Citalopram

Brand names of citalopram

  • Celexa

Citalopram is an anti-depressant medicine that belongs to the group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other drugs belong to this group include paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft). The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved this drug for use on humans in July 1998.

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As an anti-depressant drug, citalopram has an effect on the neurotransmitters, the chemicals employed by the nerves within the brain to send out signals to one another. It may be noted that neurotransmitters are produced as well as discharged by the nerves and subsequently they travel and bind themselves to nerves that are close by. Hence, neurotransmitters may be described as the mode of communication used by the brain. Several specialists are of the view that depression is caused by any disparity among the neurotransmitters.

Citalopram acts by thwarting the nerve cells from accepting one particular neurotransmitter, called serotonin, soon after it has been discharged by any nerve. As uptake is a vital means to get rid of the released neurotransmitters as well as putting an end on their actions on the nearby nerves, citalopram lessens the uptake, which, in turn, leads to additional free serotonin within the brain to invigorate the nerve cells.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking citalopram

Prior to beginning treatment with citalopram, it is essential to tell your physician regarding any other anti-depressant medication that you might be already taking, particularly if you are using Effexor, Desyrel, Lexapro, Cymbalta, Oleptro, Luvox, Prozac, Symbyax, Sarafem, Pexeva, Paxil, Zoloft or Viibryd. In addition, to ensure that your are able to use citalopram safely, you need to tell your physician if you have or have had any of these health conditions - liver and/ or kidney ailments; a bleeding or blood clotting disorder; epilepsy or seizures; heart failure, heart ailment, slow heartbeats, any disorder of the heart rhythm or any recent history of heart attack, bipolar disorder (manic depression) and/ or any history of suicidal thoughts or drug abuse. Also tell your physician if you have any individual or family history of Long QT syndrome.

Citalopram should not be take in conjunction with any of these drugs - linezolid (Zyvox), pimozide (Orap) or any monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), for instance, isocarboxazid (Marplan), furazolidone (Furoxone), rasagiline (Azilect), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate) or selegiline (Emsam, Eldepryl, Zelapar) - for it may interact with these and result in serious side effects.

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People, especially those below the age of 24 years, taking any anti-depressant medication are likely to have suicidal thoughts. Contact your physician immediately provided your condition deteriorates or you have thoughts regarding suicide during the initial weeks of being treated with any anti-depressant or when the dosage of your medicine is changed. In fact, the family members as well as other people nursing such patients also ought to be alert to any changes in the moods or symptoms of the patient. Besides, if you are taking any anti-depressant drug, you should visit your physician at expected intervals for check-ups during the initial 12 weeks of commencing the treatment.

In the event of any woman taking an anti-depressant and becoming pregnant during the treatment, she should immediately contact her physician for advice on what should be done next. It is worth mentioning here that provided any woman uses citalopram during her pregnancy, this drug has the potential to result in heart defects or grave problems related to the lungs in a new born. Nevertheless, if they stop taking the anti-depressant drug, they may also endure a relapse of depression. It is advisable that women should neither begin to take or stop taking citalopram during pregnancy without consulting their physician. It has been found that citalopram has the tendency to pass onto the breast milk and is likely to harm a nursing infant. Hence, it is advisable that breast-feeding women should never use citalopram.

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Usage

Citalopram belongs to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and is primarily used to cure depression. This medicine acts by assisting to re-establish the balance of a specific natural substance called serotonin within the brain. In addition, citalopram may possibly be used by physicians to cure additional mental disorders, for instance, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How to use citalopram

Before you start your treatment with citalopram or refill your medication every time, it is important that you carefully read the Medication Guide provided with the drug and, if available, also go through the Patient Information Leaflet given to you by your pharmacist. It is advisable that you talk to your physician or pharmacist in case you are unable to comprehend any topic or have any questions regarding the use of this medication.

Citalopram may be taken with or without food or as instructed by your physician. This medication is taken once every day - either in the morning or evening. In order to remember taking this drug, take citalopram at the same time every day. The dosage of citalopram depends on the age, medical condition of the patient, his/ her response to the treatment, findings of the laboratory tests as well as any other medication that the patient may already be taking for treating other conditions. Therefore, it is important that prior to using citalopram, you tell your physician and/ or pharmacist about all the prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbal products and dietary supplements you may be taking from before.

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The maximum daily dosage of citalopram is 40 mg. In case you are taking the liquid form of this drug, you should measure the dosage cautiously making use of a particular measuring spoon or device. It is important to note that you should never use a household spoon to measure your dose of liquid citalopram, as this may not give you the appropriate dose of the medication. Most likely your physician will begin treatment with a small dose of this medication and increase the dosage gradually with a view to lessen the possibilities of the side effects of this drug. Therefore, it is important that you should strictly follow your physician's instructions. It is advisable not to increase or decrease the dosage of this medication or take it for a longer period than what has been prescribed by your physician. Increasing or reducing the dosage will not help to improve your condition or cure you more rapidly. On the contrary, it may possibly increase the side effects of this drug.

In order to get the utmost benefit of using citalopram, it is important to take this on a regular basis. Remember, the benefits of this drug are not evident immediately, but over a period of two to four weeks. Moreover, it may take many weeks before you experience the utmost benefits of using this medication. Hence, even if you do not experience the benefits of using the drug during the initial weeks of treatment, continue using it. Never discontinue citalopram all of a sudden or without consulting your physician. When you need to stop taking this medication, your doctor will first lessen the dosage gradually to avoid occurrence of any withdrawal symptom.

People who have started treatment with citalopram may experience a variety of symptoms, which may include headache, exhaustion, mood swings, and changes in sleeping pattern as well as short-lived sensations like receiving an electric shock. Reducing the dosage gradually prior to discontinuing the medication will greatly help in avoiding these symptoms. Talk to your physician or pharmacist for more information on this topic. Consult your physician in case your condition does not improve, you continue to have depressing thoughts or your condition deteriorates further even after taking citalopram for about a month.

How citalopram works

Citalopram acts to augment the level of serotonin within the brain. It may be noted here that serotonin is a natural substance that is associated with the emotions, moods as well as the mental condition of a person.

Generally, anti-depressant drugs, including citalopram, work on the nerve cells within the brain. The brain comprises of many dissimilar chemical amalgams that are known as neurotransmitters, which actually work in the form of messengers between the nerve cells. In other words, they are the mode of communication of the nerve cells within the bran. Serotonin is also a neurotransmitter and performs a variety of functions.

When the nerve cells inside the brain release serotonin, this natural chemical acts to makes the mood lighter. However, when serotonin is reabsorbed (reuptake) by the nerve cells, it does not have any impact on our mood. It is generally believed that when we endure depression, the nerve cells within the brain may be releasing lesser amounts of serotonin.

All drugs classified as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work to thwart the nerve cells in the brain from reabsorbing serotonin. This, in turn, aids in extending the effect of the release of serotonin - lightening the mood. Working in this fashion, citalopram also facilitates in easing depression, fright and panic, while lightening up the mood.

The effects of taking citalopram are not evident right away, but it may possibly take anything between two and four weeks for one to experience the benefits of taking this SSRI drug. Hence, it is vital that you continue taking citalopram even if you do not experience its benefits during the initial few weeks of treatment. However, you should instantly get in touch with your physician if you continue to feel depressed or your condition deteriorates even after taking citalopram. You should also talk to your physician if you experience depressing thoughts or have suicidal thoughts during the initial weeks of taking this medicine.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
As citalopram as well as the herb St. John's wort may both work to augment serotonin, it is advisable that you should never take these two medications in conjunction. In addition, St. John's wort augments sensitivity to the sun. Also never combine citalopram with the herb ginseng, which may partially work in the form of a MAO inhibitor. People taking citalopram should also avoid some other herbs, including yohimbe, ma huang, kava kava and the Indian snakeroot.
Beverages:
Taking citalopram in combination with grapefruit juice may possibly result in augmented levels of blood.
Alcohol:
People taking citalopram should keep away from alcohol, as their combination may result in grave side effects.

Discontinuation

It is essential that you consult your physician prior to discontinuing with citalopram, or for that matter any drug. However, if you gradually lessen the dose of the medication before stopping it altogether, there is unlikely to be any withdrawal symptom.

Storage instructions

Citalopram should always be stored at room temperature and in a dark and dry place. Never store citalopram in your bathroom. In addition, all medications should be kept in such a place which is beyond the reach of children and pets. When you do not need a medication any longer or if it has gone beyond its expiry date, do not dispose it off by flushing it down the toilet or pouring in a drain, provided you have not been instructed otherwise. It is important to discard all medications safely and in a proper manner. You should talk to your pharmacist or any neighbourhood waste disposal company if you require more information regarding safe disposal of the expired medications.

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