The antidepressant drug Escitalopram, better known under the brand name Lexapro, has helped countless people suffering from depression and anxiety to lead productive lives. But if you don‘t have health insurance and need this drug, you’ll have to pay for it out-of-pocket.
How much does Lexapro (escitalopram) cost without insurance in 2023? You’ll find the answer to this question below. Keep reading to learn more about Lexapro, what you’ll pay for it, and why costs differ widely depending on where you buy it.
What Is Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
Escitalopram is a drug from a group of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, usually referred to as SSRIs.
Serotonin carries signals between nerve cells, after which it’s reabsorbed by the nerve cells. This reabsorption, or ‘reuptake’ is impeded by SSRIs, allowing more serotonin to be available in the brain and thereby improving your mood. As a result, escitalopram is useful in reducing anxiety and depression.
Lexapro is a brand name for escitalopram, prescribed for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. A generic version of the drug (Escitalopram oxalate) is also commonly prescribed.
The Cost Of Lexapro (Escitalopram) Without Insurance
Understandably, sufferers of anxiety and mood disorders will struggle to live full and productive lives without treatment. But if you don’t have health insurance, what can you expect to pay for this drug?
The generic version of the drug is always going to be cheaper. This is usually the case with all medical and psychiatric drugs. But the price may still differ widely depending on the drugstore or pharmacy you purchase them from.
So, how much is Lexapro without insurance? It depends on where you get it. To illustrate this more clearly, let’s examine the differences in price between three US pharmacy chains of this drug.
There are more than 9,600 branches of the CVS pharmacy chain across the US, making them the largest pharmacy store chain in the country.
For the generic version of Escitalopram, expect to pay about $56. For the brand name version Lexapro, you’ll need to pay about $469! That’s a huge difference, and if you don’t have health insurance, you’re better off opting for the generic version.
Walgreens is the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the US, with over 8,800 branches.
The generic version of Escitalopram comes to about $61, so only a little more than at CVS. It’s the same with the brand Lexapro, slightly more than CVS, at $488.
The largest drugstore chain at one time, Rite Aid is currently the third-largest pharmacy chain in the US, with well over 2,000 branches.
At Rite-Aid, the generic Escitalopram retails for about $120, more than double the cost at CVS. And the brand name Lexapro will come to approximately $533.
** Prices of the above with insurance: Free or much lower than stated above.
Is This Price Difference Visible Everywhere?
This is a sample of just the top three pharmacy chains. Even larger differences in pricing may be seen between the other pharmacy chains. And these prices may be even higher when you factor in the stand-alone independent drug stores.
Factors That Influence The Cost Of Lexapro
The cost of Lexapro is influenced by numerous factors. When you understand what they are, you can take steps to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
Brand vs Generic
You’ll have noticed very quickly that there is a huge price difference between the brand name Lexapro and the generic version of Escitalopram. This is the norm across all classes of drugs, although the difference is not always as wide.
This doesn’t mean that the generic is inferior or won’t afford you the same relief from your anxiety and depression.
However, brand-name drugs have millions of dollars in marketing and are pushed by the medical profession. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies can charge more for them, which in turn raises the price at your local drug store.
Location can affect the price too. Depending on which pharmacy chain or drugstore you purchase your Lexapro from, and in which area, you’ll pay a different price.
Many pharmacy chains have agreed upon certain deals with pharmaceutical companies to keep costs down. Independent drug stores will often be far more expensive because they haven’t negotiated a deal with the drug manufacturers like the large chains have.
Ordinarily, this drug will be dispensed in a 30-day supply. However, some pharmacies may offer a larger quantity at a lower price per tablet overall. This may only be accessible if your prescription allows for larger supplies to be made available to you.
Please bear in mind that you should stick to the prescribed dosage, despite the quantity you have in your possession. Overdosage of any drug can have serious consequences. The dosage is typically a 10mg tablet, daily. Lexapro overdose can be fatal.
Side Effects Of Lexapro
Like many other psychiatric drugs, Lexapro use has been found to produce certain side effects. These may not be experienced by all users, however, the following have sometimes been reported:
- Blurry vision
- Dry mouth
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased sweating and night sweats
- More frequent urination
- Nausea and indigestion
Does Insurance Cover Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
Most health plans cover antidepressant drugs like Escitalopram, both in its generic form and also the branded Lexapro. Coverage may differ from one health plan to the next, however.
You may have to make a co-payment on some private health plans. Medicare clients can ask about Part D coverage for prescription drugs.
The bottom line is, health insurance will make it far easier to afford Escitalopram, especially the brand name Lexapro.
If you are going to need to be on this class of drugs for an extended period, it’s in your best interests to get yourself onto a health plan as soon as possible. If you don’t, you’ll find the ongoing costs prohibitive.
What If I Can’t Afford My Escitalopram?
If you can’t afford Lexapro without insurance, you may be understandably worried. Even a cheaper generic version may be out of reach if you are unemployed or earning a minimum wage. The important thing to remember is that it’s not advised to just stop taking a prescription drug due to affordability issues.
There are two important reasons for this. Firstly, you could go into withdrawal after a sudden cessation of the drug. This is quite common and can be rather unpleasant. Secondly, if you need the drug and stop taking it, your anxiety and depression may become overwhelming.
Don’t take these risks with your mental health and well-being. Get yourself covered by an affordable health plan today, if possible. Some plans will cover you at a minimal cost, and some Obamacare options are free to unemployed people who meet certain qualification criteria.
How To Lower The Out-Of-Pocket Costs Of Your Escitalopram (Lexapro)
You don’t have to be at the mercy of drugstore pricing. There are several ways to lower your costs when you need Lexapro but don’t have insurance.
Buy From The Larger Chains
As you saw in our breakdown of costs above, the price of Lexapro can differ widely from one pharmacy to the next. However, getting your meds from a large pharmacy chain is, in general, the cheaper option.
Opt For A Generic
Don’t be reluctant to try a generic form of Lexapro. The generic form of this drug is as effective as the brand name version. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that the quality of treatment is the same. The generic is far cheaper no matter where you buy it.
Ask About Lower Rates For Non-Insured Customers
Some pharmacies may offer a lower cash rate for uninsured customers. This may be more likely at independently owned drug stores, but don’t be afraid to ask about this.
Enquire About An Account
Certain drug stores, particularly independent drugstores, may offer their customers the option to pay off their prescription purchases. Ask your local pharmacist about this possibility.
Explain that you currently have no health insurance coverage. They may be willing to extend a 30-day payment plan to you if you can prove that you’ll be able to pay at the end of the month.
Get Assistance From Your Local Mental Health Clinic
Depending on the state and city you live in, you may have access to assistance from a mental health clinic or similar facility.
They may be able to assist you with your Escitalopram needs, or a cheaper alternative. Pharmaceutical companies regularly produce alternatives to popular drugs, and their reps dispense samples of these to mental health clinics, psychiatric hospitals, and doctor’s offices.
There may be another drug that will give you the same benefits at a lower price. However, you’d need to get the okay from your doctor before trying another drug.
Here at Enhance Health, we make it simple to get health insurance, regardless of your income or employment status. We’ll assist you to cut through the jargon and find an affordable health plan that meets your specific needs. Give us a call today.