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    Information about Citalopram

    Citalopram uses

    Citalopram is used in the treatment of depression and Panic disorder.

    How citalopram works

    Citalopram is one of a group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. It is thought to be work by enhancing the level of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters called serotonin in the brain. This may help you to improve your energy level and feelings of well-being.

    Common side effects of citalopram

    Erectile dysfunction, Insomnia (difficulty in sleeping), Low sexual desire, Nausea, Restlessness, Upset stomach, Vomiting, Weight gain
    Content Details
    Written By
    Dr. Swati Mishra
    Reviewed By
    Dr. Shilpa Garcha
    MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
    Last updated on:
    05 Mar 2020 | 12:49 PM (IST)
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    Read Our Editorial Policy

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    Expert advice for Citalopram

    • Citalopram effectively treats a variety of mental health conditions such as depression.
    • It can take up to 8 to 12 weeks to see the medicine full effects on your mood.
    • Take it with food to avoid stomach upset.
    • It causes less drowsiness as compared to other antidepressant medications.
    • Don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how Citalopram affects you.
    • Talk to your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or develop suicidal thoughts.
    • Inform your doctor if you experience decreased sex drive or difficulty having an orgasm.
    • Do not stop taking the medication suddenly without talking to your doctor.

    Frequently asked questions for Citalopram


    Q. What is Citalopram used for? How does it work?

    Citalopram belongs to a class of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Citalopram is used to treat depression and panic disorder. It helps to improve your energy levels and elevates your mood. This medication works by restoring the balance of a chemical substance (serotonin) in the brain which helps to relieve depression and symptoms of panic disorder such as excessive fear, sweating, rapid heart rate, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath, chills etc.

    Q. Does Citalopram make you gain weight?

    Weight changes may be seen while using Citalopram, so monitor your weight closely. Citalopram belongs to a class of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Although SSRIs are associated with weight loss at first, long-term use of SSRIs may cause an increase in the weight. Long-term use is considered when the treatment lasts longer than six months. If these weight changes bother you, please consult your doctor.

    Q. Can you drink alcohol while taking Citalopram?

    No, it is advised not to take alcohol while taking Citalopram. Citalopram can cause sleepiness or may affect your ability to make decisions, think clearly, or react quickly. And taking alcohol with this medicine will only worsen these side effects. Therefore, you must avoid alcohol if you are on Citalopram.

    Q. Can Citalopram cause abnormal heartbeat or arrhythmia?

    Yes, Citalopram has been found to cause prolongation of the QT interval (a type of ECG abnormality) that can lead to arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat or heart rhythm), which can be dangerous. However, this is very rare according to scientific research reports. Moreover, abnormalities in electrolyte levels (such as potassium and magnesium) may also increase the risk of abnormalities in the heartbeat of people suffering from heart problems. Such people must have an ECG review, before as well as during treatment with Citalopram. However, the final decision will be only made by your doctor, after analyzing your health condition and considering all possible risks and benefits of this medicine.

    Q. What are the side effects of Citalopram?

    The most common side effects of Citalopram are low sexual desire, vomiting, insomnia (difficulty in sleeping), orthostatic hypotension (sudden lowering of blood pressure on standing), anorgasmia (decreased orgasm), nausea, weight gain, erectile dysfunction, stomach upset, and restlessness. Please consult your doctor if these do not resolve or worry you. Your doctor will suggest ways to prevent or treat these side effects.

    Q. Is it better to take Citalopram in the morning or at night?

    It is usually recommended to take Citalopram once a day in the morning since it can keep you awake if taken late at night. You can take it with or without food. You should prefer taking it at the same time each day so that you remember to take it.

    Content on this page was last updated on 05 March, 2020, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)