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Citalopram: uses, side effects and precautions

Citalopram: uses, side effects and precautions

November 3, 2022

Antidepressant drugs have gained special importance. Especially since the cases of depression and anxiety soared in recent years due to different factors, both social and individual

One of these drugs is citalopram , an antidepressant that increases serotonin levels and releases a large amount of analgesics in the person. Then we talk about its uses, side effects and what precautions should be taken into account by those who are going to start their treatment.

  • Related article: "Types of antidepressants: characteristics and effects"

What is citalopram?

The citalopram is an antidepressant drug that has been produced since 1989 . This drug, popularly known as Celexa, is included in the category of antidepressants Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).


This type of drug increases the amount of serotonin by preventing it from being recaptured. The main function of serotonin is to maintain harmony, balance and emotional well-being, which is essential when intervening in emotional disorders such as depressive disorders or in conditions with anxious symptoms.

Also, compared to another type of antidepressant, citalopram unloads large amounts of analgesic substances with an effect as strong as that of morphine. This has earned him fame as a very effective antidepressant.

  • Related article: "SSRI: types, functioning and effects of this antidepressant"

For what disorders is it effective?

Like many other antidepressants, citalopram is administered in a multitude of cases in which the person needs to achieve emotional stability. Specifically the list of disorders and diseases in which citalopram has proved to be of great help They are the following.


1. Depressive symptomatology

There are quite a few emotional conditions that include symptoms of depression in addition to the disease of depression as such.

Within these symptoms is included the feeling of irritability, grief, sadness and tears . The anhedonia or inability to enjoy those things that were previously satisfactory. In addition, the sensation of constant fatigue or alterations in food and sleep patterns are also typical symptoms of this type of disorders.

2. Social anxiety disorder

More popular by the name of social phobia, this type of disorder is distinguished because the person experiences a deep sense of fear and anxiety in one or several social situations in which you must interact with other people.

3. Panic disorder

Another type of anxiety disorder in which the administration of citalopram is recommended is panic disorder. At the patient experiences sensations of fear and panic imminent without there being a real stimulus that provokes them.


4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Another disorder with anxious symptoms is obsessive-compulsive disorder (TOC). In it the patient presents a series of intrusive thoughts that appear continuously and repeatedly and that cause feelings of worry and anxiety, and repetitive behaviors in order to calm these feelings.

  • Perhaps you are interested: "Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): what is it and how does it manifest?"

5. Huntington's disease

This disease, also known as Huntington's Korea , is a hereditary and neurodegenerative condition in which the person presents motor symptoms such as uncontrolled movements, coarseness and alteration of balance.

  • Related article: "This degenerative disease affects the areas of the brain involved in voluntary movement."

6. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

In premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), women experience symptoms associated with severe depression, irritability, anguish and nervousness before menstruation. These symptoms are very similar to those of pre-menstrual syndrome but much more intense.

How is it administered?

The use of this medication it must always be indicated by medical personnel , and it is essential to follow your instructions to the letter. A daily dose of 20 mg is usually recommended, which should be taken, if possible, either in the morning or at night. However, depending on the symptoms of the patient and the effects that the drug causes in it, it is possible that this dose increases to 60 mg per day.

Whatever the state or conditions of the patient, in none of the cases will he be able to alter the recommended dose at his own judgment . That is, you can not increase or decrease the dose, nor can you take it more often than indicated.

The first effects of citalopram on mood appear between 3 and 4 weeks after having started its consumption, so the patient should not stop taking it despite not feeling the effects immediately.

What are the side effects?

Citalopram involves a series of unwanted side effects that can cause a series of discomfort in the person.

These effects can be divided into non-serious side effects and serious side effects. In the event that the patient experiences any of the non-serious side effects repeatedly it is advisable that they inform their doctor to adjust the dose of citalopram.

While if you experience some of the symptoms that are listed in the list of serious side effects it is vital that you contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Not serious side effects

Among the most serious side effects are the following.

  • Gastric problems such as stomach pain, diarrhea or heartburn.
  • Sickness.
  • Vomiting
  • Alterations in appetite .
  • Decrease in weight
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscular weakness .
  • Tremors
  • Muscle and joint pain.
  • Oral dryness .
  • Alterations in desire or sexual performance.
  • Heavy bleeding during menstruation.

Serious side effects

The most serious side effects associated with this drug are the following.

  • Fever .
  • Feeling of suffocation.
  • Fainting.
  • Chest pain.
  • Alterations in the heart rhythm.
  • Hallucinations .
  • Vertigos
  • Hyperhidrosis or heavy sweating.
  • Sensation of confusion.
  • Coma.
  • Coordination problems .
  • Muscular numbness or muscle contractions.
  • Skin disorders such as hives, blisters, rashes and itching .
  • Problems swallowing
  • Inflammation in faces, throat, ankles and legs.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Recurrent headaches .
  • Bleeding or bruising for no apparent reason.
  • Lack of concentration and feeling of instability.
  • Convulsions

What precautions should be taken by those who consume it?

Those people who must start a treatment with citalopram you should inform your doctor about your allergies, other conditions or any special health condition in which the patient is located.

In addition, due to the effects and interference that may be caused, you must also inform about any medication, vitamin supplement or natural compound that the patient is consuming during the treatment.

As for the consumption of alcohol, this can aggravate the side effects of citalopram, so it is advisable not to consume any type of alcoholic beverage during the treatment.

Like other drugs in this category, citalopram usually causes drowsiness , so patients should avoid or take special precautions when driving or operating heavy machinery.

Finally, it has been shown that citalopram can cause negative effects in newborns if it is administered during the last months of pregnancy. Therefore the patient must inform if she is pregnant or if she intends to be pregnant, since the doctor must assess which medication is the best for both the mother's and the baby's health.


CITALOPRAM - Generic Name, Brand Names, How to use,Precautions, Side Effects (November 2022).


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