Citalopram (By mouth)


Citalopram Hydrobromide (sye-TAL-oh-pram hye-droe-BROE-mide)

Treats depression. This medicine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

Brand Name(s)


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to citalopram, or if you are using pimozide (Orap®). You should not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor (such as Eldepryl®, Marplan®, Nardil®, or Parnate®) within the past 14 days.

How to Use This Medicine

Liquid, Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You may need to take this medicine for several weeks before you feel better. Keep taking the medicine as directed.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions if you are told to take this medicine at a specific time.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • This medicine should come with a Medication Guide. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Ask your pharmacist for the Medication Guide if you do not have one.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are using St John's wort, tryptophan, carbamazepine (Tegretol®), cimetidine (Tagamet®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), linezolid (Zyvox®), lithium (Eskalith®, Lithobid®), metoprolol (Lopressor®), omeprazole (Prilosec®), methadone (Dolophine®), levomethadyl (Orlaam®), or pentamidine (Nebupent®).
  • Tell your doctor if you are also using medicine for heart rhythm problems (such as amiodarone, disopyramide, procainamide, quinidine, sotalol, Betapace®, Cordarone®, Norpace®, or Procanbid®), other medicine for depression (such as amitriptyline, escitalopram, fluoxetine, imipramine, nortriptyline, sertraline, Elavil®, Cymbalta®, Effexor®, Lexapro®, Pristiq®), certain antibiotics (such as gatifloxacin, moxifloxacin, Avelox®), or medicine to treat mental illness (such as chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine, Compazine®, Mellaril®, Thorazine®).
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using an NSAID pain or arthritis medicine (such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil®, Aleve®, Celebrex®, Voltaren®), medicine to treat migraine headaches (such as sumatriptan, Frova®, Maxalt®, Relpax®, Zomig®), a blood thinner (such as warfarin, Coumadin®, Jantoven®), or a diuretic (water pill, such as hydrochlorothiazide [HCTZ], furosemide, or Lasix®).
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have kidney disease, liver disease, bleeding problems, congestive heart failure, recent heart attack, low magnesium, potassium, or sodium in the blood, or a history of mania, seizures, or drug abuse.
  • For some children, teenagers, and young adults, this medicine can increase thoughts of suicide. Tell your doctor right away if you start to feel more depressed and have thoughts about hurting yourself. Report any unusual thoughts or behaviors that trouble you, especially if they are new or get worse quickly. Make sure the doctor knows if you are easily upset, have trouble sleeping, have an unusual amount of energy, or start to act reckless. Also tell the doctor if you suddenly feel nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. Let the doctor know if you or anyone in your family has bipolar disorder (manic-depressive) or has tried to commit suicide.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you have any changes to your heart rhythm. You might feel dizzy or faint, or you might have a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat. Make sure your doctor knows if you or anyone in your family has ever had a heart rhythm problem such as QT prolongation or slow heartbeat.
  • This medicine may cause serious conditions such as serotonin syndrome and neuroleptic malignant syndrome when taken with certain other medicines. Check with your doctor before you take any other medicines.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.
  • This medicine may cause hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood). This is more common in elderly patients, those who are taking diuretic medicines for high blood pressure, or those who have decreased amounts of fluid in the body due to severe diarrhea or vomiting. Tell your doctor right away if you have confusion, headache, memory problems, trouble concentrating, weakness, or unsteadiness.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using this medicine. Be sure to keep all appointments.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Aggression, anxiety, anger, hostility
  • Anxiety, restlessness, fast heartbeat, fever, sweating, muscle spasms, twitching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • Chest pain, trouble breathing
  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat
  • Headache, trouble concentrating, memory problems, weakness, unsteadiness
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
  • Trouble sleeping, increased energy, racing thoughts
  • Severe confusion, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Unusual behavior, thoughts of hurting yourself or others
  • Unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Dry mouth
  • Mild nausea
  • Problems with sex
  • Sleepiness, drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last Reviewed on 06/12/2013

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

This page was last updated: June 18, 2013

Average rating (0)