Neonates exposed to citalopram and other SSRIs or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), late in the third trimester, have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications can arise immediately upon delivery. Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs and SNRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome. It should be noted that, in some cases, the clinical picture is consistent with serotonin syndrome (see WARNINGS: Serotonin Syndrome).
Infants exposed to SSRIs in pregnancy may have an increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN occurs in 1-2 per 1,000 live births in the general population and is associated with substantial neonatal morbidity and mortality. Several recent epidemiologic studies suggest a positive statistical association between SSRI use (including citalopram) in pregnancy and PPHN. Other studies do not show a significant statistical association.
Physicians should also note the results of a prospective longitudinal study of 201 pregnant women with a history of major depression, who were either on antidepressants or had received antidepressants less than 12 weeks prior to their last menstrual period, and were in remission. Women who discontinued antidepressant medication during pregnancy showed a significant increase in relapse of their major depression compared to those women who remained on antidepressant medication throughout pregnancy.
When treating a pregnant woman with citalopram, the physician should carefully consider both the potential risks of taking an SSRl, along with the established benefits of treating depression with an antidepressant. This decision can only be made on a case by case basis (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
As has been found to occur with many other drugs, citalopram is excreted in human breast milk. There have been two reports of infants experiencing excessive somnolence, decreased feeding, and weight loss in association with breastfeeding from a citalopram-treated mother; in one case, the infant was reported to recover completely upon discontinuation of citalopram by its mother and in the second case, no follow-up information was available. The decision whether to continue or discontinue either nursing or citalopram therapy should take into account the risks of citalopram exposure for the infant and the benefits of citalopram treatment for the mother.
Safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population have not been established (see BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS—Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk). Two placebo-controlled trials in 407 pediatric patients with MDD have been conducted with citalopram, and the data were not sufficient to support a claim for use in pediatric patients. Anyone considering the use of citalopram in a child or adolescent must balance the potential risks with the clinical need.
Decreased appetite and weight loss have been observed in association with the use of SSRIs. Consequently, regular monitoring of weight and growth should be performed in children and adolescents treated with citalopram.
Of 4422 patients in clinical studies of citalopram, 1357 were 60 and over, 1034 were 65 and over, and 457 were 75 and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. Most elderly patients treated with citalopram in clinical trials received daily doses between 20 and 40 mg (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).
SSRIs and SNRIs, including citalopram, have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event (see PRECAUTIONS, Hyponatremia).
In two pharmacokinetic studies, citalopram AUC was increased by 23% and 30%, respectively, in subjects ≥ 60 years of age as compared to younger subjects, and its half-life was increased by 30% and 50%, respectively (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).
The premarketing development program for citalopram included citalopram exposures in patients and/or normal subjects from 3 different groups of studies: 429 normal subjects in clinical pharmacology/pharmacokinetic studies; 4422 exposures from patients in controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials, corresponding to approximately 1370 patient-exposure years. There were, in addition, over 19,000 exposures from mostly open-label, European postmarketing studies. The conditions and duration of treatment with citalopram varied greatly and included (in overlapping categories) open-label and double-blind studies, inpatient and outpatient studies, fixed-dose and dose-titration studies, and short-term and long-term exposure. Adverse reactions were assessed by collecting adverse events, results of physical examinations, vital signs, weights, laboratory analyses, ECGs, and results of ophthalmologic examinations.
Adverse events during exposure were obtained primarily by general inquiry and recorded by clinical investigators using terminology of their own choosing. Consequently, it is not possible to provide a meaningful estimate of the proportion of individuals experiencing adverse events without first grouping similar types of events into a smaller number of standardized event categories. In the tables and tabulations that follow, standard World Health Organization (WHO) terminology has been used to classify reported adverse events.
The stated frequencies of adverse events represent the proportion of individuals who experienced, at least once, a treatment-emergent adverse event of the type listed. An event was considered treatment-emergent if it occurred for the first time or worsened while receiving therapy following baseline evaluation.
Among 1063 depressed patients who received citalopram at doses ranging from 10 to 80 mg/day in placebo-controlled trials of up to 6 weeks in duration, 16% discontinued treatment due to an adverse event, as compared to 8% of 446 patients receiving placebo. The adverse events associated with discontinuation and considered drug-related (i.e., associated with discontinuation in at least 1% of citalopram-treated patients at a rate at least twice that of placebo) are shown in TABLE 2. It should be noted that one patient can report more than one reason for discontinuation and be counted more than once in this table.
|Adverse Events Associated with Discontinuation of Treatment in Short - Term , Placebo - Controlled , Depression Trials|
|Percentage of Patients Discontinuing Due to Adverse Event|
|( N = 1063 )||( N = 446 )|
|Body System / Adverse Event|
|Central and Peripheral Nervous System Disorders|
Table 3 enumerates the incidence, rounded to the nearest percent, of treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred among 1063 depressed patients who received citalopram at doses ranging from 10 to 80 mg/day in placebo-controlled trials of up to 6 weeks in duration. Events included are those occurring in 2% or more of patients treated with citalopram and for which the incidence in patients treated with citalopram was greater than the incidence in placebo-treated patients.
The prescriber should be aware that these figures cannot be used to predict the incidence of adverse events in the course of usual medical practice where patient characteristics and other factors differ from those which prevailed in the clinical trials. Similarly, the cited frequencies cannot be compared with figures obtained from other clinical investigations involving different treatments, uses, and investigators. The cited figures, however, do provide the prescribing physician with some basis for estimating the relative contribution of drug and non-drug factors to the adverse event incidence rate in the population studied.
The only commonly observed adverse event that occurred in citalopram patients with an incidence of 5% or greater and at least twice the incidence in placebo patients was ejaculation disorder (primarily ejaculatory delay) in male patients (see TABLE 3).
* Events reported by at least 2% of patients treated with citalopram are reported, except for the following events which had an incidence on placebo ≥ citalopram: headache, asthenia, dizziness, constipation, palpitation, vision abnormal, sleep disorder, nervousness, pharyngitis, micturition disorder, back pain.
1 Denominator used was for females only (N=638 citalopram; N=252 placebo).
2 Primarily ejaculatory delay.
3 Denominator used was for males only (N=425 citalopram; N=194 placebo).
|Treatment - Emergent Adverse Events :|
|Incidence in Placebo - Controlled Clinical Trials *|
|( Percentage of Patients Reporting Event )|
|Body System / Adverse Event||Citalopram HBr||Placebo|
|( N = 1063 )||( N = 446 )|
|Autonomic Nervous System Disorders|
|Central & Peripheral Nervous System Disorders|
|Musculoskeletal System Disorders|
|Respiratory System Disorders|
|Upper Respiratory Tract Infection||5%||4%|
|Ejaculation Disorder 2 , 3||6%||1%|
The potential relationship between the dose of citalopram administered and the incidence of adverse events was examined in a fixed-dose study in depressed patients receiving placebo or citalopram 10, 20, 40, and 60 mg. Jonckheere’s trend test revealed a positive dose response (p<0.05) for the following adverse events: fatigue, impotence, insomnia, sweating increased, somnolence, and yawning.
Male and Female Sexual Dysfunction with SSRIs
Although changes in sexual desire, sexual performance, and sexual satisfaction often occur as manifestations of a psychiatric disorder, they may also be a consequence of pharmacologic treatment. In particular, some evidence suggests that SSRIs can cause such untoward sexual experiences.
Reliable estimates of the incidence and severity of untoward experiences involving sexual desire, performance, and satisfaction are difficult to obtain, however, in part because patients and physicians may be reluctant to discuss them. Accordingly, estimates of the incidence of untoward sexual experience and performance cited in product labeling, are likely to underestimate their actual incidence.
The table below displays the incidence of sexual side effects reported by at least 2% of patients taking citalopram in a pool of placebo-controlled clinical trials in patients with depression.
|(425 males)||(194 males)|
|(mostly ejaculatory delay)||(males only)||(males only)|
|(males only)||(males only)|
|(males only)||(males only)|
There are no adequately designed studies examining sexual dysfunction with citalopram treatment.
Priapism has been reported with all SSRIs.
While it is difficult to know the precise risk of sexual dysfunction associated with the use of SSRIs, physicians should routinely inquire about such possible side effects.
Vital Sign Changes
Citalopram and placebo groups were compared with respect to (1) mean change from baseline in vital signs (pulse, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure) and (2) the incidence of patients meeting criteria for potentially clinically significant changes from baseline in these variables. These analyses did not reveal any clinically important changes in vital signs associated with citalopram treatment. In addition, a comparison of supine and standing vital sign measures for citalopram and placebo treatments indicated that citalopram treatment is not associated with orthostatic changes.
Patients treated with citalopram in controlled trials experienced a weight loss of about 0.5 kg compared to no change for placebo patients.
Citalopram and placebo groups were compared with respect to (1) mean change from baseline in various serum chemistry, hematology, and urinalysis variables, and (2) the incidence of patients meeting criteria for potentially clinically significant changes from baseline in these variables. These analyses revealed no clinically important changes in laboratory test parameters associated with citalopram treatment.
In a thorough QT study, citalopram was found to be associated with a dose-dependent increase in the QTc interval (see WARNINGS — QT-Prolongation and Torsade de Pointes).
Electrocardiograms from citalopram (N=802) and placebo (N=241) groups were compared with respect to outliers defined as subjects with QTc changes over 60 msec from baseline or absolute values over 500 msec post-dose, and subjects with heart rate increases to over 100 bpm or decreases to less than 50 bpm with a 25% change from baseline (tachycardic or bradycardic outliers, respectively). In the citalopram group 1.9% of the patients had a change from baseline in QTcF >60 msec compared to 1.2% of the patients in the placebo group. None of the patients in the placebo group had a post-dose QTcF >500 msec compared to 0.5% of the patients in the citalopram group. The incidence of tachycardic outliers was 0.5% in the citalopram group and 0.4% in the placebo group. The incidence of bradycardic outliers was 0.9% in the citalopram group and 0.4% in the placebo group.
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