What Is Citalopram Used For?


Quick Answer

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI, that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression, according to WebMD. Citalopram is the generic version of Celexa and is formulated to restore the balance of serotonin in the brain. It is also sometimes prescribed to treat other mental disorders such as panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder and to lessen the incidence of hot flashes during menopause.

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Full Answer

Although the exact mechanism by which citalopram works is not completely understood, it is widely prescribed and can provide marked improvement of behavior, outlook and mood for those suffering from depression, according to WebMD.

SSRIs block the reuptake, or reabsorption, of serotonin in the brain. According to Mayo Clinic, this blocking action changes the brain's serotonin balance and has a mood-boosting effect. Other drugs that are classified as SSRIs and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of depression include fluoxetine, escitalopram, fluoxetine and paroxetine.

SSRIs are generally considered safe, even in combination with other medicines, with the exception of the antibiotic Zyvox and a class of medications known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors. While SSRIs generally do not cause dependency, WebMD warns that patients prescribed SSRIs should not stop taking them abruptly without a doctor's approval.

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