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Escitalopram

Information

Environmental information for escitalopram is missing on fass.se (2020-10-12). It is voluntary for manufacturers to provide information about environmental impact on fass.se. This summary information on persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity is based on previous environmental information in Fass from 2017. For risk, see the environmental assessments from Goodpoint.

Persistence. Escitalopram oxalate is slowly degraded in the environment.
Bioaccumulation. Escitalopram oxalate has low potential for bioaccumultaion.
Toxicity. Escitalopram has high chronic toxicity.
Risk. See the environmental assessments from Goodpoint below.

Citalopram is a racemate of which one of the enantiomers, escitalopram (S-form), has the pharmacological effect. In assessing the total environmental risk the quantity of sold citalopram should also be taken into account.

Detailed information

Fass environmental information

Fass environmental information for Escitalopram Actavis from Actavis (downloaded 2017-05-30).

Hazard

Persistence: (OECD 308): "DT50 (total system) = 89.3 days (system A) and 39.5 (system B)."

Bioaccumulation: Log Kow = 1.04 at pH 7 (OECD 107).

Chronic toxicity: There is NOEC for 3 trophic levels, lowest NOEC for fish (Pimephales promelas) > 26.8 microg/L. However, this value is specified as ">" which does not follow the guidelines.

Risk

PEC/PNEC is based on sales data in Sweden in year 2011. PEC/PNEC = 0.011 which gives the risk insignificant, i.e. consideration has not been given to measured levels in the environment.

Report Goodpoint 2016

Concentrations in the environment in Sweden for several SSRI/SNRIs exceed the reported effect concentrations, especially for invertebrates. However, studies reporting the very lowest effect concentrations are questioned. Levels of citalopram in fish exposed to treated wastewater are equivalent to therapeutic levels in humans.

Citalopram has been detected in treated wastewater, surface water, drinking water and fish in Region Stockholm. (The laboratory analysis does not distinguish between the different enantiomers.) Citalopram is included in Region Stockholm's table of pharmaceuticals with a negative environmental impact according to the environmental programme 2017–2021 based on lowest effect concentration, LOEC = 150 ng/L, and concentrations found in the environment.

Report Goodpoint 2018

Comparative assessment of environmental risk in the use of citalopram, escitalopram, sertraline, fluoxetine, venlafaxine, paroxetine and clomipramine in Sweden.

Overall, there is a risk profile for the studied antidepressants.

The Wise list

In the Wise list is escitalopram recommended. Environmental classification of pharmaceuticals is taken into consideration, sometimes with other environmental aspects, when selecting pharmaceuticals for the Wise list. When comparable pharmaceuticals are equivalent to medical effects, safety and pharmaceutical efficacy, environmental impact and price are considered.

Suggestions on how to reduce emissions of escitalopram and citalopram

Concrete proposals on how to work to reduce emissions of environmentally harmful pharmaceuticals on the list have been developed in close cooperation with the Stockholm Drug and Therapeutics Committee's expert groups. The action proposals were developed from an environmental perspective. The patient's best always goes first and several pharmaceuticals on the list are also included in the Wise list. However, for such pharmaceuticals, there may be measures that could reduce the environmental impact.

Concrete proposal for escitalopram and citalopram

  • In the first place, non pharmacological treatment and/or measures (e.g., CBT and physical activity) taken alone or in combination with pharmaceuticals for the treatment of depression. Avoid overconsumption of alcohol.
  • Citalopram is not recommended in the Wise list. Instead, escitalopram is recommended.
  • Avoid randomized prescribing of SSRIs (e.g., escitalopram/citalopram). Evaluate and reconsider the treatment with SSRIs. Can the pharmaceutical be de-prescribed?
  • Starter pack for escitalopram is available within the reimbursement system.

Author: Health and Medical Care Administration, Region Stockholm