Is Citalopram a controlled substance? 

Is Citalopram a controlled substance? 

No, Citalopram is not a controlled substance. It is a prescription antidepressant which is used for the management and treatment of depression, anxiety, and several other mental health conditions. 

Citalopram does not act like a controlled substance as it does not induce euphoria or get you all high. This antidepressant does not generally cause addiction and is not used as a drug of abuse. 

Most controlled substances begin to induce euphoria within a few minutes. Now, Citalopram does increase the excitatory chemicals in your brain, but it does so in 4-6 weeks. 

Citalopram is not a fast-acting medication and it takes weeks only to kick in and takes longer to provide a noticeable antidepressant effect. I’m sure an addict won’t randomly take Citalopram and wait that long for it to work. 

Even when Citalopram does start to work, it does not induce euphoria. So no, Citalopram is not a controlled substance. 

How is Citalopram different from narcotics?

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is used to treat depression and other mood disorders. Narcotics, on the other hand, are pain relievers that include opioids such as Morphine, Oxycodone, and Fentanyl.

Citalopram does affect your brain, but not the way narcotics do. The antidepressant basically inhibits the reuptake of serotonin by blocking the serotonin transporter, which increases the availability of serotonin to bind with more of its receptors (1).

This effect can counteract the symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and several other mental health conditions (2). This medication can also help regulate emotions and enhance your overall mental health.

Narcotics work by attaching to certain receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which relieve pain but also induce euphoria. This is the main reason why narcotics are controlled drugs and should be used even absolutely necessary. CItalopram has no such restriction. 

Despite the fact that narcotics and CItalopram are used for very different clinical symptoms, it’s important to remember that both have potential side effects.

They can also interact with other medications in a number of ways. Celexa should not be taken with opioids, including Morphine, Codeine, Hydrocodone, etc. Citalopram should also be avoided with other psychotropics, like Gabapentin, antipsychotics, and some antidepressants like Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline, etc unless advised by a doctor.

To avoid potential interactions and to make sure you are using medications safely and efficiently, it is important to discuss any medications you are taking with your healthcare practitioner, including over-the-counter medicines and supplements.

Final words

Citalopram and narcotics are entirely different from one another. Citalopram is much safer to use and it does not induce euphoria or get you high. However, Citalopram may affect your health in different ways and should only be taken if prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Remember, proper use of antidepressants is essential to achieve the maximum therapeutic outcome. If you are concerned about any of the side effects, please reach out to your doctor and discuss them.

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PubChem [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2004-. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 2771, Citalopram; [cited 2023 Feb. 8]. Available from:


National Health Services. Citalopram: a medicine that treats low mood and panic attacks . UK NHS website. [cited 2023 Feb. 8]. Available from:

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