Lexapro (Escitalopram) was introduced and marketed by U.S-based Forest Laboratories Inc., in partnership with the Danish drug company Lundbeck. The drug was approved by the FDA on November 27, 2002, in a solution form and on August 14, 2012, in a tablet form. The drug is used for treating adults and children above 12 years of age with the major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. It is available in tablets and oral forms. Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) administered orally.
Lexapro works by restoring the chemical balance in the brain by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain. It blocks the reabsorption or reuptake of neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. The drug was initially approved by the FDA for treating only adults, but later it was approved to treat depression in adolescents aged 12 and above.
It was aggressively marketed and became the most popular antidepressant in the USA. Recent studies linked the drug with serious birth defects, such as autism, spina bifida, neural defects, etc. in newborn babies. Many lawsuits were filed against Lexapro. The drug's patent expired in 2012 and the first generic version of Lexapro was approved in the market in March 2012 by the FDA.
Cipralex is the other brand name containing Escitalopram manufactured by Lundbeck.