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Is escitalopram and clonazepam safe for long term use?

Thursday, 22 March 2007
Answered by: Dr. Ravi Singareddy
Assistant Professor
Penn State University College of Medicine
Pennsylvania, USA
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Q. I am a 26 years old man, facing mild panic and anxiety for the last couple of years. During this period, my doctor prescribed various medicines ranging from Trika 0.25 mg, Stalopam, Zicam, etc. (basically all escitalopram and clonazepma) tablets. I want to know whether the medicines that I have taken over the couple of years would harm my sexual life in future? Also, is there a solution to the above problem other than drugs, which I want to stop at the earliest since my parents have advised that I have become habitual to it?

A.  Escitalopram can have sexual side effects - however, the sexual side-effects get better once you are off the medication - in some cases even if you decrease the dose. In any case you need to balance between the between benefit versus side effects. As far as the issue of dependency is concerned, you could get dependent on clonazepam but usually not to escitalopram. In general, escitalopram and clonazepam is a good combination for panic disorder. There are treatment modalities other than medications that are known to be effective, particularly a type of therapy known as cognitive behavioural therapy. If you have a trained therapist who can do this kind of therapy, it might be beneficial for you in long term and it is possible that you could go off medication.

A.  Escitalopram can have sexual side effects - however, the sexual side-effects get better once you are off the medication - in some cases even if you decrease the dose. In any case you need to balance between the between benefit versus side effects. As far as the issue of dependency is concerned, you could get dependent on clonazepam but usually not to escitalopram. In general, escitalopram and clonazepam is a good combination for panic disorder. There are treatment modalities other than medications that are known to be effective, particularly a type of therapy known as cognitive behavioural therapy. If you have a trained therapist who can do this kind of therapy, it might be beneficial for you in long term and it is possible that you could go off medication.

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