Citalopram; Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions, Pregnancy

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Citalopram is a bicyclic naphthalene derivative and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), with antidepressant and anxiolytic activities. Citalopramselectively inhibits the neuronal reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) in presynaptic cells in the central nervous system, thereby increasing levels of 5-HT within the synaptic cleft and enhancing the actions of serotonin on its receptors. Increased serotonergic neurotransmission results in antidepressive and anxiolytic effects.

Citalopram is an antidepressant medication belonging to a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that affects neurotransmitters, the chemicals that nerves within the brain use to communicate with each other. Neurotransmitters are manufactured and released by nerves and then travel and attach to nearby nerves. Thus, neurotransmitters can be thought of as the communication.

Mechanism of Action of Citalopram

The antidepressant, antiobsessive-compulsive, and antibulimic actions of citalopram are presumed to be linked to its inhibition of CNS neuronal uptake of serotonin. Citalopram blocks the reuptake of serotonin at the serotonin reuptake pump of the neuronal membrane, enhancing the actions of serotonin on 5HT1A autoreceptors. SSRIs bind with significantly less affinity to histamine, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine receptors than tricyclic antidepressant drugs. The antidepressant, antiobsessive-compulsive, and antibulimic actions of citalopram are presumed to be linked to its inhibition of CNS neuronal uptake of serotonin. In vitro studies show that citalopram is a potent and selective inhibitor of neuronal serotonin reuptake and has only very weak effects on norepinephrine and dopamine neuronal reuptake. Citalopram has no significant affinity for adrenergic (α1, α2, β), cholinergic, GABA, dopaminergic, histaminergic, serotonergic (5HT1A, 5HT1B, 5HT2), or benzodiazepine receptors; antagonism of such receptors has been hypothesized to be associated with various anticholinergic, sedative, and cardiovascular effects for other psychotropic drugs.

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Indications of Citalopram

Contra-Indications of Citalopram

  • Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone Secretion
  • low amount of magnesium in the blood
  • low amount of sodium in the blood
  • low amount of potassium in the blood
  • increased risk of bleeding
  • Manic-Depression
  • Having Thoughts of Suicide
  • Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
  • serotonin syndrome – adverse drug interaction
  • closed angle glaucoma
  • heart attack within the last 30 days
  • Very Rapid Heartbeat – Torsades de Pointes
  • Slow Heartbeat
  • prolonged QT interval on EKG
  • chronic heart failure
  • chronic heart failure suddenly not controlled by medication
  • Heart Disease
  • Abnormal EKG with QT changes from Birth
  • liver problems
  • Bleeding from Stomach
  • Esophagus or Duodenum
  • severe renal impairment
  • seizures

Dosages of Citalopram

Strengths: 10 mg/5 mL; 10 mg; 20 mg; 40 mg


  • Initial dose: 20 mg orally once a day
  • Maintenance dose: 20 to 40 mg orally once a day
  • Maximum dose: 40 mg orally per day

Geriatric Dose for Depression

Over 60 years of age
  • Recommended dose: 20 mg orally once a day

Side Effects of Citalopram

The most common

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Drug Interactions of Citalopram

Citalopram may interact with following drugs, supplements & may change the efficacy of drugs

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Pregnancy & Lactation of Citalopram

FDA Pregnancy Category C


This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.


This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breastfeeding mother and are taking citalopram, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breastfeeding. The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children and is not indicated for use in children under the age of 18.




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