Citalopram (Celexa ®)
Antidepressant. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) . Molecular
Citalopram is metabolized primarily to demethylcitalopram (DCT) which is
approximately one eighth as potent in the inhibition of serotonin
reuptake as citalopram 
In reproductive animal studies, citalopram has been shown to have
adverse effects on embryo/fetal and postnatal development when administered at doses greater than human therapeutic doses.
Decreased embryo/fetal growth and survival and an increased incidence of fetal
abnormalities (including cardiovascular and skeletal defects) were observed in
the rat at a maternally toxic dose (18 times the maximum recommended human dose
(MRHD) of 60 mg/day on a body surface area (mg/m 2 ) basis). In a
rabbit study, no adverse effects on embryo/fetal development were observed at
doses of up to approximately 5 times the MRHD .
In an isolated perfused human placenta
model the mean transplacental transfer for citalopram and desmethylcitalopram
was found to be 9.1% and 5.6% respectively.
The presence of albumin was necessary for the transplacental transfer of
Ericson and co-workers prospectively identified 365 women enrolled in The
Swedish Medical Birth Registry who used citalopram during early pregnancy.
Exposure to citalopram did not appear to increase the rate of major
malformations above the expected baseline rate .
BREAST FEEDING: Citalopram is excreted into breast milk. The
milk/serum concentration ratio is 1.16 to 3 [4-6].
Heikkinen T, et. al., prospectively compared eleven breast-feeding women taking citalopram 20 mg to 40 mg once daily with a matched control group of 10 women who were not taking medication.
Infant citalopram and metabolite plasma concentrations were found to be very low or
neurodevelopment of all infants up to the age of 1 year was normal
Rampono J, et. al., as with the previous study, found very low
or absent plasma concentrations of citalopram and demethylcitalopram in breast fed infants of 7 mothers taking citalopram for the treatment
of depression. They estimated the mean combined dose of citalopram and
demethylcitalopram transmitted to infants via breast milk to be
4.4-5.1% as citalopram equivalents. This is below the 10% notional level
Nonetheless, Nordeng and coworkers suggest that high doses of citalopram be
used with caution in breastfeeding women .
NEONATAL SIDE EFFECTS:
Neonatal withdrawal syndrome may occur after third
trimester in utero SSRI exposure. Irritability, constant
crying, shivering, increased tonus, eating ,sleeping difficulties, and
convulsions have been reported .
"Uneasy sleep" has been reported in the breast fed infant of one mother
taking 40 mg/day of citalopram . The usual dose of citalopram is 20 to 40 mg/day .
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