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Citalopram 40mg Tablets

Active Ingredient:
citalopram hydrobromide
Rivopharm UK Ltd See contact details
ATC code: 
About Medicine
{healthcare_pro_orange} This information is for use by healthcare professionals
Last updated on emc: 21 Sep 2023
1. Name of the medicinal product

Citalopram 40mg Tablets.

2. Qualitative and quantitative composition

Each film-coated tablet contains 49.96mg of Citalopram hydrobromide equivalent to 40mg of Citalopram.

For full list of excipients, see 6.1

3. Pharmaceutical form

Film coated tablets.

Oval, biconvex, white colour, film coated tablets, scored on one side and with marking 40 on the other side.

4. Clinical particulars
4.1 Therapeutic indications

For treatment of depressive illness in the initial phase and as maintenance against potential relapse/recurrence.

Citalopram is also indicated in the treatment of panic disorder with or without agoraphobia.

4.2 Posology and method of administration



Citalopram should be administered as a single oral dose of 20 mg daily.

Dependent on individual patient response, the dose may be increased to a maximum of 40 mg daily.

In general improvement in patients starts after one week but may only become evident from the second week of therapy.

As with all antidepressant medicinal products, dosage should be reviewed and adjusted if necessary within 3 to 4 weeks of initiation of therapy and thereafter as judged clinically appropriate. Dosage adjustments should be made carefully on an individual patient basis, to maintain the patient at the lowest effective dose.

Patients with depression should be treated for a sufficient period of at least 6 months to ensure that they are free from symptoms.

Panic Disorder


A single oral dose of 10 mg is recommended for the first week before increasing the dose to 20 mg daily. Dependent on individual patient response, the dose may be increased to a maximum of 40 mg daily.

A low initial starting dose is recommended to minimise the potential worsening of panic symptoms, which is generally recognised to occur early in the treatment of this disorder. Dosage adjustments should be made carefully on an individual patient basis, to maintain the patients at the lowest effective dose.

Patients with panic disorder should be treated for a sufficient period to ensure that they are free from symptoms. This period may be several months or even longer.

Elderly patients (> 65 years of age)

For elderly patients the dose should be decreased to half of the recommended dose, e.g. 10-20 mg daily. The recommended maximum dose for the elderly is 20 mg

Children and adolescents (< 18 years of age)

Citalopram should not be used in the treatment of children and adolescents under the age of 18 years (see section 4.4).

Reduced hepatic function

An initial dose of 10 mg daily for the first two weeks of treatment is recommended in patients with mild or moderate hepatic impairment. Depending on individual patient response, the dose may be increased to a maximum of 20 mg daily. Caution and extra careful dose titration is advised in patients with severely reduced hepatic function (see section 5.2).

Dosage should be restricted to the lower end of the dose range.

Reduced renal function

Dosage adjustment is not necessary in cases of mild or moderate renal impairment. No information is available in cases of severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance <20 mL / min).

Poor metabolisers of CYP2C19

An initial dose of 10 mg daily during the first two weeks of treatment is recommended for patients who are known to be poor metabolisers with respect to CYP2C19. The dose may be increased to a maximum of 20 mg daily depending on individual patient response, (see section 5.2).

Withdrawal symptoms seen on discontinuation of citalopram

Abrupt discontinuation should be avoided. When stopping treatment with citalopram the dose should be gradually reduced over a period of at least one to two weeks in order to reduce the risk of withdrawal reactions (see section 4.4 Special Warnings and Special Precautions for Use and section 4.8 Undesirable Effects). If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose, but at a more gradual rate.

Method of administration

Citalopram tablets are administered as a single daily dose. Citalopram tablets can be taken any time of the day without regard to food intake.

4.3 Contraindications

Hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients (see section 6.1).

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors( MAOIs):

Some case presented with features resembling serotonin syndrome.

Symptoms of a drug interaction with a MAOI include: hyperthermia, rigidity, myoclonus, autonomic instability with possible rapid fluctuations of vital signs, mental status changes that include confusion, irritability and extreme agitation progressing to delirium and coma.

Cases of serious and sometimes fatal reactions have been reported in patients receiving an SSRI in combination with monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), including the selective MAOI selegiline and the reversible MAOI (RIMA), moclobemide and in patients who have recently discontinued an SSRI and have been started on a MAOI.

Citalopram should not be given to patients receivingMonoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) including selegiline, in daily doses exceeding 10 mg/day.

Citalopram should not be given for fourteen days after discontinuation of an irreversible MAOI or for the time specified after discontinuation of a reversible MAOI (RIMA) as stated in the prescribing text of the RIMA.

MAOIs should not be introduced for seven days after discontinuation of citalopram (see section 4.5).

Citalopram is contraindicated in combination with linezolid unless there are facilities for close observation and monitoring of blood pressure (see section 4.5).

Citalopram is contraindicated in patients with known QT-interval prolongation or congenital long QT syndrome.

Citalopram is contraindicated together with medicinal products that are known to prolong the QT-interval (see section 4.5).

Citalopram should not be used concomitantly with pimozide (see also section 4.5).

4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use

Suicide/suicidal thoughts or clinical worsening

Depression is associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts, self harm and suicide (suicide-related events). This risk persists until significant remission occurs. As improvement may not occur during the first few weeks or more of treatment, patients should be closely monitored until such improvement occurs. It is general clinical experience that the risk of suicide may increase in the early stages of recovery.

Other psychiatric conditions for which Citalopram is prescribed can also be associated with an increased risk of suicide-related events. In addition, these conditions may be co-morbid with major depressive disorder. The same precautions observed when treating patients with major depressive disorder should therefore be observed when treating patients with other psychiatric disorders.

Patients with a history of suicide-related events, or those exhibiting a significant degree of suicidal ideation prior to commencement of treatment are known to be at greater risk of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, and should receive careful monitoring during treatment. A meta-analysis of placebo-controlled clinical trials of antidepressant drugs in adult patients with psychiatric disorders showed an increased risk of suicidal behaviour with antidepressants compared to placebo in patients less than 25 years old.

Close supervision of patients and in particular those at high risk should accompany drug therapy especially in early treatment and following dose changes. Patients (and caregivers of patients) should be alerted about the need to monitor for any clinical worsening, suicidal behaviour or thoughts and unusual changes in behaviour and to seek medical advice immediately if these symptoms present.

Use in children and adolescents under 18 years of age

Citalopram should not be used in the treatment of children and adolescents under the age of 18 years. Suicide-related behaviours (suicide attempt and suicidal thoughts) and hostility (predominantly aggression, oppositional behaviour and anger) were more frequently observed in clinical trials among children and adolescents treated with antidepressants compared to those treated with placebo. If, based on clinical need, a decision to treat is nevertheless taken; the patient should be carefully monitored for the appearance of suicidal symptoms.

In addition, long-term safety data in children and adolescents concerning growth, maturation and cognitive and behavioural development are lacking.

Elderly patients

Caution should be used in the treatment of elderly patients (see section 4.2).

Reduced kidney and liver function

Caution should be used in the treatment of patients with reduced kidney and liver function (see section 4.2).

Paradoxical anxiety

Some patients with panic disorder may experience intensified anxiety symptoms at the start of treatment with antidepressants. This paradoxical reaction usually subsides within the first two weeks of starting treatment. A low starting dose is advised to reduce the likelihood of a paradoxical anxiogenic effect (see section 4.2).


Hyponatraemia, probably due to inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), has been reported as a rare adverse reaction with the use of SSRIs and generally reverses on discontinuation of therapy. Elderly female patients seem to be at particularly high risk.

Akathisia/psychomotor restlessness

The use of SSRIs/SNRIs has been associated with the development of akathisia, characterised by a subjectively unpleasant or distressing restlessness and need to move often accompanied by an inability to sit or stand still. This is most likely to occur within the first few weeks of treatment. In patients who develop these symptoms, increasing the dose may be detrimental.


In patients with manic-depressive illness a change towards the manic phase may occur. Should the patient enter a manic phase citalopram should be discontinued.


Seizures are a potential risk with antidepressant drugs. Citalopram should be discontinued in any patient who develops seizures. Citalopram should be avoided in patients with unstable epilepsy and patients with controlled epilepsy should be carefully monitored. Citalopram should be discontinued if there is an increase in seizure frequency.


In patients with diabetes, treatment with an SSRI may alter glycaemic control, possibly due to improvement of depressive symptoms. Insulin and or oral hypoglycaemic dosage may need to be adjusted.


As with other SSRIs, citalopram can cause mydriasis and should be used with caution in patients with narrow angle glaucoma or history of glaucoma.

Serotonin syndrome

In rare cases, serotonin syndrome has been reported in patients using SSRIs. A combination of symptoms such as agitation, tremor, myoclonus and hyperthermia may indicate the development of this condition (see section 4.5). Treatment with citalopram should be discontinued immediately and symptomatic treatment initiated.

Serotonergic medicines

Citalopram should not be used concomitantly with medicinal products with serotonergic effects such as sumatriptan or other triptans, opioids such as buprenorphine and tramadol, oxitriptan and tryptophan.


There have been reports of prolonged bleeding time and /or bleeding abnormalities such as ecchymoses and purpura, gynaecological haemorrhages, gastrointestinal bleeding and other cutaneous or mucous bleedings with SSRIs (see section 4.8). The risk of gastrointestinal haemorrhage may be increased in elderly people during treatment with SSRIs. Caution is advised in patients taking SSRIs, particularly with concomitant use of active substances known to affect platelet function (e.g. atypical antipsychotics and phenothiazines, most tricyclic antidepressants, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other active substances that can increase the risk of haemorrhage, as well as in patients with a history of bleeding disorders (see section 4.5).

SSRIs/SNRIs may increase the risk of postpartum haemorrhage (see sections 4.6, 4.8).

ECT (electroconvulsive therapy)

There is limited clinical experience of concurrent administration of SSRIs and ECT, therefore caution is advisable.

Reversible, selective MAO-A inhibitors

The combination of citalopram with MAO-A inhibitors is generally not recommended due to the risk of onset of a serotonin syndrome (see section 4.5).

For information on concomitant treatment with non-selective, irreversible MAO-inhibitors see section 4.5.

St. John's wort

Undesirable effects may be more common during concomitant use of citalopram and herbal preparations containing St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum). Therefore citalopram and St John's wort preparations should not be taken concomitantly (see section 4.5).

Experience with citalopram has not revealed any clinically relevant interactions with neuroleptics. However, as with other SSRIs, the possibility of a pharmacodynamic interaction cannot be excluded.

Consideration should be given to factors which may affect the disposition of a minor metabolite of citalopram (didemethylcitalopram) since increased levels of this metabolite could theoretically prolong the QTc interval in susceptible individuals. However, in ECG monitoring of 2500 patients in clinical trials, including 277 patients with pre-existing cardiac conditions, no clinically significant changes were noted.

Withdrawal symptoms seen on discontinuation of SSRI treatment

Withdrawal symptoms when treatment is discontinued are common, particularly if discontinuation is abrupt (see section 4.8 Undesirable effects). In a recurrence prevention clinical trials with citalopram, adverse events after discontinuation of active treatment were seen in 40% of patients versus 20% in patients continuing citalopram.

The risk of withdrawal symptoms may be dependent on several factors including the duration and dose of therapy and the rate of dose reduction. Dizziness, sensory disturbances (including paraesthesia), sleep disturbances (including insomnia and intense dreams), agitation or anxiety, nausea and/or vomiting, tremor, confusion, sweating, headache, diarrhoea, palpitations, emotional instability, irritability, and visual disturbances are the most commonly reported reactions. Generally these symptoms are mild to moderate, however, in some patients they may be severe in intensity.

They usually occur within the first few days of discontinuing treatment, but there have been very rare reports of such symptoms in patients who have inadvertently missed a dose. Generally these symptoms are self-limiting and usually resolve within 2 weeks, though in some individuals they may be prolonged (2-3 months or more). It is therefore advised that citalopram should be gradually tapered when discontinuing treatment over a period of several weeks or months, according to the patient's needs (see “ Withdrawal symptoms seen on discontinuation of citalopram” , Section 4.2 Posology and Method of Administration).

Sexual dysfunction

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)/serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) may cause symptoms of sexual dysfunction (see section 4.8). There have been reports of long-lasting sexual dysfunction where the symptoms have continued despite discontinuation of SSRIs/SNRI.


Treatment of psychotic patients with depressive episodes may increase psychotic symptoms.

QT interval prolongation

Citalopram has been found to cause a dose-dependent prolongation of the QT-interval. Cases of QT interval prolongation and ventricular arrhythmia including torsade de pointes have been reported during the post-marketing period, predominantly in patients of female gender, with hypokalemia, or with pre-existing QT prolongation or other cardiac diseases (see sections 4.3, 4.5, 4.8, 4.9 and 5.1).

Caution is advised in patients with significant bradycardia; or in patients with recent acute myocardial infarction or uncompensated heart failure.

Electrolyte disturbances such as hypokalaemia and hypomagnesaemia increase the risk for malignant arrhythmias and should be corrected before treatment with citalopram is started.

If patients with stable cardiac disease are treated, an ECG review should be considered before treatment is started.

ECG monitoring may be advisable in case of overdose or conditions of altered metabolism with increased peak levels, e.g. liver impairment.

If signs of cardiac arrhythmia occur during treatment with citalopram, the treatment should be withdrawn and an ECG should be performed.


Citalopram tablets contain a small amount of glycerol. At high doses glycerol can be harmful and can cause headache, stomach ache and diarrhea.

The tablets contain lactose monohydrate. Patients with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption should not receive this medicine.

4.5 Interaction with other medicinal products and other forms of interaction

Pharmacodynamic interactions

At the pharmacodynamic level cases of serotonin syndrome with citalopram and moclobemide and buspirone have been reported.

Contraindicated combinations


The simultaneous use of citalopram and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) can result in severe undesirable effects, including serotonin syndrome (see section 4.3).

Cases of serious and sometimes fatal reactions have been reported in patients receiving an SSRI in combination with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), including the irreversible MAOI selegiline and the reversible MAOIs linezolid and moclobemide and in patients who have recently discontinued an SSRI and have been started on a MAOI.

Some cases presented with features resembling serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of an active substance interaction with a MAOI include: agitation, tremor, myoclonus, and hyperthermia.

QT interval prolongation

Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies between citalopram and other medicinal products that prolong the QT interval have not been performed. An additive effect of citalopram and these medicinal products cannot be excluded. Therefore, co-administration of citalopram with medicinal products that prolong the QT interval, such as Class IA and III antiarrhythmics, antipsychotics (e.g. fentiazine derivatives, pimozide, haloperidol), tricyclic antidepressants , certain antimicrobial agents (e.g. sparfloxacin, moxifloxacin, erythromycin IV, pentamidine, anti-malarial treatment particularly halofantrine), certain antihistamines (astemizole, mizolastine) etc., is contraindicated.


Co-administration of a single dose of pimozide 2 mg to subjects treated with racemic citalopram 40 mg/day for 11 days caused an increase in AUC and Cmax of pimozide, although not consistently throughout the study. The co-administration of pimozide and citalopram resulted in a mean increase in the QTc interval of approximately 10 msec. Due to the interaction noted at a low dose of pimozide, concomitant administration of citalopram and pimozide is contraindicated.

Combinations requiring precaution for use

Selegiline (selective MAO-B inhibitor)

A pharmacokinetic / pharmacodynamic interaction study with concomitantly administered citalopram (20 mg daily) and selegiline (10 mg daily) (a selective MAO B inhibitor) demonstrated no clinically relevant interactions. The concomitant use of citalopram and selegiline (in doses above 10 mg daily) is not recommended.

Serotonergic medicinal products

Lithium & tryptophan

No pharmacodynamic interactions have been found in clinical studies in which citalopram has been given concomitantly with lithium. However there are have been reports of enhanced effects when SSRIs have been given with lithium or tryptophan and therefore the concomitant use of citalopram with these medicinal products should be undertaken with caution. Routine monitoring of lithium levels should be continued as usual.

Co administration with serotonergic medicinal products (e.g. opioids such as buprenorphine and tramadol, sumatriptan) may lead to enhancement of 5-HT associated effects.

Until further information is available, the simultaneous use of citalopram and 5-HT agonists, such as sumatriptan and other triptans, is not recommended (see section 4.4).

St. John's wort

Dynamic interactions between SSRIs and herbal remedy St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) can occur, resulting in an increase in undesirable effects (see section 4.4). Pharmacokinetic interactions have not been investigated.


Caution is warranted for patients who are being treated simultaneously with anticoagulants, medicinal products that affect the platelet function, such as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetylsalicylic acid, dipyridamole, and ticlopidine or other medicines (e.g. atypical antipsychotics, phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants) that can increase the risk of haemorrhage (see section 4.4).

Oral anticoagulants enhance haemorrhagic risk; monitoring of the coagulation parameters should be more frequent.

ECT (electroconvusive therapy)

There are no clinical studies establishing the risks or benefits of the combined use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and citalopram (see section 4.4).


No pharmacodynamic or pharmacokinetic interactions have been demonstrated between citalopram and alcohol. The combination of citalopram and alcohol is not advisable.

Medicinal products inducing hypokalaemia/hypomagnesaemia

Caution is warranted for concomitant use of hypokalaemia- / hypomagnesaemia-inducing drugs as they, like citalopram, potentially prolong the QT interval.

Medicinal products lowering the seizure threshold

SSRIs can lower the seizure threshold. Caution is advised when concomitantly using other medicinal products capable of lowering the seizure threshold (e.g. antidepressants [tricyclics, SSRIs], neuroleptics [phenothiazines, thioxanthenes and butyrophenones]), mefloquine, bupropion and tramadol).

Desipramine, imipramine

In a pharmacokinetic study no affect was demonstrated on either citalopram or imipramine levels, although the level of desipramine, the primary metabolite of imipramine, was increased. When desipramine is combined with citalopram, an increase of the desipramine plasma concentration has been observed. A reduction of the desipramine dose may be needed.


Experience with citalopram has not revealed any clinically relevant interactions with neuroleptics. However, as with other SSRIs, the possibility of a pharmacodynamic interaction cannot be excluded.

No pharmacodynamic interactions have been noted in clinical studies in which citalopram has been given concomitantly with benzodiazepines, antihistamines, antihypertensive drugs, beta-blockers and other cardiovascular drugs.

Pharmacokinetic interactions

Biotransformation of citalopram to demethylcitalopram is mediated by CYP2C19 (approx. 38%), CYP3A4 (approx. 31%) and CYP2D6 (approx. 31%) isozymes of the cytochrome P450 system. The fact that citalopram is metabolised by more than one CYP means that inhibition of its biotransformation is less likely as inhibition of one enzyme may be compensated by another. Unlike some other SSRIs, citalopram is only a weak inhibitor of this important enzyme system which is involved in the metabolism of many drugs (including antiarrhythmics, neuroleptics, beta-blockers, TCAs and some SSRIs). Protein binding is relatively low (<80%). Therefore co-administration of citalopram with other medicinal products in clinical practice has very low likelihood of producing pharmacokinetic medicinal product interactions.


The absorption and other pharmacokinetic properties of citalopram have not been reported to be affected by food.

Influence of other medicinal products on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram

Co-administration with ketoconazole (potent CYP3A4 inhibitor) did not change the pharmacokinetics of citalopram.

A pharmacokinetic interaction study of lithium and citalopram did not reveal any pharmacokinetic interactions (see also above).


Cimetidine (potent CYP2D6, 3A4 and 1A2 inhibitor) caused a moderate increase in the average steady state levels of citalopram. Caution is advised when administering citalopram in combination with cimetidine. Dose adjustment may be warranted.

Co-administration of escitalopram (the active enantiomer of citalopram) with omeprazole 30 mg once daily (a CYP2C19 inhibitor) resulted in moderate (approximately 50%) increase in the plasma concentrations of escitalopram. Thus, caution should be exercised when used concomitantly with CYP2C19 inhibitors (e.g. omeprazole, esomeprazole, fluconazole, fluvoxamine, lansoprazole, ticlopidine). A reduction in the dose of citalopram may be necessary based on monitoring of undesirable effects during concomitant treatment.


Escitalopram (the active enantiomer of citalopram) is an inhibitor of the enzyme CYP2D6. Caution is recommended when citalopram is co-administered with medicinal products that are mainly metabolised by this enzyme, and that have a narrow therapeutic index, e.g. flecainide, propafenone and metoprolol (when used in cardiac failure), or some CNS acting medicinal products that are mainly metabolised by CYP2D6, e.g. antidepressants such as desipramine, clomipramine and nortriptyline or antipsychotics like risperidone, thioridazine and haloperidol. Dosage adjustment may be warranted. Co-administration with metoprolol resulted in a twofold increase in the plasma levels of metoprolol, but did not statistically significant increase the effect of metoprolol on the blood pressure and cardiac rhythm.

Effects of citalopram on other medicinal products

A pharmacokinetic / pharmacodynamic interaction study with concomitant administration of citalopram and metoprolol (a CYP2D6 substrate) showed a twofold increase in metoprolol concentrations, but no statistically significant increase in the effect of metoprolol on blood pressure and heart rate in healthy volunteers.

Citalopram and demethylcitalopram are negligible inhibitors of CYP2C9, CYP2E1 and CYP3A4, and only weak inhibitors of CYP1A2, CYP2C19 and CYP2D6 as compared to other SSRIs established as significant inhibitors.

Levomepromazine, digoxin, carbamazepine

No change or only very small changes of clinical importance were observed when citalopram was given with CYP1A2 substrates (clozapine and theophylline), CYP2C9 (warfarin), CYP2C19 (imipramine and mephenytoin), CYP2D6 (sparteine, imipramine, amitriptyline, risperidone) and CYP3A4 (warfarin, carbamazepine (and its metabolite carbamazepine epoxid) and triazolam).

No pharmacokinetic interaction was observed between citalopram and levomepromazine, or digoxin, (indicating that citalopram neither induces nor inhibits P-glycoprotein).

4.6 Fertility, pregnancy and lactation


A large amount of data on pregnant women (more than 2500 exposed outcomes) indicate no malformative foeto / neonatal toxicity. Citalopram can be used during pregnancy if clinically needed, taking into account the aspects mentioned below.

Neonates should be observed if maternal use of citalopram continues into the later stages of pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester. Abrupt discontinuation should be avoided during pregnancy.

The following symptoms may occur in the neonates after maternal SSRI/SNRI use in later stages of pregnancy: respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnoea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycaemia, hypertonia, hypotonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, lethargy, constant crying, somnolence and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms could be due to either serotonergic effects or discontinuation symptoms. In a majority of instances the complications begin immediately or soon (<24 hours) after delivery.

Epidemiological data have suggested that the use of SSRIs in pregnancy, particularly in late pregnancy, may increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn (PPHN). The observed risk was approximately 5 cases per 1000 pregnancies. In the general population 1 to 2 cases of PPHN per 1000 pregnancies occur.

Observational data indicate an increased risk (less than 2-fold) of postpartum haemorrhage following SSRI/SNRI exposure within the month prior to birth (see sections 4.4, 4.8).


Citalopram is excreted into breast milk. It is estimated that the suckling infant will receive about 5% of the weight related maternal daily dose (in mg/kg). No or only minor events have been observed in the infants. However, the existing information is insufficient for assessment of the risk to the child.

Caution is recommended. If treatment with citalopram is considered necessary, discontinuation of breast feeding should be considered.

4.7 Effects on ability to drive and use machines

Citalopram has minor or moderate influence on the ability to drive and use machines.

Patients who are prescribed psychotropic medication may be expected to have some impairment of general attention and concentration either due to the illness itself and psychoactive medicinal products can reduce the ability to make judgements and to react to emergencies. Patients should be informed of these effects and be warned that their ability to drive a car or operate machinery could be affected.

4.8 Undesirable effects

Adverse effects observed with citalopram are in general mild and transient. They are most frequent during the first one or two weeks of treatment and usually attenuate subsequently. The adverse reactions are presented at the MedDRA Preferred Term Level.

For the following reactions a dose-response was discovered: Sweating increased, dry mouth, insomnia, somnolence, diarrhoea, nausea and fatigue.

The table shows the percentage of adverse drug reactions associated with SSRIs and/or citalopram seen in either ≥ 1% of patients in double-blind placebo-controlled trials or in the post-marketing period. Frequencies are defined as: very common (≥ 1/10); common (≥ 1/100, <1/10); uncommon (≥ 1/1000, <1/100); rare (≥ 1/10000, <1/1000); very rare (<1/10000), not known (cannot be estimated from available data).



Preferred term

Blood and lymphatic disorders

Not Known


Immune system disorders

Not Known

Hypersensitivity, anaphylactic reaction

Endocrine disorders

Not Known

Inappropriate ADH secretion, hyperprolactinaemia*

Metabolism and nutrition disorders


Appetite decreased,, weight decreased


Increased appetite, weight increased



Not Known


Psychiatric disorders


Agitation, libido decreased, anxiety, nervousness, confusional state, abnormal orgasm (female), abnormal dreams


Aggression, depersonalization, hallucination, mania

Not Known

Panic attack, bruxism, restlessness, suicidal ideation, suicidal behaviour1



Nervous system disorders

Very common

Somnolence, insomnia


Tremor, paraesthesia, dizziness, disturbance in attention




Convulsion grand mal, dyskinesia, taste disturbance

Not Known

Convulsions, serotonin syndrome, extrapyramidal disorder, akathisia, movement disorder

Eye disorders


Mydriasis (which may lead to acute narrow angle glaucoma), see section 4.4 Special warnings and precautions for use)

Not Known

Visual disturbance

Ear and labyrinth disorders



Cardiac disorders


Bradycardia, tachycardia

Not Known

QT-prolongation, ventricular arrhythmia including torsade de pointes

Vascular disorders



Not Known

Orthostatic hypotension

Respiratory thoracic and mediastinal disorders



Not Known


Gastrointestinal disorders

Very common

Dry mouth, nausea


Diarrhoea, vomiting, constipation

Not Known

Gastrointestinal haemorrhage (including rectal haemorrhage)

Hepatobiliary disorders



Not Known

Liver function test abnormal

Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders

Very common

Sweating increased




Urticaria, alopecia, rash, purpura, photosensitivity reaction

Not Known

Ecchymosis, angioedemas

Musculoskeletal, connective tissue and bone disorders


Myalgia, arthralgia

Renal and urinary disorders


Urinary retention

Not Known


Reproductive system and breast disorders


Impotence, ejaculation disorder, ejaculation failure,


Female: Menorrhagia

Not Known

Female: Metrorrhagia, postpartum haemorrhage*

Male: Priapism


General disorders and administration site conditions







* This event has been reported for the therapeutic class of SSRIs/SNRIs (see sections 4.4, 4.6, 5.1).

Number of patients: citalopram / placebo = 1346 / 545

1 Cases of suicidal ideation and suicidal behaviours have been reported during citalopram therapy or early after treatment discontinuation (see section 4.4).

Cases of QT-prolongation and ventricular arrhythmia including torsade de pointes have been reported during the post-marketing period, predominantly in patients of female gender, with hypokalaemia, or with pre-existing QT prolongation or other cardiac diseases (see sections 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.9 and 5.1).

The following additional adverse events have also been reported in clinical trials:

Very common: Headache, asthenia, sleep disorder.

Common: Migraine, palpitation, taste perversion, impaired concentration, amnesia, anorexia, apathy, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, flatulence, increased salivations, rhinitis.

Rare: Increased libido, coughing, malaise.

Class effects

Epidemiological studies, mainly conducted in patients 50 years of age and older, show an increased risk of bone fractures in patients receiving SSRIs and TCAs. The mechanism leading to this risk is unknown.

Withdrawal symptoms seen on discontinuation of SSRI treatment

Discontinuation of citalopram (particularly when abrupt) commonly leads to withdrawal symptoms. Dizziness, sensory disturbances (including paraesthesia), sleep disturbances (including insomnia and intense dreams), agitation or anxiety, nausea and/or vomiting, tremor, confusion, sweating, headache , diarrhoea, palpitations, emotional instability, irritability, and visual disturbances are the most commonly reported reactions. Generally these events are mild to moderate and are self-limiting, however, in some patients they may be severe and/or prolonged. It is therefore advised that when citalopram treatment is no longer required, gradual discontinuation by dose tapering should be carried out (see section 4.2 Posology and Method of Administration and section 4.4 Special Warnings and Special Precautions for use).

Some unwanted effects are likely linked to the very nature of the depressive illness: “ switch effect” : transition from depression to hypomanic or manic excitement and suicidal risk upon initiation of treatment.

Reactivation of delirium in psychotic patients.

In patients with panic attacks, increase of the trouble upon initiation of treatment.

4.9 Overdose


Comprehensive clinical data on citalopram overdose are limited and many cases involve concomitant overdoses of other drugs/alcohol. Fatal cases of citalopram overdose have been reported with citalopram alone; however, the majority of fatal cases have involved overdose with concomitant medications.

Fatal dose is not known. Patients have survived ingestion of more than 2 g citalopram.

The effects may be potentiated by alcohol taken at the same time.

Potential interaction with TCAs, MAOIs and other SSRIs. Post marketing reports of drug overdoses involving citalopram have included 12 fatalities, 10 in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol and 2 with citalopram alone (3920mg and 2800mg), as well as non-fatal overdoses of unto 6000mg.


The following symptoms have been seen in reported overdose of citalopram: convulsion, tachycardia, somnolence, QT prolongation, coma, vomiting, tremor, hypotension, cardiac arrest, nausea, serotonin syndrome, agitation, bradycardia, dizziness, bundle branch block, QRS prolongation, hypertension, mydriasis, torsade de pointes, stupor, sweating, cyanosis, hyperventilation, hyperpyrexia, and atrial and ventricular arrhythmia.

In more rare cases, observed symptoms included amnesia and confusion.

ECG changes including nodal rhythm and one possible case of Torsades de pointes, prolonged QT intervals and wide QRS complexes may occur. Fatalities have been reported.

Prolonged bradycardia with severe hypotension and syncope has also been reported.

Rarely, features of the "serotonin syndrome" may occur in severe poisoning. This includes alteration of mental status, neuromuscular hyperactivity and autonomic instability. There may be hyperpyrexia and elevation of serum creatine kinase. Rhabdomyolysis is rare.


There is no specific antidote to citalopram.

Treatment should be symptomatic and supportive and include the maintenance of a clear airway and monitoring of ECG and vital signs until stable. ECG monitoring is advisable in case of overdose in patients with congestive heart failure/bradyarrhythmias, in patients using concomitant medications that prolong the QT interval, or in patients with altered metabolism, e.g. liver impairment.

Consider oral activated charcoal in adults and children who have ingested more than 5 mg/kg body weight within 1 hour. Activated charcoal given ½ hour after ingestion of citalopram has been shown to reduce absorption by 50%.

Osmotically working laxative (such as sodium sulphate) and stomach evacuation should be considered.

If consciousness is impaired the patient should be intubated.

Control convulsions with intravenous diazepam if they are frequent or prolonged

Management should be symptomatic and supportive and include the maintenance of a clear airway and monitoring of cardiac and vital signs until stable.

Due to the large volume of distribution of citalopram, forced diuresis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit.

In managing over dosage, consider the possibility of multiple drug involvement. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose.

5. Pharmacological properties
5.1 Pharmacodynamic properties

Pharmacotherapeutic group: antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

ATC-code: N 06 AB 04

Mechanism of action

The mechanism of action of citalopram HBr as an antidepressant is presumed to be linked to potentiation of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system resulting from its inhibition of CNS neuronal reuptake of serotonin (5 HT).

Biochemical and behavioural studies have shown that citalopram is a potent inhibitor of the serotonin (5-HT)-uptake. Tolerance to the inhibition of 5-HT-uptake is not induced by long-term treatment with citalopram.

Citalopram is a very Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), with no, or minimal, effect on noradrenaline (NA), dopamine (DA) and gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) uptake.

Tolerance to the inhibition of 5 HT uptake is not induced by long term (14 day) treatment of rats with citalopram. Citalopram is a racemic mixture (50/50), and the inhibition of 5 HT reuptake by citalopram is primarily due to the (S)-enantiomer.

In contrast to many tricyclic antidepressants and some of the newer SSRIs, citalopram has no or very low affinity for a series of receptors including 5-HT 1A, 5-HT2, DA D1 and D2 receptors, α 1-, α 2-, β -adrenoceptors, histamine H1, muscarine cholinergic, benzodiazepine, and opioid receptors. A series of functional in vitro tests in isolated organs as well as functional in vivo tests have confirmed the lack of receptor affinity.

This absence of effects on receptors could explain why citalopram produces fewer of the traditional side effects such as dry mouth, bladder and gut disturbance, blurred vision, sedation, cardiotoxicity and orthostatic hypotension.

The main metabolites of citalopram are all SSRIs although their potency and selectivity ratios are lower than those of citalopram. However, the selectivity ratios of the metabolites are higher than those of many of the newer SSRIs. The metabolites do not contribute to the overall antidepressant effect.

Pharmacodynamic effects

Suppression of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is considered a predictor of antidepressant activity. Like tricyclic antidepressants, other SSRI's and MAO inhibitors, citalopram suppresses REM-sleep and increases deep slow-wave sleep.

Although citalopram does not bind to opioid receptors it potentiates the anti-nociceptive effect of commonly used opioid analgesics. There was potentiation of d-amphetamine-induced hyperactivity following administration of citalopram.

In humans citalopram does not impair cognitive (intellectual function) and psychomotor performance and has no or minimal sedative properties, either alone or in combination with alcohol.

Citalopram did not reduce saliva flow in a single dose study in human volunteers and in none of the studies in healthy volunteers did citalopram have significant influence on cardiovascular parameters.

Citalopram has no effect on the serum levels of growth hormone. Citalopram like other SSRIs may increase plasma prolactin, an effect secondary to the prolactin stimulating role of secretion.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled ECG study in healthy subjects, the change from baseline in QTc (Fridericia-correction) was 7.5 (90%CI 5.9-9.1) msec at the 20 mg/day dose and 16.7 (90%CI 15.0-18.4) msec at the 60 mg day/dose (see sections 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.8 and 4.9).

Dose response

In the fixed dose studies there is a flat dose response curve, providing no suggestion of advantage in terms of efficacy for using higher than the recommended doses. However, it is clinical experience that up-titrating the dose might be beneficial for some patients.

5.2 Pharmacokinetic properties


Absorption is almost complete and independent of food intake (T maxaverage/mean 3.8 hours). Oral bioavailability is about 80%. Citalopram, a highly lipophilic molecule, is well absorbed from the gut. There is accumulation of the drug during repeated dosing, however the mean steady-state plasma concentrations are proportional to the dose between 10 and 60 mg, with a high interindividual variability; this finding indicates linear kinetics.


The apparent volume of distribution (Vd)β is about 12.3 L/kg. The plasma protein binding is below 80% for citalopram and its main metabolites.

Citalopram is 80% protein bound, somewhat less than other SSRIs, therefore it is less likely to be involved in drug interactions resulting from protein binding displacement. Citalopram crosses the blood-brain barrier, this is probably mediated by a carrier mechanism, but no active efflux systems appear to be involved and there is no stereo specificity in the brain penetration.


Citalopram undergoes an intense biotransformation through first-pass hepatic metabolism. Citalopram is metabolized in the liver by 2 N-demethylation steps, to the active demethylcitalopram (DCT) via CYP2C19 and 3A4, and to, didemethylcitalopram(DDCT) via CYP2D6, citalopram-N-oxide and an inactive deaminated propionic acid derivative. All the active metabolites are also SSRIs, although weaker than the parent compound. Unchanged citalopram is the predominant compound in plasma. These metabolites can be further conjugated as glucuronides.

The impact of metabolizer status on Citalopram metabolism is considered to be clinically insignificant.

In human brain the local cerebral metabolism of Citalopram occurred mainly through mitochondrial monoamine oxidases A and B and not, as in the liver through cytochromes P450.


The elimination half-life (T½ β ) is about 1.5 days and the systemic citalopram plasma clearance (Cls) is about 0.33 L/min, and oral plasma clearance (Cl oral) is about 0.41 L/min. This long half-life allows the drug to be administered once daily.

Citalopram is excreted mainly via the liver (85%) and the remainder (15%) via the kidneys. About 12% of the daily dose is excreted in urine as unchanged citalopram. Hepatic (residual) clearance is about 0.35 L/min and renal clearance about 0.068 L/min.

Citalopram, 12% as DCT, 1.5% as DDCT and 4, 3% as conjugated propionic acid derivative; more than 65% of the dose was unaccounted for, suggesting significant fecal elimination and/or metabolism via pathways other than demethylation and oxidation.

However, when radioactive 14C-Citalopram was used, the urinary excretion appeared to be higher: healthy volunteers, received 40 mg Citalopram as an oral solution and urine and faeces were collected during 17 days; 85% of the radioactivity were recovered in the urine and 10% in the faeces; in the urine the relative amounts of Citalopram and metabolites were as follows: Citalopram glucuronide 14%, DDCT glucuronide: 6% and glucuronide of propionic acid metabolite:12% (Dalgaard et al.19%).

In healthy volunteers given Citalopram 40mg/day orally for 21 days: t1/2 was definitely higher for R-Citalopram and metabolites than for their S-counterparts (47 and 35th for R-and S- Citalopram respectively; total oral clearance was higher for S-Citalopram, essentially due to non renal clearance; the S-enantiomers of Citalopram, DCT and DDCT were eliminated faster than their antipodes; thus, the enantiospecificity was apparently more related to clearance than to distributional mechanisms. Citalopram is excreted into human breast milk; the milk/breast ratio is # 1, 50; in this condition the dose recovered by the infant would be 1, 8% of the weight adjusted maternal dose.

The kinetics are linear. Steady state plasma levels are achieved in 1-2 weeks. Average concentrations of 250 nmol/L (100-500 nmol/L) are achieved at a daily dose of 40 mg. There is no clear relationship between citalopram plasma levels and therapeutic response or side effects.

Elderly patients (65 years)

Longer half-lives and decreased clearance values due to a reduced rate of metabolism have been demonstrated in elderly patients.

In elderly subjects compared to young subjects, the elimination process was reduced: plasma AUC augmented by 23-30%, elimination, half-life was prolonged by 50 to 150%; the systemic clearance fell from 24 to 5-18 L/h; the DCT/Citalopram ratio was significantly decreased.

Reduced hepatic function

Citalopram is eliminated more slowly in patients with reduced hepatic function. The half-life of citalopram is about twice as long and steady state citalopram concentrations at a given dose will be about twice as high as in patients with normal liver function.

In patients with hepatic impairment, the oral clearance of Citalopram was decreased by 37%, the t1/2 was doubled, and there was not modification of Cmax.

Reduced renal function

Citalopram is eliminated more slowly in patients with mild to moderate reduction of renal function, without any major impact on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram. At present no information is available for treatment of patients with severely reduced renal function (creatinine clearance <20 mL/min).

In combination with imipramine, there can be a 50% increase in AUC of imipramine metabolite; desipramine. Combined treatment with clomipramine may result in increased plasma level of Citalopram.

5.3 Preclinical safety data

Animal data have shown that citalopram induces a reduction of fertility index and pregnancy index, reduction in number in implantation and abnormal sperm at exposure well in excess of human exposure.

Citalopram has low acute toxicity. According to the results of acute toxicity, a safety margin was calculated as the minimal dose affecting ECG/maximal therapeutic human dose: this ration was > 33; comparatively it was 0, 3 for amitryptyline, 2, 4 for imipramine and 4, 3 for clomipramine.

Sub acute or chronic toxicity

In chronic toxicity studies there were no findings of concern for the therapeutic use of citalopram. In rats that have been treated with Citalopram, there was a dose-dependent fatty infiltration in the liver of male rats only.

In a three months oral toxicity study in dogs of either sex, no hepatotoxicity was observed.

Complementary experiences were performed in rats. Fatty acid liver infiltration was enhanced in male rats by enzymatic induction, indicating that hepatotoxic effect is probably caused by a metabolite or intermediate which is formed in toxic amounts during the first hepatic hepatic passage. However no such effects were observed in female rats.


Citalopram is not teratogenic in rat or rabbit.

Based on data from reproduction toxicity studies (segment I, II and III) there is no reason to have special concern for the use of citalopram in women of child-bearing potential. Citalopram has no mutagenic or carcinogenic potential.

6. Pharmaceutical particulars
6.1 List of excipients

Maize Starch

Lactose Monohydrate

Croscarmellose sodium



Magnesium Stearate

Microcrystalline Cellulose

Film coating:-

Hypromellose type E5

Macrogol 400

Titanium Dioxide E171

6.2 Incompatibilities

Not applicable.

6.3 Shelf life

3 years.

6.4 Special precautions for storage

No special precautions for storage. Store in the original package.

6.5 Nature and contents of container

PVC/aluminum foil blister packs containing 28 (2 x14) tablets.

The blisters are packed in a carton with a leaflet.

6.6 Special precautions for disposal and other handling

No special requirements.

7. Marketing authorisation holder

Rivopharm UK Ltd

100 Bishopsgate



United Kingdom

8. Marketing authorisation number(s)

PL 33155/0035

9. Date of first authorisation/renewal of the authorisation


10. Date of revision of the text


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