Citalopram: Package Insert and Label Information

CITALOPRAM- citalopram hydrobromide tablet, film coated
American Health Packaging

Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs

Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of citalopram or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Citalopram is not approved for use in pediatric patients. (See WARNINGS: Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk, PRECAUTIONS: Information for Patients, and PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use.)

DESCRIPTION

Citalopram hydrobromide, an orally administered selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with a chemical structure unrelated to that of other SSRIs or of tricyclic, tetracyclic, or other available antidepressant agents. Citalopram hydrobromide is a racemic bicyclic phthalane derivative designated (±)-1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-1-(4-fluorophenyl)-1,3-dihydroisobenzofuran-5-carbonitrile, hydrobromide with the following structural formula:

Chemical Structure

The molecular formula is C 20 H 22 BrFN 2 O and its molecular weight is 405.35.

Citalopram hydrobromide USP occurs as a fine, white to off-white powder. Citalopram hydrobromide is sparingly soluble in water and soluble in ethanol.

Citalopram is available as film-coated round and capsule shaped tablets. The 20 mg and 40 mg tablets are scored in tablet dosage form. Their strengths reflect their citalopram base equivalent content. The 10 mg, 20 mg and 40 mg strength tablets contain 12.49 mg, 24.98 mg and 49.96 mg of citalopram hydrobromide, respectively.

The tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients: copovidone, corn starch, croscarmellose sodium, lactose monohydrate, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, microcrystalline cellulose, polyethylene glycol, and titanium dioxide. Iron oxides are used as coloring agents in the peach (10 mg) and light pink (20 mg) tablets.

CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY

Pharmacodynamics

The mechanism of action of citalopram hydrobromide as an antidepressant is presumed to be linked to potentiation of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system (CNS) resulting from its inhibition of CNS neuronal reuptake of serotonin (5-HT). In vitro and in vivo studies in animals suggest that citalopram is a highly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) with minimal effects on norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine (DA) neuronal reuptake. Tolerance to the inhibition of 5-HT uptake is not induced by long-term (14-day) treatment of rats with citalopram. Citalopram is a racemic mixture (50/50), and the inhibition of 5-HT reuptake by citalopram is primarily due to the (S)-enantiomer.

Citalopram has no or very low affinity for 5-HT 1A, 5-HT 2A , dopamine D 1 and D 2, α 1 -, α 2 -, and β-adrenergic, histamine H 1 , gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), muscarinic cholinergic, and benzodiazepine receptors. Antagonism of muscarinic, histaminergic, and adrenergic receptors has been hypothesized to be associated with various anticholinergic, sedative, and cardiovascular effects of other psychotropic drugs.

Pharmacokinetics

The single- and multiple-dose pharmacokinetics of citalopram are linear and dose-proportional in a dose range of 10 to 60 mg/day. Biotransformation of citalopram is mainly hepatic, with a mean terminal half-life of about 35 hours. With once daily dosing, steady state plasma concentrations are achieved within approximately one week. At steady state, the extent of accumulation of citalopram in plasma, based on the half-life, is expected to be 2.5 times the plasma concentrations observed after a single dose.

Clinical Efficacy Trials

The efficacy of citalopram as a treatment for depression was established in two placebo-controlled studies (of 4 to 6 weeks in duration) in adult outpatients (ages 18 to 66) meeting DSM-III or DSMIII-R criteria for major depression. Study 1, a 6-week trial in which patients received fixed citalopram doses of 10, 20, 40, and 60 mg/day, showed that citalopram at doses of 40 and 60 mg/day was effective as measured by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) total score, the HAMD depressed mood item (Item 1), the Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale, and the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) Severity scale. This study showed no clear effect of the 10 and 20 mg/day doses, and the 60 mg/day dose was not more effective than the 40 mg/day dose. In study 2, a 4-week, placebo-controlled trial in depressed patients, of whom 85% met criteria for melancholia, the initial dose was 20 mg/day, followed by titration to the maximum tolerated dose or a maximum dose of 80 mg/day. Patients treated with citalopram showed significantly greater improvement than placebo patients on the HAMD total score, HAMD item 1, and the CGI Severity score. In three additional placebo-controlled depression trials, the difference in response to treatment between patients receiving citalopram and patients receiving placebo was not statistically significant, possibly due to high spontaneous response rate, smaller sample size, or, in the case of one study, too low a dose.

In two long-term studies, depressed patients who had responded to citalopram during an initial 6 or 8 weeks of acute treatment (fixed doses of 20 or 40 mg/day in one study and flexible doses of 20 to 60 mg/day in the second study) were randomized to continuation of citalopram or to placebo. In both studies, patients receiving continued citalopram treatment experienced significantly lower relapse rates over the subsequent 6 months compared to those receiving placebo. In the fixed-dose study, the decreased rate of depression relapse was similar in patients receiving 20 or 40 mg/day of citalopram.

Analyses of the relationship between treatment outcome and age, gender, and race did not suggest any differential responsiveness on the basis of these patient characteristics.

Comparison of Clinical Trial Results

Highly variable results have been seen in the clinical development of all antidepressant drugs. Furthermore, in those circumstances when the drugs have not been studied in the same controlled clinical trial(s), comparisons among the results of studies evaluating the effectiveness of different antidepressant drug products are inherently unreliable. Because conditions of testing (e.g., patient samples, investigators, doses of the treatments administered and compared, outcome measures, etc.) vary among trials, it is virtually impossible to distinguish a difference in drug effect from a difference due to one of the confounding factors just enumerated.

INDICATIONS AND USAGE

Citalopram tablets are indicated for the treatment of depression.

The efficacy of citalopram tablets in the treatment of depression was established in 4 to 6 week, controlled trials of outpatients whose diagnosis corresponded most closely to the DSM-III and DSM-III-R category of major depressive disorder (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

A major depressive episode (DSM-IV) implies a prominent and relatively persistent (nearly every day for at least 2 weeks) depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning, and includes at least five of the following nine symptoms: depressed mood, loss of interest in usual activities, significant change in weight and/or appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, increased fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation. The antidepressant action of citalopram tablets in hospitalized depressed patients has not been adequately studied.

The efficacy of citalopram tablets in maintaining an antidepressant response for up to 24 weeks following 6 to 8 weeks of acute treatment was demonstrated in two placebo-controlled trials (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY). Nevertheless, the physician who elects to use citalopram tablets for extended periods should periodically re-evaluate the long-term usefulness of the drug for the individual patient.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

The use of MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders with citalopram tablets or within 14 days of stopping treatment with citalopram tablets are contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. The use of citalopram tablets within 14 days of stopping an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders are also contraindicated (see WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Starting citalopram tablets in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue is also contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome (see WARNINGS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION).

Concomitant use in patients taking pimozide is contraindicated (see PRECAUTIONS).

Citalopram tablets are contraindicated in patients with a hypersensitivity to citalopram or any of the inactive ingredients in citalopram tablets.

WARNINGS

WARNINGS-Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk

Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment.

Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18 to 24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.

The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk differences (drug vs. placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1.

TABLE 1
Age Range Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated

Increases Compared to Placebo

<18

14 additional cases

18-24

5 additional cases

Decreases Compared to Placebo

25-64

1 fewer case

≥65

6 fewer cases

No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.

It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.

All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.

The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.

Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms.

If the decision has been made to discontinue treatment, medication should be tapered, as rapidly as is feasible, but with recognition that abrupt discontinuation can be associated with certain symptoms (see PRECAUTIONS and DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION—Discontinuation of Treatment with Citalopram Tablets, for a description of the risks of discontinuation of citalopram).

Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for citalopram should be written for the smallest quantity of tablets consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.

QT-Prolongation and Torsade de Pointes

Citalopram causes dose-dependent QTc prolongation, an ECG abnormality that has been associated with Torsade de Pointes (TdP), ventricular tachycardia, and sudden death, all of which have been observed in postmarketing reports for citalopram.

Individually corrected QTc (QTcNi) interval was evaluated in a randomized, placebo and active (moxifloxacin 400 mg) controlled cross-over, escalating multiple-dose study in 119 healthy subjects. The maximum mean (upper bound of the 95% one-sided confidence interval) difference from placebo were 8.5 (10.8) and 18.5 (21) msec for 20 mg and 60 mg citalopram, respectively. Based on the established exposure-response relationship, the predicted QTcNi change from placebo (upper bound of the 95% one-sided confidence interval) under the C max for the dose of 40 mg is 12.6 (14.3) msec.

Because of the risk of QTc prolongation at higher citalopram doses, it is recommended that citalopram should not be given at doses above 40 mg/day.

It is recommended that citalopram should not be used in patients with congenital long QT syndrome, bradycardia, hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia, recent acute myocardial infarction, or uncompensated heart failure. Citalopram should also not be used in patients who are taking other drugs that prolong the QTc interval. Such drugs include Class 1A (e.g., quinidine, procainamide) or Class III (e.g., amiodarone, sotalol) antiarrhythmic medications, antipsychotic medications (e.g., chlorpromazine, thioridazine), antibiotics (e.g., gatifloxacin, moxifloxacin), or any other class of medications known to prolong the QTc interval (e.g., pentamidine, levomethadyl acetate, methadone).

The citalopram dose should be limited in certain populations. The maximum dose should be limited to 20 mg/day in patients who are CYP2C19 poor metabolizers or those patients who may be taking concomitant cimetidine or another CYP2C19 inhibitor, since higher citalopram exposures would be expected. The maximum dose should also be limited to 20 mg/day in patients with hepatic impairment and in patients who are greater than 60 years of age because of expected higher exposures.

Electrolyte and/or ECG monitoring is recommended in certain circumstances. Patients being considered for citalopram treatment who are at risk for significant electrolyte disturbances should have baseline serum potassium and magnesium measurements with periodic monitoring. Hypokalemia (and/or hypomagnesemia) may increase the risk of QTc prolongation and arrhythmia, and should be corrected prior to initiation of treatment and periodically monitored. ECG monitoring is recommended in patients for whom citalopram use is not recommended (see above), but, nevertheless, considered essential. These include those patients with the cardiac conditions noted above, and those taking other drugs that may prolong the QTc interval.

Citalopram should be discontinued in patients who are found to have persistent QTc measurements >500 ms. If patients taking citalopram experience symptoms that could indicate the occurrence of cardiac arrhythmias, e.g., dizziness, palpitations, or syncope, the prescriber should initiate further evaluation, including cardiac monitoring.

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