CITALOPRAM Oral Solution USP, 10 mg/5 mL
Citalopram Oral Solution USP is an orally administered selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with a chemical structure unrelated to that of other SSRI’s or of tricyclic, tetracyclic, or other available antidepressant agents. Citalopram hydrobromide is a racemic bicyclic phthalane derivative designated (±)-1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-1-(4-fluorophenyl)-1,3-dihydroisobenzofuran-5-carbonitrile, Hbr.
The molecular formula is C20H22BrFN2O and its molecular weight is 405.35. Citalopram hydrobromide occurs as a fine, white to off-white powder. Citalopram hydrobromide is sparingly soluble in water and soluble in ethanol. Citalopram is available as an oral solution.
Citalopram Oral Solution USP contains citalopram hydrobromide USP equivalent to 2 mg/mL citalopram base. It also contains the following inactive ingredients: methylparaben, peppermint stick, propylene glycol, propylparaben, purified water, and sorbitol solution.
Indications and usage
Citalopram Oral Solution USP is indicated for the treatment of depression. The efficacy of Citalopram Oral Solution USP in the treatment of depression was established in 4 to 6 week, controlled trials of outpatients whose diagnosis corresponded most closely to the DSM-III and DSM-III-R category of major depressive disorder.
Dosage and administration
Citalopram should be administered once daily, in the morning or evening, with or without food.
Citalopram should be administered at an initial dose of 20 mg once daily, with an increase to a maximum dose of 40 mg/ day at an interval of no less than one week. Doses above 40 mg/day are not recommended due to the risk of QT prolongation. Additionally, the only study pertinent to dose response for effectiveness did not demonstrate an advantage for the 60 mg/day dose over the 40 mg/day dose.
20 mg/day is the maximum recommended dose for patients who are greater than 60 years of age, patients with hepatic impairment, and for CYP2C19 poor metabolizers or those patients taking cimetidine or another CYP2C19 inhibitor
No dosage adjustment is necessary for patients with mild or moderate renal impairment. Citalopram should be used with caution in patients with severe renal impairment.
It is generally agreed that acute episodes of depression require several months or longer of sustained pharmacologic therapy. Systematic evaluation of citalopram in two studies has shown that its antidepressant efficacy is maintained for periods of up to 24 weeks following 6 or 8 weeks of initial treatment (32 weeks total).
Mechanism of action
The mechanism of action of citalopram as an antidepressant is presumed to be linked to potentiation of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system (CNS) resulting from its inhibition of CNS neuronal reuptake of serotonin (5-HT). In vitro and in vivo studies in animals suggest that citalopram is a highly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with minimal effects on norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine (DA) neuronal reuptake. Tolerance to the inhibition of 5-HT uptake is not induced by long-term (14-day) treatment of rats with citalopram. Citalopram is a racemic mixture (50/50), and the inhibition of 5-HT reuptake by citalopram is primarily due to the (S)-enantiomer.
Citalopram has no or very low affinity for 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, dopamine D1 and D2, α1-, α2-, and β-adrenergic, histamine H1, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), muscarinic cholinergic, and benzodiazepine receptors. Antagonism of muscarinic, histaminergic, and adrenergic receptors has been hypothesized to be associated with various anticholinergic, sedative, and cardiovascular effects of other psychotropic drugs.
The use of MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders with citalopram or within 14 days of stopping treatment with citalopram is contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. The use of citalopram within 14 days of stopping an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders is also contraindicated.
Starting citalopram in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue is also contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome.
Concomitant use in patients taking pimozide is contraindicated
Citalopram is contraindicated in patients with a hypersensitivity to citalopram or any of the inactive ingredients in Citalopram Oral Solution USP.
Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk: Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment.
QT-Prolongation and Torsade de Pointes: Citalopram causes dose-dependent QTc prolongation, an ECG abnormality that has been associated with Torsade de Pointes (TdP), ventricular tachycardia, and sudden death, all of which have been observed in postmarketing reports for citalopram.
Because of the risk of QTc prolongation at higher citalopram doses, it is recommended that citalopram should not be given at doses above 40 mg/day.
It is recommended that citalopram should not be used in patients with congenital long QT syndrome, bradycardia, hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia, recent acute myocardial infarction, or uncompensated heart failure. Citalopram should also not be used in patients who are taking other drugs that prolong the QTc interval. Such drugs include Class 1A (e.g., quinidine, procainamide) or Class III (e.g., amiodarone, sotalol) antiarrhythmic medications, antipsychotic medications (e.g., chlorpromazine, thioridazine, antibiotics (e.g., gatifloxacin, moxifloaxacin), or any other class of medications known to prolong the QTc interval (e.g., pentamidine, levomethadyl acetate, methadone).
Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder: A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. It should be noted that citalopram is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.
Serotonin Syndrome: The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome has been reported with SNRIs and SSRIs, including citalopram, alone but particularly with concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, trytophan, buspirone, and St. John’s Wort) and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin (in particular, MAOIs, both those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and also others, such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue).
Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination), seizures and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome.
Angle-Closure Glaucoma: The pupillary dilation that occurs following use of many antidepressant drugs including citalopram may trigger an angle closure attack in a patient with anatomically narrow angles who does not have a patent iridectomy.
Discontinuation of Treatment with Citalopram: During marketing of citalopram and other SSRIs and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when abrupt, including the following: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, and hypomania. While these events are generally self-limiting, there have been reports of serious discontinuation symptoms.
Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with citalopram. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate
Abnormal Bleeding: SSRIs and SNRIs, including citalopram, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anticoagulants may add to the risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding events related to SSRIs and SNRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages
Hyponatremia: Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including citalopram. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), and was reversible when citalopram was discontinued. Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume depleted may be at greater risk. Discontinuation of citalopram should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and appropriate medical intervention should be instituted.
Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. Signs and symptoms associated with more severe and/or acute cases have included hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.
Activation of Mania/Hypomania: In placebo-controlled trials of citalopram, some of which included patients with bipolar disorder, activation of mania/hypomania was reported in 0.2% of 1063 patients treated with citalopram and in none of the 446 patients treated with placebo. Activation of mania/hypomania has also been reported in a small proportion of patients with major affective disorders treated with other marketed antidepressants. As with all antidepressants, citalopram should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania
Seizures: Although anticonvulsant effects of citalopram have been observed in animal studies, citalopram has not been systematically evaluated in patients with a seizure disorder. These patients were excluded from clinical studies during the product’s premarketing testing. In clinical trials of citalopram, seizures occurred in 0.3% of patients treated with citalopram (a rate of one patient per 98 years of exposure) and 0.5% of patients treated with placebo (a rate of one patient per 50 years of exposure). Like other antidepressants, citalopram should be introduced with care in patients with a history of seizure disorder.
Interference with Cognitive and Motor Performance: In studies in normal volunteers, citalopram in doses of 40 mg/day did not produce impairment of intellectual function or psychomotor performance. Because any psychoactive drug may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills, however, patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles, until they are reasonably certain that citalopram therapy does not affect their ability to engage in such activities
Triptans: There have been rare postmarketing reports of serotonin syndrome with use of an SSRI and a triptan. If concomitant treatment of citalopram with a triptan is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases
CNS Drugs: Given the primary CNS effects of citalopram, caution should be used when it is taken in combination with other centrally acting drugs
Alcohol: Although citalopram did not potentiate the cognitive and motor effects of alcohol in a clinical trial, as with other psychotropic medications, the use of alcohol by depressed patients taking citalopram is not recommended.
Drugs That Interfere with Hemostasis (NSAIDs, Aspirin, Warfarin, etc.): Serotonin release by platelets plays an important role in hemostasis. Epidemiological studies of the case-control and cohort design that have demonstrated an association between use of psychotropic drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of upper gastrointestinal bleeding have also shown that concurrent use of an NSAID or aspirin may potentiate the risk of bleeding. Altered anticoagulant effects, including increased bleeding, have been reported when SSRIs and SNRIs are coadministered with warfarin. Patients receiving warfarin therapy should be carefully monitored when citalopram is initiated or discontinued.
Cimetidine: In subjects who had received 21 days of 40 mg/day citalopram, combined administration of 400 mg/day cimetidine for 8 days resulted in an increase in citalopram AUC and Cmax of 43% and 39%, respectively. Citalopram 20 mg/day is the maximum recommended dose for patients taking concomitant cimetidine because of the risk of QT prolongation
Digoxin: In subjects who had received 21 days of 40 mg/day citalopram, combined administration of citalopram and digoxin (single dose of 1 mg) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of either citalopram or digoxin.
Lithium: Coadministration of citalopram (40 mg/day for 10 days) and lithium (30 mmol/day for 5 days) had no significant effect on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram or lithium. Nevertheless, plasma lithium levels should be monitored with appropriate adjustment to the lithium dose in accordance with standard clinical practice. Because lithium may enhance the serotonergic effects of citalopram, caution should be exercised when citalopram and lithium are coadministered
Pimozide: In a controlled study, a single dose of pimozide 2 mg co-administered with citalopram 40 mg given once daily for 11 days was associated with a mean increase in QTc values of approximately 10 msec compared to pimozide given alone. Citalopram did not alter the mean AUC or Cmax of pimozide. The mechanism of this pharmacodynamic interaction is not known.
Theophylline: Combined administration of citalopram (40 mg/day for 21 days) and the CYP1A2 substrate theophylline (single dose of 300 mg) did not affect the pharmacokinetics of theophylline. The effect of theophylline on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram was not evaluated.
Sumatriptan: There have been rare postmarketing reports describing patients with weakness, hyperreflexia, and incoordination following the use of a SSRI and sumatriptan. If concomitant treatment with sumatriptan and an SSRI (e.g., fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, citalopram) is clinically warranted, appropriate observation of the patient is advised.
Warfarin: Administration of 40 mg/day citalopram for 21 days did not affect the pharmacokinetics of warfarin, a CYP3A4 substrate. Prothrombin time was increased by 5%, the clinical significance of which is unknown.
Carbamazepine: Combined administration of citalopram (40 mg/day for 14 days) and carbamazepine (titrated to 400 mg/ day for 35 days) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of carbamazepine, a CYP3A4 substrate. Although trough citalopram plasma levels were unaffected, given the enzyme-inducing properties of carbamazepine, the possibility that carbamazepine might increase the clearance of citalopram should be considered if the two drugs are coadministered.
Triazolam: Combined administration of citalopram (titrated to 40 mg/day for 28 days) and the CYP3A4 substrate triazolam (single dose of 0.25 mg) did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of either citalopram or triazolam.
Ketoconazole: Combined administration of citalopram (40 mg) and ketoconazole (200 mg) decreased the Cmax and AUC of ketoconazole by 21% and 10%, respectively, and did not significantly affect the pharmacokinetics of citalopram.
CYP2C19 Inhibitors: Citalopram 20 mg/day is the maximum recommended dose for patients taking concomitant CYP2C19 inhibitors because of the risk of QT prolongation
Metoprolol: Administration of 40 mg/day citalopram for 22 days resulted in a two-fold increase in the plasma levels of the beta-adrenergic blocker metoprolol. Increased metoprolol plasma levels have been associated with decreased cardioselectivity. Coadministration of citalopram and metoprolol had no clinically significant effects on blood pressure or heart rate.
Imipramine and Other Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs): In vitro studies suggest that citalopram is a relatively weak inhibitor of CYP2D6. Coadministration of citalopram (40 mg/day for 10 days) with the TCA imipramine (single dose of 100 mg), a substrate for CYP2D6, did not significantly affect the plasma concentrations of imipramine or citalopram. However, the concentration of the imipramine metabolite desipramine was increased by approximately 50%. The clinical significance of the desipramine change is unknown. Nevertheless, caution is indicated in the coadministration of TCAs with citalopram.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): There are no clinical studies of the combined use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and citalopram.
Use in specific populations
Pregnancy Category C: In animal reproduction studies, citalopram has been shown to have adverse effects on embryo/fetal and postnatal development, including teratogenic effects, when administered at doses greater than human therapeutic doses.
Nonteratogenic Effects: Neonates exposed to citalopram and other SSRIs or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), late in the third trimester, have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications can arise immediately upon delivery. Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of SSRIs and SNRIs or, possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome. It should be noted that, in some cases, the clinical picture is consistent with serotonin syndrome
Labor and Delivery: The effect of citalopram on labor and delivery in humans is unknown.
Nursing Mothers: As has been found to occur with many other drugs, citalopram is excreted in human breast milk. There have been two reports of infants experiencing excessive somnolence, decreased feeding, and weight loss in association with breastfeeding from a citalopram-treated mother; in one case, the infant was reported to recover completely upon discontinuation of citalopram by its mother, and in the second case, no follow-up information was available. The decision whether to continue or discontinue either nursing or citalopram therapy should take into account the risks of citalopram exposure for the infant and the benefits of citalopram treatment for the mother.
Symptoms most often accompanying citalopram overdose, alone or in combination with other drugs and/or alcohol, included dizziness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, tremor, somnolence, and sinus tachycardia. In more rare cases, observed symptoms included amnesia, confusion, coma, convulsions, hyperventilation, cyanosis, rhabdomyolysis, and ECG changes (including QTc prolongation, nodal rhythm, ventricular arrhythmia, and very rare cases of torsade de pointes). Acute renal failure has been very rarely reported accompanying overdose.
Management of Overdose
Establish and maintain an airway to ensure adequate ventilation and oxygenation. Gastric evacuation by lavage and use of activated charcoal should be considered. Careful observation and cardiac and vital sign monitoring are recommended, along with general symptomatic and supportive care. Due to the large volume of distribution of citalopram, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be of benefit. There are no specific antidotes for citalopram.
In managing overdosage, consider the possibility of multiple-drug involvement. The physician should consider contacting a poison control center for additional information on the treatment of any overdose.