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There are no well-controlled or adequate studies for citalopram (Celexa) and pregnancy. Clinical findings have reported that newborns exposed to citalopram (Celexa) during the third trimester may develop complications that could include respiratory support, prolonged hospitalization and tube feedings upon delivery.

Citalopram and Breastfeeding

Citalopram is excreted into breast milk. The FDA has two reports of infants experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness, decreased feeding and weight loss when being breastfed from a mother taking citalopram.


What pregnancy category is citalopram?

Citalopram is an FDA pregnancy category C drug, where the drug has caused or may be suspected of causing harmful effects to human fetuses and newborns but no malformations. It has been shown to have adverse effects on fetuses during animal reproduction studies, but there are no adequate or well-controlled studies on humans. The potential benefits of this drug may warrant the use of citalopram for pregnant women despite the potential risks.

Is 10mg citalopram safe in pregnancy?

As a pregnancy category C drug, citalopram may be taken during pregnancy if the potential benefits outweigh the risks. The lowest dosage of citalopram that is given is 10mg.

Does Celexa cause birth defects?

No malformations have been found for newborns. However, newborns have experienced complications after delivery if their mothers are being treated with Celexa or citalpram, such as respiratory distress, seizures, difficulty feeding, low blood sugar levels, vomiting, and constant crying.

It is important to discuss risks and benefits of citalopram with your medical provider before starting or continuing Celexa or citalopram in pregnancy.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


Generic Name: Citalopram HBr

Brands: Celexa

Class: Antidepressant [Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)]

Availability: Prescription only

Molecular Formula: C20H22BrFN2O

Substance UNII: I1E9D14F36

What is Citalopram?

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) given as a prescription. It is the generic name of the trade name Celexa.

What is Citalopram Used For?

Citalopram is an antidepressant that is used to treat depression. When used as an antidepressant, it is designed to bring about better mental balance by improving a person’s mood by increasing the serotonin levels present in the brain.

During certain occasions, medical professionals may also prescribe this drug to treat other conditions such as alcoholism, eating disorders, social phobia (excessive interaction anxiety), panic disorders, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, according to MedlinePlus. This list of conditions that citalopram is prescribed for is not complete, as you should speak with a medical professional regarding additional uses. Since citalopram can be prescribed for conditions other than what it was originally approved for by the FDA, it is considered an off-label drug and has off-label uses.

How Does Citalopram Work?

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical created naturally by the body that helps with certain bodily functions, such as digestion and bowel movements. It is also believed that serotonin helps to regulate a person’s mood.

When serotonin levels are low, a person may experience a low mood and symptoms of depression. Citalopram prevents the nerve cells from reabsorbing the serotonin. By blocking this reabsorption, it helps to increase the levels of serotonin that are present for the brain. The higher serotonin levels available for the brain helps to improve the person’s mood.

How Long Does It Take for Citalopram to Work?

Citalopram can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks before a person starts to see noticeable results. It can be prescribed as a tablet or as a solution. It may be taken with or without food.

Do Not Use Citalopram If:

There are several situations where taking this medication may not be the right choice for a person.  According to the FDA, you should not use citalopram if having these conditions or experiencing these situations:

  • Taking MAOIs
  • After stopping treatment of MAOIs for 14 days
  • Concomitant use of pimozide
  • Having a hypersensitivity to citalopram or its inactive ingredients

Please understand that this list of contradictions may not be complete. There may possibly be other situations where starting the use of this drug is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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