Common
Sexual Dysfunction Common Common
Weight Changes Slight weight loss May cause weight gain
Anxiety Less likely May worsen anxiety
Serotonin Syndrome Rare Rare

It’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider to determine which medication is the most suitable for you based on your individual needs and potential side effect profile.

Efficiency and Efficacy

When comparing the efficiency and efficacy of escitalopram and citalopram, it’s important to consider factors such as the dosage required for therapeutic effect, onset of action, and overall treatment outcomes.

Escitalopram, the S-enantiomer of citalopram, is considered to be more potent and efficacious in treating depression and anxiety disorders. Studies have shown that escitalopram has a faster onset of action and a higher response rate compared to citalopram.

Dosage and Response Rate

Escitalopram typically requires lower doses to achieve the desired therapeutic effect compared to citalopram. This not only reduces the risk of side effects but also improves patient compliance and treatment outcomes.

Overall Treatment Outcomes

Patients who are treated with escitalopram often report better symptom relief, improved quality of life, and a lower risk of relapse compared to those on citalopram. The superior efficacy of escitalopram makes it a preferred choice for many healthcare providers when treating depression and anxiety disorders.

See also  Escitalopram epilepsy

Cost Analysis

When comparing the costs of escitalopram and citalopram, it is important to consider both the brand name and generic versions of the medications. Generally, generic versions of these drugs are more affordable than brand name options. Escitalopram, which is sold under the brand name Lexapro, tends to be more expensive than citalopram, which is available as a generic medication.

Citalopram is typically considered a cost-effective option for treating depression and anxiety disorders due to its lower price point. However, pricing may vary depending on the pharmacy and any insurance coverage you have. It is essential to consult with your healthcare provider and pharmacist to determine the most cost-effective option for your specific needs.

Ultimately, the cost analysis of escitalopram versus citalopram should take into consideration not only the initial price of the medication but also factors such as effectiveness, side effects, and potential long-term costs. Your healthcare provider can help you make an informed decision based on your individual circumstances and treatment goals.