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Difference Between Celexa and Lexapro

Celexa vs Lexapro

Lexapro and Celexa are drugs that are commonly prescribed by doctors to those suffering from anxiety and depression. They are very similar chemically also which makes people wonder if there is any difference between Celexa and Lexapro. Though there are many similarities in the way these two drugs work, it is to be kept in mind that they are not interchangeable and are quite different. While it is only Lexapro that is recommended by doctors for the treatment of anxiety, Celexa is the only one of the two medications that is available as a generic drug.

While Lexapro is escitalopram, Celexa is citalopram. These generic names indicate that though both are similar, they are not same. It is not easy to differentiate between the two in words but our body easily differentiates between escitalopram and citalopram. For a layman, citalopram can be considered as a pair of gloves that we wear on our left and right hand. If you have both gloves in your hands, can you tell the difference? It is not easy, but the body knows the difference. How can you describe the difference between gloves you wear on your left hand from that you wear on your right hand? Coming to escitalopram, it is the glove of the right hand. Some are of the view that it is escitalopram that is better of the two which is a claim hotly debated by others.

Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate) and Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide) are both serotonin uptake inhibitors and frequently prescribed by doctors for the treatment of depression and anxiety. They have similar molecules but it was Celexa that was discovered first. It is a mixture of both R and S enantiomers of citalopram. On the other hand, Lexapro does not have R enantiomer and contains just S enantiomer of citalopram. If you are confused with R and S enantiomers, you can think of them as your left and right hand which are similar but opposite. As such R and S molecule forms are similar but like mirror images. You can differentiate only when you put your left hand on your right hand.

Recent research on depression has proved that it is the S enantiomer of citalopram that is more effective as an anti depressant. This is the reason why Lexapro, which contains only S enantiomer, was developed.

As far as other differences are concerned, while both are indicated for treatment of depression, it is only Lexapro that doctors use in the treatment of anxiety. This is not to say that Celexa does not work on anxiety. It only means enough clinical trials have not been conducted to know the effect of Celexa on anxiety.

And lastly, Celexa is available as a generic drug, while Lexapro is a patented medication which makes a huge difference for patients in poor countries as generic drugs are easy to make with inexpensive methods while patented drugs are often costly and out of reach of poor people.

As far as effectiveness is concerned, while some say that they get more relief with Celexa, there are others who say that Lexapro brings more relief to them. It has been seen that if Celexa works on a patient, it is not necessary that Lexapro will also work in a similar fashion, and vice versa.


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