Citalopram (Cipramil)


Overview: Citalopram, known by the brand name Cipramil, is an antidepressant of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) class. Citalopram is used to treat depression. Citalopram has helped many people recover from depression. Its profile of having few side effects and its easy switching properties makes it often a first choice SSRI for those suffering with depression. Citalopram is only available on prescription.





Key Facts: It will take around four to six weeks for Citalopram to work, however minor improvements might be visible after around a week. There are a few side effects to Citalopram, as mentioned below. Citalopram should be used without interruption – you shouldn’t suddenly stop taking the medicine. The medication should help jump start your mood, and slowly make you feel like your old self again.


How do they work?: Unfortunately, it isn’t entirely known how antidepressants work. The most widely accepted belief is that antidepressants work by increasing levels of a group of chemicals in the brain named neurotransmitters. Some of these neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, can help improve mood and emotion. How this process exactly works is unknown. It is recommended that Citalopram is used in conjunction with therapy.


Dosage: You should take Citalopram once a day. It doesn’t upset the stomach, and thus can be taken with or without food. You should take the tablet at the same time each day, but unlike many other antidepressants, there isn’t a set time you should take them. It is recommended you take them in the morning, as otherwise it can be difficult to sleep at times. The usual dose of Citalopram is 20mg a day in adults. Sometimes, a lower dose will be prescribed, especially at the beginning of treatment. The maximum dose per day is 40mg. It can take some time to find the correct dose. A typical treatment course of Citalopram is six months, though a longer treatment course is common.


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Side Effects

With each box of Citalopram, there will be an information leaflet enclosed. This will provide an exhaustive list of side effects. Side effects from Citalopram should only last a few days, and are relatively mild. It is natural to experience some side effects as your body gets used to the medication.


Common side effects of Citalopram include a dry mouth, excessive sweating, insomnia, drowsiness, tiredness, sexual dysfunction, emotional bluntness, weight gain and abnormal dreaming.


Serious side effects include suicidal thinking, chest pain and psychosis. An overdose should be avoided, as it can cause the potentially fatal Serotonin Syndrome. You should contact your doctor if any of these serious side effects take place.




You should always read the information leaflet that comes with your medication as it will include important information there. You should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medication. It is important that you don’t use the herbal remedy St. Johns wort. You shouldn’t take any other antidepressant with Citalopram unless directed by your doctor. Tryptothan and Omeprazole are examples of other medications you shouldn’t take when using Citalopram. Ask your Doctor if you are unsure.


Alcohol acts as a depressant, therefore it is recommended that anyone taking an antidepressant stays away from drinking alcohol. Combining Citalopram with  recreational drugs is also not recommended.


Citalopram is not recommended in pregnancy or the breastfeeding stage. It is believed that Citalopram can cause withdrawal symptoms in breastfed babies.


It is rare for Citalopram to be prescribed to anyone under the age of 18. Several studies have showed that antidepressants can increase suicidal thoughts in adolescents. Insteead, some form of psychotherapy is recommended. Citalopram is only rarely prescribed to adolescents. In general, if the benefits outweigh the side effects, then the SSRI Fluoxetine will instead be prescribed.


Other SSRI’s: