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General Practice 2023

Citalopram: what is it for and how to take it

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Citalopram: what is it for and how to take it
Citalopram: what is it for and how to take it

Citalopram, or citalopram hydrobromide, is an antidepressant drug of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class, indicated for the treatment of depression, panic syndrome or obsessive compulsive disorder, for example, in adults.

This medicine can be found in pharmacies or drugstores, in the form of pills, with the trade names Cipramil, Procimax or Alcytam, for example, but it can also be found in its generic form under the designation “citalopram hydrobromide” and is sold only by prescription and withholding of prescription by the pharmacy.

The dose and duration of treatment with citalopram depend on the condition to be treated and on medical advice, and it is important not to stop using the drug on your own, as it can cause unwanted effects such as dizziness, anxiety, headache or mental confusion.


What is it for

Citalopram is indicated for the treatment of:

  • Depression;
  • Panic syndrome;
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Citalopram works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, a type of neurotransmitter, responsible for communication between neurons and regulation of mood, sleep and appetite and should always be indicated by the doctor evaluating the he alth conditions of individualized way.

How to take it

Citalopram should be taken orally, with a glass of water, once a day, always at the same time, before or after a meal.

Typical recommended doses depend on the condition being treated and include:

  • Depression: The normally recommended dose is 1 tablet of 20 mg per day. The dose may be increased by the physician to up to 40 mg per day according to the response to treatment;
  • Panic syndrome: The recommended starting dose is 10 mg daily for the first week, which may be increased by your doctor to 20 to 30 mg daily after treatment. first week of treatment. The maximum recommended dose is 40 mg per day, according to the response to treatment;
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder: the normally recommended dose is 1 tablet of 20 mg per day, which may be increased by the doctor to up to 40 mg per day according to the response to the medication. treatment.

Citalopram may take approximately 2 to 4 weeks of treatment to have the desired effect and changing doses or discontinuing treatment should be done according to the physician's judgment and advice.

Treatment with citalopram can last several months and, when it is necessary to discontinue the drug, it should only be done when indicated by the doctor, reducing the doses gradually.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that may occur during treatment with citalopram are nausea, diarrhea, constipation, loss of appetite, dry mouth, increased thirst, yawning, dizziness, ringing in the ears, tremors, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, drowsiness, increased sweating, decreased sexual desire, impotence, abnormal ejaculation, or difficulty having an orgasm.

It is important to tell the doctor immediately if the person has symptoms such as changes in mood or behavior, worsening depression or anxiety, panic attacks, difficulty sleeping or impulsiveness, irritation, agitation, aggression, restlessness, or thoughts of suicide.

Furthermore, although rare, citalopram can cause serotonin syndrome which can be perceived through symptoms such as muscle stiffness, uncontrollable movements, loss of motor coordination, agitation, hallucinations, fever, chills, excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heart palpitations or even loss of consciousness. In this case, seek medical help or the nearest emergency department immediately.

Who should not use

Citalopram should not be used by children or adolescents under the age of 18, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or by people who are allergic to citalopram or any other component of the tablet.

Furthermore, citalopram should not be used by people who use monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) drugs such as selegiline, moclobemide, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, nialamide, iproniazid or tranylcypromine, for example. In these cases, one should wait at least 14 days after stopping treatment with monoamine oxidase inhibitors before starting treatment with citalopram.

This drug should also not be used by people who are taking lithium, metoprolol, linezolid, sumatriptan, tramadol, cimetidine, mefloquine, bupropion, acetylsalicylic acid, or antiarrhythmic drugs.

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