Can you take propranolol and citalopram together? (3+ facts)

In this article, we will discuss whether you can take propranolol and citalopram together, what research suggests, the benefits of taking propranolol and citalopram together, the risks and potential side effects of taking propranolol and citalopram together, and how to ensure safe and effective use of propranolol and citalopram.

Can you take propranolol and citalopram together?

Yes, you can take propranolol and citalopram together, but only if prescribed by your healthcare provider. Propranolol and citalopram are two commonly prescribed medications for different health concerns.

Propranolol is a beta-blocker used to treat high blood pressure, migraines, and heart conditions, while citalopram is an antidepressant primarily used to manage depression and anxiety disorders. There is a potential for side effects when taken together.

So, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare provider who can evaluate your unique medical history and medication requirements before prescribing them together.

How does propranolol interact with citalopram?

Citalopram inhibits the cytochrome 2D6 enzyme, which is involved in the metabolism of most beta-blockers. Citalopram increases this inhibition by 3-4 folds and increases the concentration of propranolol in the blood.

Increased concentrations of propranolol can exacerbate the effects produced by propranolol, and these effects include bradycardia, hypotension, dizziness, etc. (8)

What does research suggest?

Research on the combined use of propranolol and citalopram is inconclusive. Some studies suggest that combining these medications may be safe under certain circumstances.

One study analyzed the interactions between antidepressants and cardiovascular drugs and reported that 53% of the cases involved selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, out of which 37.5% were due to the addition of propranolol to the antidepressant.

It was suggested that concomitant use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like citalopram may increase the plasma concentration of propranolol, exacerbating the effects of propranolol. (1,8)

Another study concluded that combining these two drugs can increase the risk of potential side effects, which increased the emergency room (ER) visits of 4.3% of patients taking these drugs. (2)

There is minimal research on using propranolol and citalopram together. So, talk to your healthcare provider before taking them together because individual responses may differ from this combination.

What are the benefits of taking propranolol and citalopram together?

Combining propranolol and citalopram may have certain benefits for individuals suffering from hypertension, anxiety, and other depressive disorders. Some potential benefits include:

Enhanced Tolerability: Some individuals may find that the side effects of one medication are mitigated by the other. For instance, propranolol could help with the restlessness that can sometimes accompany SSRIs like citalopram.

Synergistic effect: Propranolol and citalopram can complement each other’s effects. Propranolol can mitigate some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, while citalopram can provide relief from excessive anxiety and stress, potentially enhancing overall well-being. (3,5)

Enhanced quality of life: For those with conditions like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or panic disorder who also have hypertension, this combination might lead to an improved quality of life by addressing both issues simultaneously.

What are potential side effects of taking propranolol with citalopram?

While there may be benefits to taking propranolol and citalopram together, it is crucial to be aware of potential risks and side effects, including:

  • Qtc prolongation: Antidepressants like citalopram, if taken in high doses, can cause Qtc prolongation. A case of Qtc prolongation with the use of propranolol was also reported. So, carefully monitoring the ECG is important. (4)


  • Drowsiness: Propranolol can make you sleepy, and citalopram can also cause drowsiness. When combined, this effect may be more pronounced, potentially impairing your ability to drive or perform tasks that require focus. (3,5)


  • Hypotension: Propranolol and citalopram both cause hypotension, so in combination, they may cause significantly low blood pressure, which may result in dizziness, fainting, or even cardiovascular complications. (6,7)


  • Interactions with other medications: This combination may interact with other drugs you are taking, leading to potentially harmful effects. It’s essential to inform your healthcare provider about all the medications and supplements you are using.

How to ensure safe and effective use of propranolol and citalopram?

To ensure safe and effective use of propranolol and citalopram together, follow these guidelines:

  • Consult your healthcare provider: Always consult your healthcare provider before combining propranolol and citalopram. They can assess your individual health condition and help you make an informed decision.


  • Open communication: Open and honest communication with your doctor is important; provide your doctor with a comprehensive medical history, including previous reactions to medications or substance use disorders, so that they can make a treatment plan for your specific needs.


  • Follow prescribed dosages: Take both medications at the recommended dosages and frequency, and strictly follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider.


  • Monitor side effects: Be vigilant about side effects and report any unusual symptoms or reactions to your healthcare provider immediately.


  • Regular check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

What are the alternatives to combining propranolol and citalopram?

If it is essential to combine these two classes of drugs, these alternative combinations can be used safely:

The more suitable choices of antidepressants are venlafaxine and sertraline, as these two drugs do not increase the concentration of beta-blockers like propranolol and metoprolol.

The more suitable choices of beta-blockers are nebivolol and carvedilol because these two do not interact with most antidepressants. However, nebivolol should not be used with paroxetine and bupropion, as it can increase beta-blocker concentration by 6-7 folds. (8)


My knowledge emphasizes the importance of open communication with your healthcare provider while combining propranolol and citalopram, as it may offer benefits in certain cases, but it is imperative to approach this decision with caution because the risk of side effects is also present.

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