August 13, 2022

Side effects, dosage and more

Citalopram oral tablets can cause mild and serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the main side effects that can occur while taking citalopram. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the possible side effects of citalopram oral tablets, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you advice on how to deal with side effects that may be worrying or bothersome.

To note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks the side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to tell the FDA about a side effect you have had with citalopram oral tablets, you can do so via MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects * of oral citalopram tablets may include:

* This is a partial list of the mild side effects of citalopram. For more information on other mild side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or consult the prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Most of these side effects can go away within days or weeks. But if they get worse or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects of oral citalopram tablets are not common, but they can occur. Call your doctor immediately if you experience serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms are life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.
?? Citalopram has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the FDA’s most serious warning. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients to the effects of drugs that can be harmful.

Details of side effects

Here are some details about some side effects that oral citalopram tablets can cause.

Increased risk of suicidal thoughts or actions in young adults

Citalopram has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the FDA’s most serious warning. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients to the effects of drugs that can be harmful.

Medicines used to treat depression, including citalopram, may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in people 24 years of age and under. This is more likely to happen when a person starts taking the medicine and each time the dose is adjusted.

Citalopram has not been studied in people under the age of 18, so children should not use this medicine.

If you notice any changes in your thoughts or behavior while taking citalopram, contact your doctor immediately. If you are having suicidal thoughts or trying to harm yourself, see a doctor immediately.

Weight gain and weight loss

Weight gain was not a reported side effect in people taking citalopram while clinical tests.

But you may experience minor weight loss while taking citalopram. In clinical trials, people taking citalopram lost about 0.5 kilograms (1 pound) compared to people taking placebo (treatment without an active drug).

If you have any concerns about weight changes while taking citalopram, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can suggest ways to maintain a healthy weight for you.

Sexual side effects

You may experience sexual side effects while taking citalopram. But these were not commonly reported by people taking the drug in clinical tests.

In these trials, people taking citalopram reported the following sexual side effects:

* Sex and gender exist on spectra. The use of the terms “male” and “female” in this article refers to the sex assigned at birth.

It’s important to keep in mind that mental health issues, including depression, can also cause these symptoms.

If you have any sexual side effects while taking citalopram, talk to your doctor. They may recommend treatment for any side effects you experience. Or they may suggest that you stop taking citalopram and try another medicine for your condition.

Long QT syndrome

Although it is rare, taking citalopram can cause long QT syndrome. This is a disturbance in the electrical activity of your heart. There have been reports of this side effect by people taking citalopram in clinical tests.

The QT interval is part of your heart rate (the pattern by which your heart beats). With long QT syndrome, this interval becomes longer than normal (often called QT prolongation). Long QT syndrome can cause arrhythmias, which are problems with the heart rhythm. These arrhythmias can be sudden and potentially dangerous.

Some people may be at greater risk for this side effect, especially those who:

* CYP2C19 is an enzyme (protein) that the body uses to metabolize (break down) certain drugs, such as citalopram. In people who are poor metabolisers of CYP2C19, this enzyme does not work as well as it should.
† For more information, see “Interactions with Citalopram Oral Tablet” below.

Prevent or treat this side effect

Before you start taking citalopram, make sure your doctor is aware of all the medicines you are taking and any medical conditions you may have. They may prescribe a different dose of citalopram based on your medical history. * They may also recommend that you try another medicine to treat your depression.

Depending on your medical history and what other medications you are taking, your doctor may monitor your heart health using an electrocardiogram (ECG). They may also order blood tests to check your blood levels of electrolytes, including potassium and magnesium. Too low electrolyte levels may increase your risk for long QT syndrome while taking citalopram.

Long QT syndrome often does not cause symptoms. But if you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately:

These could be symptoms of a heart rhythm problem, which can be serious. Your doctor may want to monitor your heart in person to check for any problems with the heart rhythm.

* For more information on the factors that determine whether you can take citalopram, see the “Precautions for using oral citalopram tablet” section below.

Allergic reaction

As with most medicines, some people may have an allergic reaction after taking oral citalopram tablets.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • itchy skin
  • itching
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

A more serious allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under the skin, usually on the eyelids, lips, hands or feet
  • swelling of the tongue, mouth, or throat
  • difficulty in breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to citalopram, as the reaction could get serious. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms are life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency.


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