Citalopram Side Effects

What Is Citalopram?

citalopram side effectsCitalopram (also known as Cipramil or Celexa) is a drug used to control, diminish and treat the symptoms of major depression. In other words, it’s an anti-depressive drug. Citalopram is also off-label prescribed to ameliorate other conditions like panic disorder, anxiety attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Citalopram is also effective for premature ejaculation and hot flushes characteristic to menopause. However, it in some cases, premature ejaculation can be one of the citaloparm side effects. Also, this drug along with other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) have shown great results for diminishing post-stroke pathological crying.

As a general idea, citalopram is a drug that has direct effect on the serotonin hormone. Serotonin is the hormone of the pineal gland, known to regulate emotion, sleep, mood and apetite. Therefore, citalopram will have an impact on various segments of behavior, mood and apetite, hopefully improving the general psychologic condition of a patient. However, just like in case of any other existent drug, there are citalopram side effects.

Citalopram Side Effects

In general, since citalopram is a sedative, and has an important impact on the serotonin emissions in the body, one of the usual side effects of this drug is emotional flattening. This is caused by the decreasing dopamine levels and the increasing levels of serotonin.

The most common citalopram side effects are: nausea, insomnia or vivid dreaming, drowsiness, fatigue, excessive sweating, chills, diarrhea, frequent urination, dry mouth and excessive thirst. Most people on medication with this drug will experience at least a few of these rather minor side effects.

One of the primary citalopram side effects that should be head of the list, is sexual dysfunction. And this doesn’t stand only for citalopram, but for most of the SSRI drugs. The main sexual dysfunctions associated with the intake of citalopram is lack of sexual apetite, lack of interest in sex, genital anesthesia and anorgasmia. These adverse effects are usually reversible, but they may persist for up to a few months even after the medication with this drug has been completed.

There are, of course, rarer citalopram side effects. These include: vomiting, dilated pupils, headaches, dizziness, frequent mood changes, frequent modifications of blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia.

One of the less common side effects of citalopram is anxiety. Although this drug is prescribed to control anxiety, to some patients it may cause it. Also, one among the rare adverse effects of this drug are hallucinations, nightmares and convulsions.

Of course, just like almost any other drug, some patients may have an allergic reaction to citalopram. These usually are cutaneous reactions (rashes, itchiness), edema or in worst cases, anaphylaxis.

Lastly, citalopram is a drug that may cause suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior. That’s why, citalopram products commercialized in the U.S. have a black box warning for these products regarding this matter. And that’s why citalopram should not be prescribed to children or young adults, under the age of 24.

Citalopram Contraindications

Just like for most of the drugs, there are several contraindications for citalopram. First of all, citalopram should not be taken along with other monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Most of these drugs have an impact on the serotonine hormone in your body, causing it to spike. In conjunction with citalopram this may cause the serotonin syndrome, or to put it differently, serotonin “poisoning”.

There is a wide range of MAOI drugs, and they’re all infamous for their interactions with many other drugs. But they’re a class of antidepressant drugs which, in general, have to be prescribed by a physician. They will know which other antidepressants will interfere with citalopram and they will not prescribe other drugs if you’re already on citalopram, or viceversa. If this drug will be prescribed to you by a physician, you can be sure there will be a low chance for you to experience any of the major citalopram side effects.

Citalopram should not be associated with tryptophan or 5-HTP because the drug interaction may also lead to serotonin syndrome.

Most of the SSRI drugs, and this doesn’t exclude citalopram, can increase the risks of bleeding, depending on the patient. That’s why they shouldn’t be taken along with warfarin, anticoagulants, analgesic and antipyretic (anti-fever) drugs, not even with aspirin.

Drugs that slow or the effect of some of the hepatic enzymes, like cytochrome P450 and CYP 2C19 shouldn’t be coupled with citalopram either. These are the main enzymes that processes citalopram. And in case the effect of these enzymes and is reduced, this might lead to an increased blood level of citalopram, increasing the risk of QT interval delay, which may lead to heart complication. Drugs like Prilosec or Saint John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) extract are agents that interfere with these enzymes.

Citalopram is a C drug in the pregnancy category. Which means it shouldn’t be taken by pregnant or breast-feeding women (because it’s transferred into the milk) without consulting a physician first.


Before the final conclusions of this report, here’s a word or two regarding dosage and administration of with citalopram. This drug should not be taken in higher doese than 40 mg per day due to the fact that it may have a serious impact to the electrical activity or the heart. In case a patient has developed a certain tolerance to the drug, for a higher dosage they should certainly consult a physician.

Citalopram is best to be taken in one dose, in the morning or in the evening. Regarding its breakdown into your system, it’s not significant if it’s taken after or before a meal. However, if taken after a meal, it will diminish nausea.

Now that you know which are the citalopram side effects, what the drug does and what its interaction are, it’s time for a conclusion regarding this drug. You should not take this drug if:

  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding;
  • You are under 24;
  • You have any blood disorder;
  • You have a heart, liver or kidney disorder;
  • You have diabetes;
  • You have epilepsy;
  • You are on medication with MAOI drugs;
  • You are on self-treating with herbal extracts and various other complementary medicines;
  • You don’t feel any benefit whatsoever after the treatment, or you have experienced any dangerous or troublesome side effects;
  • You have suffered an allergic reaction to it.