Thursday, October 13, 2011

Citalopram: Health Canada reviewing dose-related heart risk

Health Canada is reviewing the heart-related safety of the prescription antidepressant citalopram. The review is in light of new study data suggesting that high doses (60 mg/day) can affect the electrical activity of the heart. The changes in electrical activity could potentially lead to serious, possibly fatal abnormal heart rhythms.

Health Canada is currently reviewing the available data and assessing the need for revised dosing recommendations and will take appropriate action based on the outcome of our review, including working with the companies to update the prescribing information. New safety information will be communicated to healthcare professionals and the public as soon as possible, once the review is complete.

Citalopram is used to treat depression and belongs to a family of drugs known as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). The current Canadian prescribing information recommends 20 mg/day of citalopram in adults. Some people who have not responded to this dose are prescribed 40 or even 60 mg/day.

In Canada, citalopram is available in 10, 20, 30, and 40 mg tablets. It is sold under the brand name Celexa and under several generic names (all of which contain "citalopram" in the name, except the generic products "ran-citalo" and "CTP 30")

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