It is estimated that over 30 million patients have been treated with citalopram since market introduction. Although no causal relationship to citalopram treatment has been found, the following adverse events have been reported to be temporally associated with citalopram treatment, and have not been described elsewhere in labeling: acute renal failure, akathisia, allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, angioedema, choreoathetosis, chest pain, delirium, dyskinesia, ecchymosis, epidermal necrolysis, erythema multiforme, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, angle closure glaucoma, grand mal convulsions, hemolytic anemia, hepatic necrosis, myoclonus, nystagmus, pancreatitis, priapism, prolactinemia, prothrombin decreased, QT prolonged, rhabdomyolysis, spontaneous abortion, thrombocytopenia, thrombosis, ventricular arrhythmia, torsade de pointes, and withdrawal syndrome.
Citalopram is not a controlled substance.
Animal studies suggest that the abuse liability of citalopram is low. Citalopram has not been systematically studied in humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance, or physical dependence. The premarketing clinical experience with citalopram did not reveal any drug-seeking behavior. However, these observations were not systematic and it is not possible to predict, on the basis of this limited experience, the extent to which a CNS-active drug will be misused, diverted, and/or abused once marketed. Consequently, physicians should carefully evaluate citalopram patients for history of drug abuse and follow such patients closely, observing them for signs of misuse or abuse (e.g., development of tolerance, incrementations of dose, drug-seeking behavior).
In clinical trials of citalopram, there were reports of citalopram overdose, including overdoses of up to 2000 mg, with no associated fatalities. During the postmarketing evaluation of citalopram, citalopram overdoses, including overdoses of up to 6000 mg, have been reported. As with other SSRIs, a fatal outcome in a patient who has taken an overdose of citalopram has been rarely reported.
Symptoms most often accompanying citalopram overdose, alone or in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol, included dizziness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, tremor, somnolence, and sinus tachycardia. In more rare cases, observed symptoms included amnesia, confusion, coma, convulsions, hyperventilation, cyanosis, rhabdomyolysis, and ECG changes (including QTc prolongation, nodal rhythm, ventricular arrhythmia, and very rare cases of torsade de pointes). Acute renal failure has been very rarely reported accompanying overdose.
Establish and maintain an airway to ensure adequate ventilation and oxygenation. Gastric evacuation by lavage and use of activated charcoal should be considered. Careful observation and cardiac and vital sign monitoring are recommended, along with general symptomatic and supportive care. Due to the large volume of distribution of citalopram, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit. There are no specific antidotes for citalopram.
In managing overdosage, 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.
Citalopram tablets should be administered once daily, in the morning or evening, with or without food.
Citalopram tablets should be administered at an initial dose of 20 mg once daily, with an increase to a maximum dose of 40 mg/day at an interval of no less than one week. Doses above 40 mg/day are not recommended due to the risk of QT prolongation. Additionally, the only study pertinent to dose response for effectiveness did not demonstrate an advantage for the 60 mg/day dose over the 40 mg/day dose.
20 mg/day is the maximum recommended dose for patients who are greater than 60 years of age, patients with hepatic impairment, and for CYP2C19 poor metabolizers or those patients taking cimetidine or another CYP2C19 inhibitor (see WARNINGS).
No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with mild or moderate renal impairment. Citalopram tablets should be used with caution in patients with severe renal impairment.
Neonates exposed to citalopram tablets and other SSRIs or SNRIs, late in the third trimester, have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding (see PRECAUTIONS). When treating pregnant women with citalopram tablets during the third trimester, the physician should carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of treatment.
It is generally agreed that acute episodes of depression require several months or longer of sustained pharmacologic therapy. Systematic evaluation of citalopram tablets in two studies have shown that its antidepressant efficacy is maintained for periods of up to 24 weeks following 6 or 8 weeks of initial treatment (32 weeks total). In one study, patients were assigned randomly to placebo or to the same dose of citalopram tablets (20 to 60 mg/day) during maintenance treatment as they had received during the acute stabilization phase, while in the other study, patients were assigned randomly to continuation of citalopram tablets 20 or 40 mg/day, or placebo, for maintenance treatment. In the latter study, the rates of relapse to depression were similar for the two dose groups (see Clinical Trials under CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Based on these limited data, it is not known whether the dose of citalopram needed to maintain euthymia is identical to the dose needed to induce remission. If adverse reactions are bothersome, a decrease in dose to 20 mg/day can be considered.
Symptoms associated with discontinuation of citalopram tablets and other SSRIs and SNRIs have been reported (see PRECAUTIONS). Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. 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.
Switching a Patient To or From a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) Intended to Treat Psychiatric Disorders
At least 14 days should elapse between discontinuation of an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders and initiation of therapy with citalopram tablets. Conversely, at least 14 days should be allowed after stopping citalopram tablets before starting an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
Do not start citalopram tablets in a patient who is being treated with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue because there is an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. In a patient who requires more urgent treatment of a psychiatric condition, other interventions, including hospitalization, should be considered (see CONTRAINDICATIONS).
In some cases, a patient already receiving citalopram tablets therapy may require urgent treatment with linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. If acceptable alternatives to linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are not available and the potential benefits of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue treatment are judged to outweigh the risks of serotonin syndrome in a particular patient, citalopram tablets should be stopped promptly, and linezolid or intravenous methylene blue can be administered. The patient should be monitored for symptoms of serotonin syndrome for 2 weeks or until 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue, whichever comes first. Therapy with citalopram tablets may be resumed 24 hours after the last dose of linezolid or intravenous methylene blue (see WARNINGS).
The risk of administering methylene blue by non-intravenous routes (such as oral tablets or by local injection) or in intravenous doses much lower than 1 mg/kg with citalopram tablets is unclear. The clinician should, nevertheless, be aware of the possibility of emergent symptoms of serotonin syndrome with such use (see WARNINGS).
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