citalopram, Celexa

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GENERIC NAME: citalopram

BRAND NAME: Celexa

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Citalopram is an antidepressant medication 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 system of the brain. Many experts believe that an imbalance among neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. Citalopram works by preventing the uptake of one neurotransmitter, serotonin, by nerve cells after it has been released. Since uptake is an important mechanism for removing released neurotransmitters and terminating their actions on adjacent nerves, the reduced uptake caused by citalopram results in more free serotonin in the brain to stimulate nerve cells. Citalopram is in the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class that also contains fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft). Citalopram was approved by the FDA in July 1998.

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets: 10, 20, and 40 mg. Solution: 10 mg/5 ml

STORAGE: Citalopram should be stored at room temperature, 15 to 30 C (59 to 86 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Citalopram is used for the management of depression. Citalopram also is used for treating obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric syndrome (PMDD), anxiety disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

DOSING: The usual starting dose is 20 mg in the morning or evening. The dose may be increased to 40 mg daily after one week. A dose of 60 mg has not been shown to be more effective than 40 mg. As with all antidepressants, it may take several weeks of treatment before maximum effects are seen. Doses are often slowly adjusted upwards to find the most effective dose.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: All SSRIs, including citalopram, should not be taken with any of the mono-amine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor-class of antidepressants, for example, isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), selegiline (Eldepryl), and procarbazine (Matulane). Such combinations may lead to confusion, high blood pressure, tremor, and hyperactivity. If treatment is to be changed from citalopram to an MAOI or vice-versa, there should be a 14 day period without either drug before the alternative drug is started. Tryptophan, a common dietary supplement, can cause headaches, nausea, sweating, and dizziness when taken with any SSRI. Linezolid and intravenous methylene blue are also MAO inhibitors and should not be combined with citalopram.

Use of an SSRI with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or other drugs that affect bleeding may increase the likelihood of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.

PREGNANCY: Exposure of neonates to citalopram in the third trimester may cause complications.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2013



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