Try and ask yourself: “What is the difference between Lexapro and Celexa?” And now try and answer… Lexapro vs. Celexa. And then let us take a look at them together. The answer is not as obvious as you may think. These drugs are used in treating depression and chemically they resemble each other. But actually, they are quite different.
One of them can’t substitute another. And except depression they can treat other disorders. Lexapro is the one that can treat anxiety and Celexa is the one that has generic analogs.
Lexapro and Celexa are both selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They don’t allow neurotransmitter serotonin in nerve cells to be reabsorbed after its release. As a consequence, serotonin levels increase. But, despite every similarity – they are different drugs.
Lexapro vs. Celexa – Chemical Differences
Lexapro and Celexa have similar molecules structure. Though Celexa was discovered first, in 1989. In 2003, its trade name patent expired and other manufacturers started creating its generic form. Celexa is a mix of R and S enantiomers of citalopram. Lexapro is the S-enantiomer of citalopram only. In reality, enantiomers are “opposite” to one another, though the molecules are almost the same. It is like your hands: right one and left one, they are alike, like mirror images of each other. But they are opposites. It is obvious when you try and write with both hands and when you put one hand on top of the other.
After Celexa was discovered, some researchers have proved that the S-enantiomer of citalopram is much more helpful and useful as an antidepressant. And thus, in 2002 Lexapro was developed and approved.
Lexapro vs. Celexa – Practical Differences
According to the FDA data, both SSRIs are approved for treating depression (one in 1998 and the other in 2002). While either of these drugs treats depression, only Lexapro can treat anxiety. Though Celexa can still be prescribed for anxiety, but this effect hasn’t been studied sufficiently.
If we take a closer look, Celexa is good for treating major depression and is often used off-label to treat panic disorder, anxiety, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, body dysmorphic disorder and obsessive–compulsive disorder. It can also help with reducing the symptoms of premature ejaculation and post-stroke pathological crying.
Lexapro is also good for treating depression and is officially approved as a treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. It can also be used for obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder.
As it was stated above, the studies have revealed that Lexapro helps better in coping with depression than Celexa. But there are those, who haven’t found any difference. But patients confirm that when Celexa couldn’t manage their disorders, Lexapro always helped (or vice versa). Thus, if Lexapro works for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Celexa will also help (and vice versa).
We shouldn’t forget to mention the fact that both Lexapro and Celexa have side-effects. As for the mild ones – they differ insignificantly.
The next difference lays in the availability of generic analogues: Celexa is available as a generic, while Lexapro is not.
Next, while Lexapro has been approved for children in the US, Celexa remains disapproved for use for children. But those children taking Lexapro may experience suicidal thinking and even suicides.
Lexapro vs. Celexa: Summary
Yes, Lexapro and Celexa are very similar drugs, but their differences are too important and significant to ignore. These drugs are not interchangeable since they are approved for treating different kinds of disorders. So if there is a necessity for you to start the treatment using these drugs, make sure to consult with your doctor and pharmacist.
3 2 1