Columbia University Medical Center
Ranked #1 in Psychiatry
U.S. News & World Report
Ranked #1 in Research Funding
National Institutes of Health
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell

Ask the Experts


Why would a surgeon prescribe Cipralex 3-4 weeks prior to elective spinal surgery? I would have thought it advisable to wean a patient off anti-depressants such as Cipralex prior to surgery.

Answered by: Patrick McGrath

While medications like Cipralex (Lexapro or escitalopram) cause some slight risk of increased bleeding during surgery, it is not thought by most surgeons to be necessary to avoid before surgery as aspirin or other anticoagulants are. Some people believe that treating depression or anxiety before surgery more than outweighs any other risks. However, the risk benefit ratio hasn't been well studied, so it is open to opinion and an argument could be made either way.