An Overview of Lexapro for Social Anxiety Disorder

Lexapro is used in anxiety treatment.
Lexapro is used to treat anxiety disorders. Getty / Getty Images News / Joe Raedle

Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) proven effective in the treatment of depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Although not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD), it is considered appropriate for the treatment of this condition.

How to Take Lexapro

Lexapro may be taken as tablets or an oral solution once daily, in the morning or evening, with or without food.

Dosage Guidelines

The usual recommended daily dosage of Lexapro is 10 mg. Your doctor may begin at a lower dose. The dosage can be increased slowly to 20 mg or higher if indicated.

Who Shouldn’t Take Lexapro

You should not take Lexapro if you are hypersensitive to escitalopram oxalate. The effectiveness of Lexapro for use with children younger than 18 years of age has not been established.

Medication Interactions

Lexapro should not be combined with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and only used with tryptophan, other SSRIs, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and St. John's Wort with significant caution and close monitoring due to the potential for serotonin syndrome.

Use Lexapro with caution if you are pregnant/breastfeeding. Absolute contraindications exist for lexapro and MAOIs, pimozide, and those with a hypersensitive reaction to components of this medication.

The bleeding risk associated with aspirin, warfarin or NSAIDs is an association; patients are discouraged from using these agents together.

Talk with your psychiatrist if on warfarin. Using these agents isn't an absolute contraindication.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of taking Lexapro are insomnia or somnolence, nausea, and headache.

Associated Risks

Use of Lexapro can carry risks, including the potential for clinical worsening, increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly in younger individuals, serotonin syndrome and withdrawal effects.

Close monitoring by your psychiatrist or doctor is important.

Other Anxiety Medications

If you have been prescribed this medication by your doctor, be sure to follow the instructions carefully. If you have additional questions, these are best answered by a medical professional.


Forest Pharmaceuticals. Lexapro Prescribing Information.

Kasper S, Stein DJ, Loft H, Nil R. Escitalopram in the treatment of social anxiety disorder. Randomised, placebo-controlled, flexible-dosage study. The British Journal of Psychiatry 2005;186(3):222-226.

Medscape Psychiatry. Social Anxiety: An Expert Inteview with Eric Hollander, MD.