Antidepressant drugs have become particularly important. Especially since cases of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed in recent years due to various factors both socially and individually
One of these drugs is citalopram , an antidepressant that increases serotonin levels and releases a large amount of pain medication into the person. Below we talk about its uses, side effects and what precautions those who are going to start their treatment should take into account.
What is citalopram?
Citalopram is an antidepressant drug that has been produced since 1989 . This drug, commonly known as Celexa, is included in the category of antidepressants called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
This type of drug increases the amount of serotonin by preventing it from being reuptake. The main function of serotonin is to maintain harmony, balance and emotional well-being, which is essential when intervening in emotional disorders such as depressive disorders or in conditions with anxious symptoms.
In addition, compared to other types of antidepressants, the citalopram discharges large amounts of analgesic substances with an effect as strong as that of morphine. This has earned it a reputation as a very effective antidepressant.
For which disorders is it effective?
Like many other antidepressants, citalopram is given in many cases where the person needs to achieve emotional stability. Specifically the list of disorders and illnesses in which citalopram has proved to be of great help are the following.
1. Depressive symptomatology
There are quite a few emotional conditions that include symptoms of depression in addition to the disease of depression itself.
These symptoms include the feeling of irritability, heaviness, sadness and crying . The anhedonia or inability to enjoy those things that were previously satisfactory. In addition, the feeling of constant fatigue or the alterations in eating and sleeping patterns are also symptoms of this type of disorder.
2. Social anxiety disorder
More popularly known as social phobia, this type of disorder is distinguished by the fact that the person experiences a deep sense of fear and anxiety in one or more social situations in which one must interact with other people.
3. Panic disorder
Another type of anxiety disorder in which citalopram is recommended is panic disorder. In it the patient experiences imminent feelings of fear and panic without any real stimulus to cause them.
4. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Another disorder with anxiety symptoms is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In this disorder, the patient presents a series of intrusive thoughts that appear in a continuous and repeated manner and that cause feelings of worry and anxiety, and repetitive behaviors with the aim of calming these feelings.
5. Huntington’s disease
This disease, also known as Huntington’s Chorea , is an inherited, neurodegenerative condition in which the person has motor symptoms such as uncontrolled movements, coarseness, and impaired balance.
6. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
In premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), women experience symptoms associated with severe depression, irritability, distress, and nervousness before menstruation. These symptoms are very similar to those of PMS but much more intense.
How is it administered?
The use of this medicine must always be indicated by medical personnel , and it is essential to follow their instructions to the letter. A daily dose of 20 mg is usually recommended and should be taken, if possible, either in the morning or in the evening. However, depending on the patient’s symptomatology and the effects the drug has on him/her, this dose may be increased to 60 mg per day.
Regardless of the patient’s condition, in none of the cases can he alter the recommended dose in his own judgement . In other words, you may not increase or decrease the dose, nor may you take it more frequently than indicated.
The first effects of citalopram on mood appear between 3 and 4 weeks after starting to take it, so the patient should not stop taking it even if he does not feel the effects immediately.
What are the side effects?
Citalopram has a number of unwanted side effects that can cause a number of discomforts for the person.
These effects can be divided into non-serious and serious side effects. In the event that the patient experiences any of the non-serious side effects repeatedly it is recommended that he/she informs his/her doctor to adjust the dose of citalopram.
While if you experience any of the symptoms listed above for serious side effects it is vital that you contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Non-serious side effects
Among the most serious side effects are the following.
- Gastric problems such as stomach pain, diarrhea, or heartburn
- Alterations in appetite .
- Weight reduction.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Muscle weakness .
- Muscle and joint pain.
- Dry mouth .
- Alterations in sexual desire or performance
- Heavy bleeding during menstruation.
Serious side effects
The most serious side effects associated with this drug are the following.
- Fever .
- Choking sensation.
- Fainting spells.
- Chest pain.
- Alterations in heart rhythm.
- Hallucinations .
- Hyperhidrosis or heavy sweating.
- Sense of confusion.
- Coordination problems .
- Muscle numbness or muscle contractions
- Skin disorders such as hives, blisters, rashes and itching .
- Swallowing problems.
- Swelling in faces, throat, ankles and legs.
- Recurrent headaches .
- Bleeding or bruising for no apparent reason.
- Lack of concentration and feeling of instability.
What precautions should be taken by those who consume it?
Those persons who are to be treated with citalopram should inform their doctor of any allergies, other conditions or any special health conditions the patient may have.
In addition, due to the effects and interference that may be caused, you should also inform us about any medication, vitamin supplement or natural compound that the patient is taking during the treatment.
As for alcohol consumption, it can aggravate the side effects of citalopram so it is advisable not to consume any type of alcoholic beverage during treatment.
Like other drugs in this category, citalopram often causes drowsiness , so patients should avoid or take special precautions when driving or operating heavy machinery.
Finally, it has been shown that citalopram can have negative effects on newborns if it is administered during the last months of pregnancy. Therefore, the patient must inform the doctor if she is pregnant or if she intends to become pregnant, since the doctor must assess which medication is the best for both the mother’s and the baby’s health.