Accidentally Took Two Lexapro Pills

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses what can occur if you accidentally take an extra pill of the antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopam).

Question

I recently transitioned from Celexa (40 mg once a day) to Lexapro (20 mg once a day) for about a month. I accidentally took two 20 mg of Lexapro this morning. I feel foggy, out of it, but nothing severe. I also take klonopin (1mg) for anxiety. Hasn't been my first time doing this but first time doing this with a new medication.

Asked by LWC On Aug 02, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Aug 10, 2018

Overview

Accidentally taking an extra dose of medication can certainly happen, and it is important to be aware of the steps that you should take if you find yourself in this situation.


Accidentally Overdosing Lexapro

In the case of Lexapro, it has a relatively wide dosage range when it comes to safety.

In fact, the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class of medication in general is thought to be among the safest when it comes to the consequences of overdose.

One study reported that cases in which up to 30 times the recommended dose of an SSRI was consumed, there were minimal, if any, reported side effects.

The extra dose you took amounts to 40 mg, which is over the FDA approved maximum daily dose of 20 mg. Nevertheless, any adverse events you may experience will likely be mild.

The prescribing information for Lexapro discusses cases of overdose with the drug:

"In clinical trials of escitalopram, there were reports of escitalopram [Lexapro] overdose, including overdoses of up to 600 mg, with no associated fatalities. During the postmarketing evaluation of escitalopram, Lexapro overdoses involving overdoses of over 1000 mg have been reported. As with other SSRIs, a fatal outcome in a patient who has taken an overdose of escitalopram has been rarely reported."

Of course, it goes without saying that everyone's medical situation is different and you should reach out to your doctor or Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) if you are concerned or feeling any unusual symptoms.


Side Effect Of Taking Too Much Lexapro

As mentioned above, any side effects you experience will most likely be mild and would be similar to the usual side effects of the drug. This includes:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness

One case study looked at Lexapro intoxication in which an individual presented to the ER after taking 190 mg. The reported symptoms were:

  • Dizziness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Palpitations
  • Confusion

The treatment was based on gastric lavage (i.e. stomach pump/irrigation) and symptom management with no lasting adverse effects.

Again, if you do feel any symptoms associated with the extra pill of Lexapro that you took, it is important to reach out to your doctor, call Poison Control, or go to the ER, just in case.

It is important not to skip your next scheduled dose of Lexapro after your dosing mistake. Be sure to take it as scheduled.


Summary

  • Accidentally taking one extra dose of Lexapro shouldn't cause too many adverse effects.
  • In most cases, you should resume your normal dosing schedule, even if you accidentally take an extra dose.

  • References
    1. SSRI safety in overdose. PubMed
    2. Clinical effectiveness and safety of escitalopram and desvenlafaxine in patients of depression with anxiety: A randomized, open-label controlled trial. PubMed
    3. Lexapro Prescribing Information. AccessFDA

    About the Pharmacist

    Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

    Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

    About Lexapro (Escitalopram)

    Lexapro (escitalopram) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and is most commonly used for the treatment of depression. It is also used off-label for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Escitalopram is the active enantiomer of citalopram, and is generally thought to exert its antidepressant effects more quickly than citalopram. While effective, Lexapro, and all SSRI medications, is associated with a variety of potential side effects including weight fluctuations (gain and loss), headache, dizziness, QT prolongation and sexual dysfunction. Lexapro can be taken with or without food. If nausea occurs, administer after a meal.

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