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About citalopram

Citalopram is a type of antidepressant known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

It's often used to treat low mood (depression) and also sometimes for panic attacks. It helps many people recover from depression, and has fewer side effects than older antidepressants.

Citalopram is available on prescription. It comes as tablets and liquid drops that you put in water and drink.

Key facts

  • It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for citalopram to work., although you should start to feel better after 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Side effects such as tiredness, feeling nervous, dry mouth and sweating are common. They're usually mild and go away after a couple of weeks.
  • If you and your doctor decide to stop taking citalopram, your doctor may recommend reducing your dose gradually to help prevent withdrawal symptoms.
  • You can drink alcohol while taking citalopram, but it may make you feel sleepy.
  • Do not take the herbal supplement St John's wort while you're taking citalopram. It will increase your risk of side effects.

Page last reviewed: 9 February 2022
Next review due: 9 February 2025