Citalopram is used to treat depression. It belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medicines are thought to work by increasing the activity of a chemical called serotonin in the brain.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
This product is available in the following dosage forms:
2 What to Know Before Using
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make.
For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of citalopram in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of citalopram in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood), which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving citalopram.
All Trimesters: Category C: Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.
Studies in women breastfeeding have demonstrated harmful infant effects. An alternative to this medication should be prescribed or you should stop breastfeeding while using this medicine.
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is not recommended.
Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine.
Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
Take this medicine only as directed by your doctor, to benefit your condition as much as possible. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered.
This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Citalopram may be taken with or without food. If your doctor tells you to take it at a specific time, follow your doctor's instructions.
If you are using the oral liquid, shake the bottle well before measuring each dose. Use a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe or medicine cup to measure each dose. The average household teaspoon may not hold the right amount of liquid.
You may have to take citalopram for a month or longer before you begin to feel better.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
For oral dosage forms (solution or tablets)
At first, 20 milligrams (mg) once a day, taken either in the morning or evening. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 40 mg per day.
20 mg once a day, taken either in the morning or evening.
Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
4 Precautions to Take
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits, to allow for changes in your dose and to help reduce any side effects. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Do not start taking citalopram during the 2 weeks after you stop a MAO inhibitor and wait 2 weeks after stopping citalopram before you start taking a MAO inhibitor. If you take them together or do not wait 2 weeks, you may develop confusion, agitation, restlessness, stomach or intestinal symptoms, a sudden high body temperature, an extremely high blood pressure, or severe convulsions.
Do not take pimozide (Orap®) while you are taking this medicine. Using these medicines together can cause very serious heart problems.
Citalopram may cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome if taken together with some medicines. Do not use citalopram with
or some pain or migraine medicines (eg, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, tramadol, Frova®, Imitrex®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Ultram®, Zomig®).
Check with your doctor first before taking any other medicines with citalopram
Citalopram may cause some teenagers and young adults to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed. Some people may have trouble sleeping, get upset easily, have a big increase in energy, or start to act reckless. If you or your caregiver notice any of these unwanted effects, tell your doctor right away. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm
You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem such as QT prolongation or slow heartbeat.
Do not suddenly stop taking this medicine without checking with your doctor first
Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. This will decrease the chance of having withdrawal symptoms such as
This medicine may increase your risk for bleeding problems. Make sure your doctor knows if you are also taking other medicines that thin the blood, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agents, also called NSAIDs (eg, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®), or warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®).
This medicine may cause hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood). This is more common in elderly patients, those who are taking diuretic medicines for high blood pressure, or those who have decreased amounts of fluid in the body due to severe diarrhea or vomiting.
Check with your doctor right away if you have
feel unsteady when standing.
The use of alcohol is not recommended in patients who are taking this medicine.
This medicine may cause some people to become drowsy, to have trouble thinking, or to have problems with movement. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert or well-coordinated.
Your doctor may want to monitor your child's weight and height, because this medicine may cause decreased appetite and weight loss in children.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
5 Potential Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur
seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
swelling of the breasts or unusual milk production
tenderness, pain, swelling, warmth, skin discoloration, and prominent superficial veins over the affected area
tightness in the chest
total body jerking
twitching, twisting, uncontrolled repetitive movements of the tongue, lips, face, arms, or legs
uncontrolled jerking or twisting movements
vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
yellowing of the eyes or skin
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
FindATopDoc is a trusted resource for patients to find the top doctors in their area. Be visible and accessible with your up to date contact
information, certified patients reviews and online appointment booking functionality.