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[ Citalopram Hydrobromide ] - Celexa is the brand name used for Citalopram HBr by Forest Pharmaceuticals. Citalopram is an oral medication used for the treatment of drepression.
Citalopram is not a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI: the most common form of antidepressant). Instead, Citalopram is an antidepressant that is a member of the family of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Citalopram helps to restore the brain's chemical balance by increasing the supply of a substance in the brain called serotonin. Citalopram appears to relieve depression by increasing serotonin without affecting many of the other chemicals in the brain that influence mood.

HOW SSRIs WORK: Although the brain chemistry of depression is not fully understood, there does exist a growing body of evidence to support the view that people with depression have an imbalance of the brain’s neurotransmitters. These are chemicals in the brain that allow nerve cells to communicate. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin. An imbalance in serotonin may be an important factor in the development and severity of depression. SSRIs affect how much serotonin is available by blocking its reabsorption during transmission from one nerve cell in the brain to another. Serotonin is released from one nerve cell and passed to the next. In the process, some of the serotonin released is reabsorbed by the first nerve cell. SSRIs block the reabsorption of serotonin into the first nerve cell. It is this blocking action that causes an increased amount of serotonin to become available at the next nerve cell. This is how SSRIs affect the balance of serotonin in the brain.

WHEN YOU SHOULD NOT USE THIS MEDICINE: You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to citalopram. You should not use citalopram within 14 days before or after taking an MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitor such as phenelzine (Nardil ®), isocarboxazid (Marplan ®), tranylcypromine (Parnate ®), or selegeline (Eldepryl ®).


Are Antidepressants Effective?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are believed to relieve depression by increasing the effectiveness of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. In a review published four years ago, Irving Kirsch, PhD, first suggested that the antidepressants are just slightly more effective than a placebo. The findings were widely criticized by mental health professionals at the time, and Kirsch says the latest review attempts to address the criticisms.

Kirsh and colleagues pooled data from roughly 40 studies of six SSRIs that won FDA approval between 1987 and 1999. The drugs included Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Effexor, and Serzone. All of the studies compared depression relief among patients treated with the SSRIs with those given placebos. The patients were not told which treatment they were getting, and both groups improved. Using a standardized 50-point depression scale, the pooled results showed that patients treated with antidepressants had a 10-point improvement, while those given placebos improved by 8 points.

Kirsch concedes that the design of the placebo-controlled studies may mask the true effectiveness of the antidepressants and overstate the effectiveness of the placebos. But he adds that the finding also clearly suggests that too many people are relying on unproven drugs to treat the symptoms of depression.

"People may be better off exploring other treatment options such as psychotherapy or exercise, which has been shown to reduce depression. And the side effect of physical exercise is better health. That is much better than the loss of sexual function, tremors, agitation, diarrhea, and nausea that are side effects of SSRIs."


Links: - Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc. public relations site
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