Drug Information

Citalopram is used to treat mental depression and is in a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants.

Common brand names:

Celexa

Summary of Interactions with Vitamins, Herbs, & Foods

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • Ginkgo

    Ginkgo biloba extract may reduce the side effects experienced by some persons taking SSRIs such as fluoxetine or sertraline. An open-label study with elderly, depressed persons found that 200–240 mg of ginkgo per day was effective in alleviating sexual side effects in both men and women taking SSRIs. One case study reported that 180 to 240 mg of GBE daily reduced genital anesthesia and sexual side effects secondary to fluoxetine use in a 37-year-old woman.

  • Probiotics

    A common side effect of antibiotics is diarrhea, which may be caused by the elimination of beneficial bacteria normally found in the colon. Controlled studies have shown that taking probiotic microorganisms—such as Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, or Saccharomyces boulardii—helps prevent antibiotic-induced diarrhea.

    The diarrhea experienced by some people who take antibiotics also might be due to an overgrowth of the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which causes a disease known as pseudomembranous colitis. Controlled studies have shown that supplementation with harmless yeast—such as Saccharomyces boulardii or Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s or brewer’s yeast)—helps prevent recurrence of this infection.

    Treatment with antibiotics also commonly leads to an overgrowth of yeast (Candida albicans) in the vagina (candida vaginitis) and the intestines (sometimes referred to as “dysbiosis”). Controlled studies have shown that Lactobacillus acidophilus might prevent candida vaginitis.

  • Brewer’s Yeast

    A common side effect of antibiotics is diarrhea, which may be caused by the elimination of beneficial bacteria normally found in the colon. Controlled studies have shown that taking probiotic microorganisms—such as Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum, or Saccharomyces boulardii—helps prevent antibiotic-induced diarrhea.

    The diarrhea experienced by some people who take antibiotics also might be due to an overgrowth of the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which causes a disease known as pseudomembranous colitis. Controlled studies have shown that supplementation with harmless yeast—such as Saccharomyces boulardii or Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s or brewer’s yeast)—helps prevent recurrence of this infection. In one study, taking 500 mg of Saccharomyces boulardii twice daily enhanced the effectiveness of the antibiotic vancomycin in preventing recurrent clostridium infection. Therefore, people taking antibiotics who later develop diarrhea might benefit from supplementing with saccharomyces organisms.

    Treatment with antibiotics also commonly leads to an overgrowth of yeast (Candida albicans) in the vagina (candida vaginitis) and the intestines (sometimes referred to as “dysbiosis”). Controlled studies have shown that Lactobacillus acidophilus might prevent candida vaginitis.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Support Medicine

  • Probiotics
    In one study, taking 500 mg of Saccharomyces boulardii twice daily enhanced the effectiveness of the antibiotic vancomycin in preventing recurrent clostridium infection. Therefore, people taking antibiotics who later develop diarrhea might benefit from supplementing with saccharomyces organisms.
  • Fish Oil
    In patients with major depression, the addition of the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil (1.8 g per day of eicosapentaenoic acid and 0.4 g per day of docosahexaenoic acid, in 2 divided amounts per day for 8 weeks) enhanced the antidepressant effect of citalopram.
    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    In patients with major depression, the addition of the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil (1.8 g per day of eicosapentaenoic acid and 0.4 g per day of docosahexaenoic acid, in 2 divided amounts per day for 8 weeks) enhanced the antidepressant effect of citalopram.
    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

  • St. John’s Wort

    There have been no published reports about negative consequences of combining St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)  (Hypericum perforatum)  (Hypericum perforatum) and fluoxetine. One case has been reported of an interaction between St. John’s wort and a weak serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug known as trazodone that is vaguely similar to fluoxetine. In another case, a patient experienced grogginess, lethargy, nausea, weakness, and fatigue after taking one dose of paroxetine (Paxil®, another SSRI drug) after ten days of St. John’s wort use. Nevertheless, some doctors are concerned about the possibility of an interaction between St. John’s wort and fluoxetine causing side effects (e.g., mental confusion, muscle twitching, sweating, flushing) known collectively as serotonin syndrome. Until more is known about interactions and adverse actions, people taking any SSRI drugs, including fluoxetine, should avoid St. John’s wort, unless they are being closely monitored by a doctor.

  • 5-HTP

    Citalopram increases serotonin activity in the brain. 5-HTP and L-tryptophan are converted to serotonin in the brain, and taking either of these compounds with citalopram may increase citalopram-induced side effects. Dietary supplements of L-tryptophan (available only by prescription from special compounding pharmacists) taken with paroxetine (a drug that has similar actions as citalopram) caused headache, sweating, dizziness, agitation, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.

    Some doctors have used small amounts of L-tryptophan in combination with SSRIs, to increase their effectiveness. However, because of the potential for side effects, 5-HTP and L-tryptophan should never be taken in combination with citalopram or other SSRIs, unless a doctor is closely monitoring the combination. Foods rich in L-tryptophan do not appear to interact with citalopram or other SSRIs.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Digitalis

    Digitalis (Digitalis lanata, Digitalis purpurea) refers to a family of plants commonly called foxglove that contain digitalis glycosides, chemicals with actions and toxicities similar to the prescription drug digoxin.

    Clarithromycin can increase the serum level of digitalis glycosides, increasing the therapeutic effects as well as the risk of side effects. Clarithromycin and digitalis-containing products should be used only under the direct supervision of a doctor.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • L-Tryptophan

    Citalopram increases serotonin activity in the brain. 5-HTP and L-tryptophan are converted to serotonin in the brain, and taking either of these compounds with citalopram may increase citalopram-induced side effects. Dietary supplements of L-tryptophan (available only by prescription from special compounding pharmacists) taken with paroxetine (a drug that has similar actions as citalopram) caused headache, sweating, dizziness, agitation, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms.

    Some doctors have used small amounts of L-tryptophan in combination with SSRIs, to increase their effectiveness. However, because of the potential for side effects, 5-HTP and L-tryptophan should never be taken in combination with citalopram or other SSRIs, unless a doctor is closely monitoring the combination. Foods rich in L-tryptophan do not appear to interact with citalopram or other SSRIs.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Explanation Required 

  • none

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Citalopram