Pharmacy Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide) is a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) indicated for the treatment of depression. Celexa is available in generic form. Common side effects of Celexa include
- upset stomach,
- decreased sexual desire,
- difficulty having an orgasm,
- sleep problems (insomnia),
- dry mouth,
- increased sweating or urination,
- weight changes, and cold symptoms such as stuffy nose,
- sneezing, sore throat, or
The recommended dose of Celexa should be administered at an initial dose of 20 mg once daily, with an increase to a maximum dose of 40 mg/day. Dose increase should usually occur in increments of 20 mg at intervals of no less than one week. Celexa may interact with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing (such as sleeping pills, narcotics, muscle relaxers, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) other antidepressants, lithium, St. John's wort, tacrolimus, tramadol, L-tryptophan, arsenic trioxide, vandetanib, antibiotics, anti-malaria medications, blood thinners, heart rhythm medications, HIV or AIDS medications, medicine to prevent or treat nausea and vomiting, medicines to treat psychiatric disorders, migraine headache medicines, seizure medications or stomach acid reducers. Tell your doctor all medications and supplements you use. Safe use of Celexa for use by children has not been established. When treating pregnant women with Celexa during the third trimester, the physician should carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of treatment. The physician may consider tapering Celexa in the third trimester. Celexa passes into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Breastfeeding while using Celexa is not recommended.
Our Celexa Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;
- headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeats;
- severe nervous system reaction--very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, feeling like you might pass out;
- high levels of serotonin in the body--agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting; or
- low levels of sodium in the body--headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, feeling unsteady.
Common side effects may include:
- problems with memory or concentration;
- headache, drowsiness;
- dry mouth, increased sweating;
- numbness or tingling;
- increased appetite, nausea, diarrhea, gas;
- fast heartbeats, feeling shaky;
- sleep problems (insomnia), feeling tired;
- cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat;
- changes in weight; or
- difficulty having an orgasm.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Read the entire detailed patient monograph for Celexa (Citalopram Hydrobromide)
The premarketing development program for Celexa 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 Celexa varied greatly and included (in overlapping categories) open-label and double-blind studies, inpatient and outpatient studies, fixed-dose and dose-titration studies, and shortterm 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 treatmentemergent if it occurred for the first time or worsened while receiving therapy following baseline evaluation.
Adverse Findings Observed In Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials
Adverse Events Associated With Discontinuation Of Treatment
Among 1063 depressed patients who received Celexa 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 Celexa-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.
TABLE 2 : Adverse Events Associated with
Discontinuation of Treatment in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled, Depression
|Percentage of Patients Discontinuing Due to Adverse Event|
|Body Svstem/Adverse Event|
|Central and Peripheral Nervous System Disorders|
Adverse Events Occurring at an Incidence of 2% or More Among Celexa -Treated Patients
Table 3 enumerates the incidence, rounded to the nearest percent, of treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred among 1063 depressed patients who received Celexa 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 Celexa and for which the incidence in patients treated with Celexa 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 Celexa 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).
TABLE 3 : Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events :
Incidence in Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials *
|Body System/Adverse Event||(Percentage of Patients Reporting Event)|
|Autonomic Nervous System Disorders|
|Central & Peripheral Nervous System Disorders|
|Musculoskeletal System Disorders|
|Respiratory System Disorders|
|Upper Respiratory Tract Infection||5%||4%|
|*Events reported by at least 2% of patients treated with
Celexa are reported, except for the following events which had an incidence on
placebo ≥ Celexa: headache, asthenia, dizziness, constipation,
palpitation, vision abnormal, sleep disorder, nervousness, pharyngitis,
micturition disorder, back pain.
1Denominator used was for females only (N=638 Celexa; N=252 placebo).
2Primarily ejaculatory delay.
3Denominator used was for males only (N=4 25 Celexa; N=194 placebo).
Dose Dependency Of Adverse Events
The potential relationship between the dose of Celexa administered and the incidence of adverse events was examined in a fixed-dose study in depressed patients receiving placebo or Celexa 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 Celexa in a pool of placebo-controlled clinical trials in patients with depression.
|Abnormal Ejaculation (mostly ejaculatory delay)||6.1%
In female depressed patients receiving Celexa, the reported incidence of decreased libido and anorgasmia was 1.3% (n=638 females) and 1.1% (n=252 females), respectively.
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
Celexa 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 Celexa treatment. In addition, a comparison of supine and standing vital sign measures for Celexa and placebo treatments indicated that Celexa treatment is not associated with orthostatic changes.
Patients treated with Celexa in controlled trials experienced a weight loss of about 0.5 kg compared to no change for placebo patients.
Celexa 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 Celexa treatment.
In a thorough QT study, Celexa was found to be associated with a dose-dependent increase in the QTc interval (see WARNINGS - QT-Prolongation And Torsade de Pointes).
Electrocardiograms from Celexa (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 Celexa 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 Celexa group. The incidence of tachycardic outliers was 0.5% in the Celexa group and 0.4% in the placebo group. The incidence of bradycardic outliers was 0.9% in the Celexa group and 0.4% in the placebo group.
Other Events Observed During The Premarketing Evaluation Of Celexa (citalopram HBr)
Following is a list of WHO terms that reflect treatment-emergent adverse events, as defined in the introduction to the ADVERSE REACTIONS section, reported by patients treated with Celexa at multiple doses in a range of 10 to 80 mg/day during any phase of a trial within the premarketing database of 4422 patients. All reported events are included except those already listed in Table 3 or elsewhere in labeling, those events for which a drug cause was remote, those event terms which were so general as to be uninformative, and those occurring in only one patient. It is important to emphasize that, although the events reported occurred during treatment with Celexa, they were not necessarily caused by it.
Events are further categorized by body system and listed in order of decreasing frequency according to the following definitions: frequent adverse events are those occurring on one or more occasions in at least 1/100 patients; infrequent adverse events are those occurring in less than 1/100 patients but at least 1/1000 patients; rare events are those occurring in fewer than 1/1000 patients.
Cardiovascular- Frequent: tachycardia, postural hypotension, hypotension. Infrequent: hypertension, bradycardia, edema (extremities), angina pectoris, extrasystoles, cardiac failure, flushing, myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular accident, myocardial ischemia. Rare: transient ischemic attack, phlebitis, atrial fibrillation, cardiac arrest, bundle branch block.
Central And Peripheral Nervous System Disorders - Frequent: paresthesia, migraine. Infrequent: hyperkinesia, vertigo, hypertonia, extrapyramidal disorder, leg cramps, involuntary muscle contractions, hypokinesia, neuralgia, dystonia, abnormal gait, hypesthesia, ataxia. Rare: abnormal coordination, hyperesthesia, ptosis, stupor.
Gastrointestinal Disorders - Frequent: saliva increased, flatulence. Infrequent: gastritis, gastroenteritis, stomatitis, eructation, hemorrhoids, dysphagia, teeth grinding, gingivitis, esophagitis. Rare: colitis, gastric ulcer, cholecystitis, cholelithiasis, duodenal ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, glossitis, jaundice, diverticulitis, rectal hemorrhage, hiccups.
Hemic and Lymphatic Disorders - Infrequent: purpura, anemia, epistaxis, leukocytosis, leucopenia, lymphadenopathy. Rare: pulmonary embolism, granulocytopenia, lymphocytosis, lymphopenia, hypochromic anemia, coagulation disorder, gingival bleeding.
Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders - Frequent: decreased weight, increased weight. Infrequent: increased hepatic enzymes, thirst, dry eyes, increased alkaline phosphatase, abnormal glucose tolerance. Rare: bilirubinemia, hypokalemia, obesity, hypoglycemia, hepatitis, dehydration.
Psychiatric Disorders - Frequent: impaired concentration, amnesia, apathy, depression, increased appetite, aggravated depression, suicide attempt, confusion. Infrequent: increased libido, aggressive reaction, paroniria, drug dependence, depersonalization, hallucination, euphoria, psychotic depression, delusion, paranoid reaction, emotional lability, panic reaction, psychosis. Rare: catatonic reaction, melancholia.
*% based on female subjects only: 2955
Skin and Appendages Disorders - Frequent: rash, pruritus. Infrequent: photosensitivity reaction, urticaria, acne, skin discoloration, eczema, alopecia, dermatitis, skin dry, psoriasis. Rare: hypertrichosis, decreased sweating, melanosis, keratitis, cellulitis, pruritus ani.
Special Senses - Frequent: accommodation abnormal, taste perversion. Infrequent: tinnitus, conjunctivitis, eye pain. Rare: mydriasis, photophobia, diplopia, abnormal lacrimation, cataract, taste loss.
Urinary System Disorders - Frequent: polyuria. Infrequent: micturition frequency, urinary incontinence, urinary retention, dysuria. Rare: facial edema, hematuria, oliguria, pyelonephritis, renal calculus, renal pain.
Other Events Observed During The Postmarketing Evaluation Of Celexa (citalopram HBr)
It is estimated that over 30 million patients have been treated with Celexa since market introduction. Although no causal relationship to Celexa treatment has been found, the following adverse events have been reported to be temporally associated with Celexa 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.
Drug Abuse And Dependence
Controlled Substance Class
Celexa (citalopram HBr) is not a controlled substance.
Physical And Psychological Dependence
Animal studies suggest that the abuse liability of Celexa is low. Celexa has not been systematically studied in humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance, or physical dependence. The premarketing clinical experience with Celexa 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 Celexa 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).
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Celexa (Citalopram Hydrobromide)
© Celexa Patient Information is supplied by Cerner Multum, Inc. and Celexa Consumer information is supplied by First Databank, Inc., used under license and subject to their respective copyrights.