Citalopram for Depression and Anxiety

Citalopram for Depression

Citalopram is used to treat major depressive disorder (MDD). Its antidepressant efficacy is similar to other SSRIs, but is slightly weaker than that of escitalopram5.

Citalopram has a much lower potential for drug interactions than other SSRIs. So it is suitable for elderly people and those with coexisting disorder. Withdrawal symptoms after its discontinuation are relatively mild.

How long before Citalopram works?

While every person is different, you may notice improvement in your depression within 1 to 4 weeks. It can take up to 6-8 weeks to feel the full antidepressant effect.

Citalopram in Dementia

Depression is common in elderly, including those with dementia.

Citalopram is a choice for the treatment of depression in persons with dementia. It helps reduce psychosis (such as hallucinations, delusions, and suspicious thoughts) and agitation in dementia1 (non-depressive agitation).

It's worth to note that citalopram appears to reduce behavioural disturbances in the elderly independently of its antidepressant action.

Citalopram for Anxiety

Citalopram is commonly used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, and panic attacks. It is also useful for various anxiety disorders in adolescents and elderly2.

Celexa vs Lexapro for anxiety

Both are effective. Some studies show escitalopram works faster and is more powerful than citalopram in reducing anxiety and depression 3.

Citalopram for IBS

Citalopram has a favourable effect on symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as abdominal pain, bloating, impact of IBS symptoms on daily life, and abnormalities in bowel pattern 4.

Citalopram may be useful for constipation-predominant IBS, but can trigger IBS attacks in diarrhea-predominant persons.

See also


  • 1. Pollock BG, Mulsant BH, Rosen J, Mazumdar S, Blakesley RE, Houck PR, Huber KA. A double-blind comparison of citalopram and risperidone for behavioral and psychotic symptoms associated with dementia. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Nov;15(11):942-52. PubMed
  • 2. Prince JB, Bostic JQ, Monuteaux M, Brown K, Place S. Citalopram for the treatment of adolescent anxiety disorders: a pilot study. Psychopharmacol Bull. 2002 Summer;36(3):100-7.
  • 3. Gorman JM, Korotzer A, Su G. CNS Spectr. 2002 Apr;7(4 Suppl 1):40-4.
  • 4. Tack J, Broekaert D, Fischler B, Van Oudenhove L, Gevers AM, Janssens J. Citalopram in irritable bowel syndrome. Gut. 2006 Aug;55(8):1095-103. PubMed
  • 5. Cipriani A, Purgato M, Furukawa TA, et al. Citalopram versus other anti-depressive agents for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jul 11. PubMed
  • 6. Brady JP, Ali Z. Alprazolam, citalopram, and clomipramine for stuttering. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000 Apr;20(2):287.

Author: OriginalDrugs Team
Last reviewed: February, 2015

Quick facts

  • Citalopram is more effective than reboxetine (Edronax) and more acceptable than tricyclic antidepressants in the treatment of depression5.
  • The combination of alprazolain (Xanax) and citalopram has been reported to markedly reduce stuttering6. Citalopram may improve symptoms of stuttering/stammering, perhaps, due to its anti-anxiety effects.