Citalopram Patient Information

Written by anna aronson
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Citalopram is a prescription medication most commonly used to treat depression but also sometimes given to patients with panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. For people with depression, taking Citalopram may help increase energy level and improve their mood. As with all antidepressants, it may take several weeks to notice a change as a result of the medication. Citalopram is a generic drug. It is also available under the brand name Celexa from manufacturer Forest Pharmaceuticals.

How It Works

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or an SSRI. Serotonin is a natural substance made in the brain, and when patients take the medication, the balance of serotonin is restored. Once the medication begins to take effect, a patient's mood may improve.

How To Take It

Citalopram is generally prescribed to be taken once a day, and it is best to take it in the morning or evening to establish a routine. It can be taken with or without food. The dosage is based on the patient and the condition it is treating. In some cases, doctors may prescribe a low dose and increase it over time to reach the desired effects.

Side Effects

Side effects of Citalopram include diarrhoea, loss of appetite, nausea, tiredness, nasal congestion, decreased sexual desire or ability, drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness when standing or sitting up, dry mouth and increased sweating. None of these are cause for concern. In rare cases, people taking Citalopram may experience serious side effects that may indicate a potential complication. Notify your doctor if you experience any of the following: chest pain; decreased concentration; fainting; bizarre behaviour; memory loss; black or bloody stools; a missing menstrual period; decreased coordination; a fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; panic attacks; memory loss; a persistent or painful erection; seizures; red, swollen or blistered skin; tremors; unusual bruising or bleeding; vision changes; unusual weakness; stomach pain; and severe headaches. Mental changes that may indicate a serious problem include the following: an exaggerated sense of well-being; trouble sleeping; severe or persistent anxiety; worsening agitation; panic attacks; suicidal thoughts or actions; worsening depression; aggressiveness; impulsiveness; hostility; irritability; or severe mood changes.


In rare cases, antidepressants may lead to worsening depression or possible suicidal thoughts or actions, especially in children, teens and young adults. Citalopram also may not be safe for people with certain medical conditions, including severe liver or kidney problems, problems with metabolism or bowel or stomach bleeding.

Drug Interactions

Several medications are known to interact with Citalopram. The medication may not be as effective when taken along with cyproheptadine and carbamazepine. When taken with anticoagulants, aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the risk of bleeding might be increased. Several medications and herbal supplements can cause potentially serious side effects such as severe mental changes, fever, rigid muscles and severe blood pressure changes when taken with Citalopram. These include St. John's wort, MAO inhibitors, fenfluramine derivatives, lithium, metoclopramide, selegiline, nefazodone, trazodone, linezolid and sibutramine.

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