The antidepressant Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide; also marketed as generics)
should no longer be used at doses greater than 40 mg per day because it
can cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart, according to the
Food and Drug Administration. People at greatest risk include those with underlying heart conditions
and those who are predisposed to low levels of potassium and magnesium
in the blood.
The FDA’s warning was prompted by reports it received of people taking
the drug who developed abnormal changes in the electrical activity of
the heart that could lead to deadly heart rhythm conditions. In addition,
a study of 119 adults confirmed that higher doses of citalopram (up to
60 mg per day) lead to an increases in abnormal heart activity.
FDA Recommendations for Patients
- Do not stop taking citalopram or change your dose without talking to your
healthcare professional. Stopping citalopram suddenly can cause unwanted
- If you are currently taking a citalopram dose greater than 40 mg per day,
talk to your healthcare professional about changing your dose.
- Seek immediate care if you experience an irregular heartbeat, shortness
of breath, dizziness, or fainting while taking citalopram.
- If you are taking citalopram, your healthcare professional may occasionally
order an electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) to monitor your heart rate and rhythm.
An ECG is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity
of your heart.
- Read the Medication Guide for citalopram carefully and discuss any questions
you have with your healthcare professional.
- Report any side effects you experience to the FDA MedWatch program using
the information in the “Contact Us” box at the bottom of the page.