Posted by Deborah Pujoue on April 19, 2012
It looks like the antidepressant drug Celexa (citalopram) is back on the chopping block: The FDA recently called for the addition of heart problem warnings on the drug’s labels.
“Citalopram should no longer be used at doses greater than 40 mg per day because it could cause potentially dangerous abnormalities in the electrical activity of the heart,” FDA says. “Citalopram use at any dose is discouraged in patients with certain conditions because of the risk of QT prolongation, but because it may be important for some of those patients to use citalopram, the drug label has been changed to describe the particular caution that needs to be taken when citalopram is used in such patients. The revised drug label also describes lower doses that should be used in patients over 60 years of age.”
Celexa belongs to a class of antidepressants that have been linked to many different side effects. Some of those side effects include birth defects in babies exposed to the drug in-utero, such as PPHN, oral clefts and heart, lung and brain defects. Now that heart problems have been found to be included in this list of side effects, it is almost insane to consider taking the drug — regardless of whether you are pregnant. However, if you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, this advisory as well as the risk of birth defects should be a deterrent.
Celexa isn’t the only antidepressant medication to avoid during pregnancy. Expectant mother should also make an effort to avoid taking other SSRIs while pregnant. Those medications include Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft and Effexor. For safety’s sake, women should not take any antidepressant medications during pregnancy unless it’s absolutely necessary.