Who should not take Citalopram? (3+ key points)

In this article, we will discuss a specific group of people who should generally avoid taking Citalopram or should use it with caution under close medical supervision.

Who should not take Citalopram?

Individuals with the following conditions should not take Citalopram or should use Citalopram with caution:

  • Individuals with allergic reactions
  • Cardiac patients
  • Children and adolescents
  • Nursing or pregnant women
  • Individuals with eye condition
  • Individuals with kidney or liver disease
  • Individuals with bipolar disorder

Citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is an antidepressant used to treat mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. It is a prescription medication and should only be used if recommended by a qualified healthcare practitioner (1).

Although Citalopram is generally safe and well-tolerated in most individuals, there are specific groups of people who should generally avoid taking Citalopram or should use it with caution under close medical supervision.

It is important to consult with your healthcare provider before starting or discontinuing any medication. Individuals who should avoid taking Citalopram may include:

Individuals with allergic reactions

Anyone who has ever had an allergic reaction to Citalopram or any of its components should avoid using this medication (2). Allergic reactions can include:

  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling
  • Difficult breathing

Citalopram should not be taken by individuals who are currently using or have recently used monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) like Phenelzine or Isocarboxazid or who have used them within the past 14 days (3).

Combining Citalopram with MAOIs can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome, which is characterized by symptoms such as agitation, hallucinations, increased blood pressure, tremors, and in severe cases seizures.

Cardiac patients

People with certain cardiac conditions such as recent heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias, or congenital long QT syndrome should use Citalopram with caution or avoid it altogether.

Citalopram has been associated with QT interval prolongation, which can increase the risk of serious heart rhythm abnormalities (4).

Children and adolescents

Citalopram is typically not recommended for use in children and adolescents due to concerns about an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours in this age group.

It should only be used in pediatric populations when other treatment options have been considered and deemed inappropriate. It is important to regularly check the weight and growth of the children and adolescents treated with Citalopram (5).

Nursing or pregnant women

Pregnant or nursing women should discuss the risks and benefits of using Citalopram with their healthcare provider. The medication may pose potential risks to the developing foetus or newborn, so its use should be carefully evaluated. Always consult your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant during your treatment with Citalopram (4).

Individuals with different diseases

Individuals with eye condition: If an individual is suffering from glaucoma, it is necessary to consult with your healthcare provider before taking Citalopram because this medication may lead to increased intraocular pressure (IOP) as a side effect, which can exacerbate glaucoma (2,4).

Individuals with bipolar disorder: Citalopram should be used cautiously in patients with bipolar disorder because it can sometimes induce manic or hypomanic episodes in these individuals. If necessary, it is often used in combination with a mood stabilizer (4).

Individuals with liver or kidney disease: Individuals suffering from liver or kidney impairment may require dosage adjustment or may not be suitable candidates for Citalopram use. This medication may not be effectively metabolized in these individuals, leading to potential adverse effects (4).

How to ensure the safe use of Citalopram?

The following points should be considered to ensure the safe and effective use of Citalopram:

  • Always take Citalopram as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Inform your doctor about any side effects like nausea, excessive sweating, tiredness, or changes in appetite. They may adjust the dosage or switch to another medication if needed.
  • Do not consume alcohol while taking citalopram as it can intensify the side effects.
  • Do not skip the doses or stop the medication abruptly as it can result in worsening of symptoms.


In conclusion, individuals who should generally avoid taking Citalopram include those with a history of allergic reactions to the medication, individuals currently using or recently discontinued monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and those with certain cardiac conditions. Cautions should also be exercised in individuals with bipolar disorder, pregnant or nursing women, children and adolescents.

It is essential to consult with your healthcare provider to assess individual suitability and potential contraindications before using Citalopram.

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