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citalopram (oral) (cont.)

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking citalopram (Celexa)?

You should not take citalopram if you are allergic to it, or if you have a history of Long QT syndrome.

Do not use citalopram if you are using an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). A dangerous drug interaction could occur, leading to serious side effects. You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you can take citalopram. After you stop taking citalopram, you must wait at least 14 days before you start taking an MAOI.

Tell your doctor about all other antidepressants you take, especially Cymbalta, Lexapro, Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax, Paxil, Zoloft or Effexor.

To make sure you can safely take citalopram, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver or kidney disease;
  • heart disease, congestive heart failure, a heart rhythm disorder, or a family history of Long QT syndrome;
  • an electrolyte imbalance (such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood);
  • seizures or epilepsy;
  • bipolar disorder (manic depression); or
  • a history of drug abuse or suicidal thoughts.

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. Citalopram may cause serious lung problems in a newborn if you take the medication during pregnancy. However, you may have a relapse of depression if you stop taking your antidepressant during pregnancy. Tell your doctor right away if you become pregnant. Do not start or stop taking an antidepressant during pregnancy without your doctor's advice.

Citalopram can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old without medical advice.

How should I take citalopram (Celexa)?

Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. An overdose of citalopram can cause a life-threatening heart rhythm disorder. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.

Measure liquid medicine with a special dose-measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

It may take 4 weeks or longer before you start feeling better. Do not stop using citalopram without first talking to your doctor. You may have unpleasant side effects if you stop taking this medication suddenly.

Your heart function may need to be tested with an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) on a regular basis. Do not miss any follow-up visits to your doctor.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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