October 2, 2014
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Drug Factsheets

 Health Home >> Medications 

Celexa

(citalopram)

DIN (Drug Identification Number)

02239607 Celexa 20 mg tablet
02239608 Celexa 40 mg tablet

How does Celexa work? What will it do for me?

Citalopram belongs to a group of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is used to treat depression. SSRIs improve depression by increasing the amount of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in certain areas of the brain, which in turn improves the ability of the brain to transmit messages from one nerve cell to another.

Although you may start feeling better within a few weeks of treatment, the full effects of the medication may not be evident until several weeks of treatment have passed.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use Celexa?

The usual recommended starting dose is 20 mg daily. Your doctor may increase the dose as appropriate, based on how well it is working for you and whether you are experiencing side effects. Continue to take the medication regularly, even if you don’t feel as though the medication is working. It may take several weeks to see a noticeable improvement in your mood.

Citalopram should be taken once daily either in the morning or evening, but at the same time every day. It should be swallowed whole with water and may be taken with food or on an empty stomach.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

Citalopram can cause withdrawal effects such as agitation, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and vomiting, if it is stopped suddenly. If it becomes necessary for you to stop taking citalopram, ask your doctor to advise you how best to gradually reduce the dose to avoid withdrawal effects.

It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.





What form(s) does Celexa come in?

10 mg
Each round, white, film-coated tablet, marked "CL" on one side, contains 10 mg citalopram (as citalopram hydrobromide). Nonmedicinal ingredients: copolyvidone glycerin, cornstarch, croscarmellose sodium, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol 400, and titanium dioxide.

20 mg
Each film-coated, white, oval, scored tablet, marked "C" and "N" symmetrically around the score, contains citalopram 20 mg (as citalopram HBr). Nonmedicinal ingredients: copolyvidone glycerin, cornstarch, croscarmellose sodium, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol 400, and titanium dioxide.

40 mg
Each film-coated, white, oval, scored tablet, marked "C" and "R" symmetrically around the score, contains citalopram 40 mg (as citalopram HBr). Nonmedicinal ingredients: copolyvidone glycerin, cornstarch, croscarmellose sodium, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol 400, and titanium dioxide.

Who should NOT take Celexa?

Do not take citalopram if you:

  • are allergic to citalopram or any ingredients of the medication
  • are taking pimozide (an antipsychotic medication)
  • have taken a type of medication known as an MAO inhibitor (e.g., phenelzine, tranylcypromine, moclobemide) within the past 2 weeks - do not start treatment with an MAO inhibitor until at least 2 weeks after discontinuing citalopram treatment
  • have a heart rhythm condition known as "long QT syndrome"

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Depression Symptom Checker Tool

The Depression Symptom Checker tool can help you learn about depression. Use this tool to create a list of your symptoms and rate how much the symptoms impact your life on a daily basis. The checklist is divided into 6 symptom categories that are associated with depression. You can also learn more about symptoms of depression here.

For each statement choose a number from 0 to 4 that describes the impact on your daily life, where 4 has the highest impact and 0 has no impact:

  • 0 = no impact on daily life/no symptoms
  • 1 = mild impact on daily life
  • 2 = moderate impact on daily life
  • 3 = severe impact on daily life
  • 4 = debilitating impact on daily life

It is important to remember that this is not a “score” but a way to help you communicate how much you feel the symptom impacts your daily life. When you finish you will be able to print out your symptoms and share this information with your doctor. Use the Doctor Discussion Guide to prepare for your doctor’s visit.

Rate how much the following symptoms apply to you.

1. Emotions

Depression can affect anyone at any age, although it most commonly appears between 15 and 45 years of age.

0 1 2 3 4
0 1 2 3 4
0 1 2 3 4
0 1 2 3 4

Visit your doctor with these results, when booking your appointment inform your doctor that you may need extra time to discuss these matters. Getting help for your depression can change your life. Don’t wait- depression is an illness that can, and should be treated.

Thoughts about death or suicide are common in depression, and it’s important to take such thoughts seriously. If you feel like giving up or as if you might hurt yourself, get help immediately: call your doctor, go to the emergency room or call 911.

This tool is adapted with permission from similar content found on www.depressionhurts.ca.


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