How it works
Citalopram is in a class of medication called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is used to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorders, alcoholism, panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, social phobia, and other conditions. Citalopram works by increasing the amount of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that helps maintain mental balance.
Citalopram is a non-controlled medication, which means that it is not classified as having euphoric or addictive properties. There are no cravings, no hazardous behaviors, and no examples of prolonged addictive behavior associated with it.
Citalopram may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you. Remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication and make the side effects of citalopram worse.
How it should be used
It may take 2 to 4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of citalopram. Continue to take citalopram even if you feel well.
Do not stop taking citalopram without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking citalopram, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as mood changes, irritability, agitation, dizziness, numbness, tingling or electric shock-like sensations in the hands or feet, anxiety, confusion, headache, tiredness, nausea, sweating, shaking, and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
What to do if you forget a dose
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Citalopram may cause side effects. However, they tend to go away after an adaptation period. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- stomach pain
- decreased appetite
- weight loss
- frequent urination
- excessive tiredness
- uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- muscle or joint pain
- dry mouth
- changes in sex drive or ability
- heavy menstrual periods
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience either of the following symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS sections, call your doctor immediately:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- hallucinating (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- excessive sweating
- coma (loss of consciousness)
- loss of coordination
- stiff or twitching muscles
- hives or blisters
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- problems with thinking, concentration, or memory
Citalopram may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
In case of emergency or overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
The information about this medication is not intended to replace medical counseling. Please consult your pharmacist and/or health provider for more comprehensive information. You can also find the Medication Guide containing the manufacturer’s patient information approved by the FDA here.
Last Revised on 01/15/2018