Citalopram, sold under the brand name Celexa among others, is an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It is used to treat major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia. The antidepressant effects may take one to four weeks to occur. It is taken by mouth.
Common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping, sexual problems, shakiness, feeling tired, and sweating. Serious side effects include an increased risk of suicide in those under the age of 25, serotonin syndrome, glaucoma, and QT prolongation. It should not be used in persons who take or have recently taken a MAO inhibitor. Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome may occur when stopped. There are concerns that use during pregnancy may harm the fetus.
Citalopram was approved for medical use in the United States in 1998. It is available as a generic medication. In 2018, it was the 35th most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 22 million prescriptions.
- 1Medical uses
- 2Adverse effects
Citalopram HBr tablets in 20-mg (coral, marked 508) and 40-mg (white, marked 509), and a United States one-cent coin (size 19.05 mm/0.75 in)
In the United States, citalopram is approved to treat major depressive disorder. Citalopram appears to have comparable efficacy and superior tolerability relative to other antidepressants. In the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence ranking of ten antidepressants for efficacy and cost-effectiveness, citalopram is fifth in effectiveness (after mirtazapine, escitalopram, venlafaxine, and sertraline) and fourth in cost-effectiveness. The ranking results were based on a 2009 meta-analysis by Andrea Cipriani; an update of the analysis in 2018 produced broadly similar results.
Evidence for effectiveness of citalopram for treating depression in children is uncertain.
It appears to be as effective as fluvoxamine and paroxetine in obsessive–compulsive disorder. Some data suggest the effectiveness of intravenous infusion of citalopram in resistant OCD. Citalopram is well tolerated and as effective as moclobemide in social anxiety disorder. There are studies suggesting that citalopram can be useful in reducing aggressive and impulsive behavior. It appears to be superior to placebo for behavioural disturbances associated with dementia. It has also been used successfully for hypersexuality in early Alzheimer’s disease.
A meta-analysis, including studies with fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, escitalopram, and citalopram versus placebo, showed SSRIs to be effective in reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, whether taken continuously or just in the luteal phase. For alcoholism, citalopram has produced a modest reduction in alcoholic drink intake and increase in drink-free days in studies of alcoholics, possibly by decreasing desire or reducing the reward.
Citalopram and other SSRIs can be used to treat hot flashes.
A 2009 multisite randomized controlled study found no benefit and some adverse effects in autistic children from citalopram, raising doubts whether SSRIs are effective for treating repetitive behavior in children with autism.
Some research suggests citalopram interacts with cannabinoid protein-couplings in the rat brain, and this is put forward as a potential cause of some of the drug’s antidepressant effect.
Citalopram is typically taken in one dose, either in the morning or evening. It can be taken with or without food. Its absorption does not increase when taken with food, but doing so can help prevent nausea. Nausea is often caused when the 5HT3 receptors actively absorb free serotonin, as this receptor is present within the digestive tract. The 5HT3 receptors stimulate vomiting. This side effect, if present, should subside as the body adjusts to the medication.
Citalopram is considered safe and well tolerated in the therapeutic dose range. Distinct from some other agents in its class, it exhibits linear pharmacokinetics and minimal drug interaction potential, making it a better choice for the elderly or comorbid patients. citalopram for anxiety
Citalopram theoretically causes side effects by increasing the concentration of serotonin in other parts of the body (e.g., the intestines). Other side effects, such as increased apathy and emotional flattening, may be caused by the decrease in dopamine release associated with increased serotonin. Citalopram is also a mild antihistamine, which may be responsible for some of its sedating properties. citalopram for anxiety
Other common side effects of citalopram include drowsiness, insomnia, nausea, weight changes (usually weight gain), increase in appetite, vivid dreaming, frequent urination, dry mouth, increased sweating, trembling, diarrhea, excessive yawning, severe tinnitus, and fatigue. Less common side effects include bruxism, vomiting, cardiac arrhythmia, blood pressure changes, dilated pupils, anxiety, mood swings, headache, hyperactivity and dizziness. Rare side effects include convulsions, hallucinations, severe allergic reactions and photosensitivity. If sedation occurs, the dose may be taken at bedtime rather than in the morning. Some data suggests citalopram may cause nightmares. Citalopram is associated with a higher risk of arrhythmia than other SSRIs.
Withdrawal symptoms can occur when this medicine is suddenly stopped, such as paraesthesiae, sleeping problems (difficulty sleeping and intense dreams), feeling dizzy, agitated or anxious, nausea, vomiting, tremors, confusion, sweating, headache, diarrhea, palpitations, changes in emotions, irritability, and eye or eyesight problems. Treatment with citalopram should be reduced gradually when treatment is finished.