Before taking citalopram,
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to citalopram, escitalopram (Lexapro), any other medications, or any of the ingredients in the citalopram product you are taking. Talk to your pharmacist or check the Medication Guide for a list of the ingredients.
tell your doctor if you are taking pimozide (Orap) or a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate), or if you have stopped taking an MAO inhibitor within the past 14 days. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take citalopram. If you stop taking citalopram, you should wait at least 14 days before you start to take an MAO inhibitor.
you should know that citalopram is very similar to another SSRI, escitalopram (Lexapro). You should not take these two medications together.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications and vitamins you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: amiodarone (Cordarone); anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn); carbamazepine (Tegretol); cimetidine (Tagamet); cisapride (Propulsid); diuretics ('water pills); disopyramide (Norpace); dofetilide (Tikosyn); erythromycin (E.E.S. E-Mycin, Erythrocin); heparin; lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid); medications for anxiety, chronic pain, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, and seizures; medications for migraine headaches such as almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), and zolmitriptan (Zomig); methylene blue; metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL); moxifloxacin (Avelox); omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid); other selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) or serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) medications; procainamide (Procanbid, Pronestyl); quinidine (Quinidex); sedatives; sibutramine (Meridia); sleeping pills; sotalol (Betapace); sparfloxacin (Zagam); thioridazine (Mellaril); tramadol (Ultram); tranquilizers; and tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Many other medications may also interact with citalopram, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
tell your doctor what nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking, especially products that contain St. John's wort or tryptophan.
tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had long QT syndrome (a rare heart problem that may cause irregular heartbeat, fainting, or sudden death) and if you use or have ever used street drugs or have overused prescription medications. Also tell your doctor if you are older than 60 years of age and if you have or have ever had a slow or irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure; bleeding problems; stroke; low levels of magnesium or potassium in your blood, a heart attack, heart failure (condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to other parts of the body) or other heart conditions; seizures; or kidney or liver disease. Also tell your doctor if you are experiencing severe vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating, or if you develop these symptoms at any time during your treatment.
tell your doctor if you are pregnant, especially if you are in the last few months of your pregnancy, or if you plan to become pregnant or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking citalopram, call your doctor. Citalopram may cause problems in newborns following delivery if it is taken during the last months of pregnancy.
you should know that citalopram may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
talk to your doctor about the safe use of alcoholic beverages during your treatment with citalopram. Alcohol can make the side effects of citalopram worse.
you should know that citalopram may cause angle-closure glaucoma (a condition where the fluid is suddenly blocked and unable to flow out of the eye causing a quick, severe increase in eye pressure which may lead to a loss of vision). Talk to your doctor about having an eye examination before you start taking this medication. If you have nausea, eye pain, changes in vision, such as seeing colored rings around lights, and swelling or redness in or around the eye, call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment right away.