Citalopram is an antidepressant under the SSRI or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class. The US FDA has approved its use for major depression. The drug is available as Citalopram Hydrobromide under the brand names Celexa, Cipramil, and Seropram. However, some claim that a patient can use Citalopram for anxiety.
Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals first created Citalopram in 1972. It took another 26 years before the FDA approved its use in the US in 1998 as Celexa. Afterward, the patent for the drug expired in 2003 allowing other companies to reproduce the generic form of the medicine. Moreover, only Forest Laboratories, Inc. currently manufactures and markets Celexa in the US.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental disorder that causes people to experience excessive fear or worry. It is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the world. It affects at least 44 million adults in the US alone. Sadly, only about a third of them get the proper treatment. (1)
Anxiety may be due to various factors such as the environment, stress, trauma, or genetics. Its severity can range anywhere from mild worry to disabling panic attacks. Multiple forms of it exist such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorders, and social anxiety disorders. It may also worsen through time if the patient disregards its symptoms.
If you experience the symptoms of anxiety, it is best that you immediately approach a psychologist for an evaluation. Doing so can help prevent it from worsening and developing to more severe mental disorders such as depression.
Can I Use Citalopram For Anxiety?
The United States’ Food and Drug Administration has only approved Citalopram for the treatment of depression. However, other countries allow its use for some types of anxiety. For example, most European countries allow the use of Citalopram for the treatment of panic disorder. Likewise, both Spain and Denmark have approved using the drug for the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety that causes a person to experience recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. On the other hand, obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental disorder that urges a person to perform or think specific actions repeatedly. The person may or may not know that these activities are unnecessary but are still unable to stop doing them. (2)
Taking any drug for its off-label uses can be dangerous if done without supervision. It may result in various side effects that can cause more harm than good. The FDA has likewise contraindicated Citalopram for some people. Make sure to first consult a medical expert before taking Citalopram for anxiety. (3)
Other Off-Label Uses Of Citalopram
Furthermore, some doctors prescribe Citalopram for other off-label uses such as dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder), dysmorphophobia (body dysmorphic disorder), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. However, physicians and patients alike are reminded to take extreme caution when using any drug outside of their approved use.
Some studies were also able to show significant evidence on the efficacy of Citalopram in treating generalized anxiety disorder. Furthermore, Citalopram has been shown to have some potential in treating diabetic neuropathy or the pain felt by diabetic patients.