Citalopram and QT prolongation

Authors: Štefan Alušík 1;  Zoltán Paluch 2
Authors‘ workplace: Katedra vnitřního lékařství IPVZ, Praha 1;  Ústav farmakologie 2. LF UK, Praha 2
Published in: Vnitř Lék 2017; 63(12): 952-956
Category: Reviews


In 2011/2012, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the effect of citalopram on the QT interval and decreased its dosing. Further studies addressing this issue have been published since then. The authors were interested to know whether or not the studies have furnished new information that could modify or further specify the FDA-issued recommendations. After analyzing the most relevant studies, the authors concluded that even papers published within the last 5 years confirmed that, of the SSRI class of drugs, citalopram prolongs the QT interval most significantly. While the QT interval prolongation in young and otherwise healthy individuals is small and treatment with citalopram relatively safe, in elderly comorbid patients with polypharmacy, use of even currently recommended doses may result in significant QT interval prolongation. Hence, the decision about future therapy will depend on the degree of risk of each individual patient. Judging by the most recent data, citalopram is not more effective compared with the other SSRIs. As a result, therapy with citalopram will presumably show a declining trend, particularly in elderly patients.

Key words:
citalopram – escitalopram – QT interval – SSRI


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