Yesterday, the FDA informed healthcare providers and patients that Celexa (citalopram) can cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart when taken in doses greater than 40 mg per day. The announcement further urged that doctors not prescribe in doses over 40 mg per day because studies have shown no benefit in treatment of depression in doses higher than that amount. The previous drug label stated that 60 mg per day may have been required for certain patients.
Specifically, high doses of celexa can lead to prolongation of the QT interval of the electrocardiogram which can lead to an abnormal heart rhythm, including Torsade de Pointes, which can be fatal. The Celexa label has been updated to include these new guidelines and information.
Celexa is in a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This class of drugs is thought to work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Celexa is marketed by Forest Laboratories.