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Citalopram – uses, health risks, and side effects at

Wednesday, August 22, 2018 by

Citalopram is a generic drug used to treat depression. It belongs to a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the body.

Serotonin, a natural substance in the brain, helps maintain your mental balance. It is also known as a feel-good chemical.

Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) citalopram comes with a black-box warning since some children, teenagers, and young adults (at least 24 years of age) who took antidepressants like citalopram during clinical studies had suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Citalopram’s brand name is Celexa.

Known health risks or side effects of citalopram

Citalopram may cause common side effects such as:

  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • A sore throat
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

You may require immediate medical attention if you experience severe side effects such as:

  • Black stools
  • Changes in sexual ability
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Fainting
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Shaking/tremors
  • Vomit that looks like coffee grounds

List of organs that might be affected by citalopram

An overdose of citalopram may cause the following complications:

  • Blisters
  • Chest pain
  • Coma
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Hallucinating
  • Headaches
  • Hives
  • Incoordination
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Itching
  • Muscle twitches
  • Rash
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath

An allergic reaction due to an overdose of citalopram is rare. Signs of an allergic reaction may include difficulty breathing; hives; or the swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, consult a healthcare professional. If your symptoms are severe, go to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Food items or nutrients that have similar effects to citalopram

The following foods or nutrients have similar effects to citalopram:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 fatty acids are a good kind of fat found in fish. Omega-3s also come in supplement form called fish oil supplements. Individuals with low levels of two brain chemicals found in fish oil supplements may have a higher increased risk of developing depression. Consume a higher ratio of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two types of omega-3 fatty acids. Choose fish with lower levels of mercury, like freshwater trout, salmon, sardines, and tuna.
  • St. John’s wort – This plant is native to Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia. Taking St. John’s wort can help increase serotonin levels in the body. People with depression often have low levels of this chemical. St. John’s wort may interact with several kinds of drugs, such as blood thinners or chemotherapy medications. Consult a healthcare professional before taking this herb.

Treatment and management options for the side effects of citalopram

The following treatments and management options can help prevent the side effects associated with citalopram, like a sore throat:

  • Honey – A spoonful of honey can help ease a sore throat. Aside from coating and soothing your throat, honey also has antimicrobial properties that can speed up the healing process.
  • Tea – Drink a warm cup of herbal tea to soothe a sore throat. Black, green, or white tea has antioxidants that can help boost your immunity and prevent infection. Add honey if you wish.

Where to learn more


Citalopram is a generic drug used to treat depression.

Citalopram may cause common side effects such as blurred vision, drowsiness, or swelling in the throat.

An overdose of citalopram may cause complications like blisters, chest pain, coma, or confusion.

Omega-3 fatty acids and St. John’s wort have similar effects to citalopram.

Honey or herbal/ black/green/white tea can help prevent the side effects associated with citalopram, like a sore throat.

Sources include:


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