How Effective is Citalopram & What are its Side Effects?

Citalopram is an antidepressant medicine, which comes in SSRIs i.e., selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors group of drugs. This medication is used for curing depression.
Patients who are already taking methylene blue injection or pimozide should avoid Citalopram as the combination can cause severe adverse effect on patient. Also, patient who has taken MAO inhibitor like Isocarboxazid, tranylcypromine, linezolid, rasagiline, phenelzine or selegiline anytime in the past fourteen days should also avoid intake of Citalopram.

When taking antidepressant for the first time, some of the patients think about suicide. This is the reason why it is suggested to stay alert and observe all the symptoms or sudden change in moods and discuss the same with the doctor.

Make sure to inform your doctor about all the symptoms whether new or worst. Some of the common symptoms include sudden panic attack, fluctuation in behavior, aggressive or restless mental condition, hypertension/depression, sleepless nights, irritation and so on. The medicine is not recommended for patient less than eighteen years of age. If required then it should be given only after consulting the same with a registered practitioner. Further, the medicine is not at all recommended for small kids.

How Citalopram Works?

How Citalopram Works?

Citalopram increases the amount of serotonin in brain, which is helpful in treating depression. As mentioned above this medicine belongs to SSRIs i.e. selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors group of drugs, which is very effective in curing depression.

How Effective is Citalopram?

Citalopram is highly useful in effectively treating depression or hypertension.

  • Unless any other antidepressant is used along with Citalopram, it does not cause drowsiness.
  • In addition to depression that medicine may also be helpful in managing eating disorder, OCD i.e. obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and fibromyalgia.
  • SSRIs group of drugs are considered better than other medicines that are used for curing depression.

Before starting with the treatment process doctors get the blood test of the patient done to know the electrolyte level in the body. It is important that the level of potassium or magnesium should be accurate for the medicine to work properly.

  • In any situation dose more than forty mg a day is not advised.
  • During the first few months of the treatment if the patient feels the condition is becoming worst to the thought of suicide attempt is becoming high then, patient should immediately visit the doctor to discuss the same.
  • Never make the mistake of stopping the medicine suddenly without doctor’s consent. Instead, the dose of the medicine should be reduced slowly and gradually in due course of time. This is so because suddenly stopping the medicine intake can lead to withdrawal symptoms.

The response and effectiveness of Citalopram is excellent. Usually the effect of medicine starts after four hours of medicine intake but in some cases it takes almost four-six weeks to experience the effect of the medicine.

What is the Suggested Dosage of Citalopram?

In the initial stage dose of Citalopram should be around 20g a day. Once the body accepts the medicine the dose can be advised between 20 to maximum 40mg a day. In any situation, the dose should be raised above forty mg a day as dose beyond it can have adverse effect on the body.

If required the dose of the medicine can be increased to forty mg a day but minimum after one week of the therapy.

Patient increase the dose on their own for getting instant relief but alteration in the dosage can cause highly adverse effect on the body.

Acute stage of this health problem calls for several months of constant medication and highly effective therapy.

What are the Side Effects of Citalopram?

Intake of Citalopram may have the following side effects such as allergic reactions, breathing problem, swelling on face, lips, tongue and rashes on skin. If any of these symptoms are seen then one should inform the doctor about the same in detail.

Some of the common side effects of Citalopram are as follows: behavioral changes, panic attack, anxiety, irritation, aggressiveness, hypertension, insomnia, impulsiveness and fluctuations in the though process. If these symptoms are experienced by patient then it is recommended that they should discuss about the symptoms with a registered practitioner. Call the doctor if you feel:

  • Blurred vision, pain in eyes or swelling
  • Headache, dizziness, severe chest pain and uneven heart beats
  • Nervous disorder, muscle stiffness, high temperature, sweating, muscle reflux action, vomit sensation and loose motions
  • Hallucinations and loss of coordination
  • Headache, difficulty in speech, weakness and confusion.

Patient who are in the age of 8 to 60 years if experience any of the below mentioned side effects or health condition, then should immediately discuss the same with their doctor.

  • Increase in the thought process of suicidal behavior in young as well as in adults.
  • Overdose of the medicine can also lead to hallucinations, dizziness, uneven heart beats, vomit sensation and so on.
  • If the medicine is stopped suddenly then it can cause discontinuation syndrome, which includes nausea, diarrhea, sweating, insomnia and more.


Citalopram is one of the most effective drug that helps in treating depression but its side effects are somewhat related to escitalopram (which is a related drug.)

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 27, 2017

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