Celexa May Cause Dose-Dependent Abnormal Heart Rhythms

Having already helped millions of patients relieve the symptoms associated with depression and anxiety, Celexa (generic: citalopram) has established itself as one of the premier antidepressant medications of this generation. However, a recent influx of adverse events has caused regulatory agencies around the world to question the safety and efficacy of Celexa. What once had a reputation for alleviating depression, is now a subject of great concern. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Celexa may cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart.

As a flagship prescription medication brought to the United States by Forest Laboratories, Celexa was approved by the FDA and ready for distribution by July 17, 1998. Indications on Celexa packaging acknowledge that it was approved by the FDA to assist in the treatment of several major depressive disorders (MDDs). However, millions of people initiate a Celexa regimen for the off label use of relieving anxiety.

Citalopram, the active ingredient found in Celexa, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). As an SSRI, citalopram is believed to influence specific aspects of an individual’s mood by increasing the ratio of serotonin in the brain. While the chemical reactions associated with mood disorders remain ambiguous, it is widely recognized that chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) facilitate communication between nerve cells in the brain and are involved in regulating many aspects of behavior. Subsequently, these neurotransmitters have a significant role in the development of mood disorders. Therefore, SSRIs are specifically designed to block the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain. In doing so, larger amounts of serotonin are able to stimulate nerve cells and influence the mood of an individual.

Unfortunately, the mechanism of action witnessed by citalopram has become the subject of great concern. Recently, SSRIs like citalopram have been linked to the development of severe birth defects. Subsequently, pregnant women who receive SSRI treatment may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to a child with a distinct set of congenital abnormalities.

Compounding the already ambiguous situation even further, is a recent Drug Safety Communication issued by the FDA. According to the notice, officials at the FDA are informing healthcare professionals and patients that Celexa should no longer be used at doses greater than 40 mg per day because it can cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart. Otherwise known as prolongation of the QT interval of the electrocardiogram (ECG), these changes in electrical activity may lead to the development of a fatal abnormal heart rhythm known as Torsade de Pointes.

Torsade de Pointes refers to a rare variety of ventricular tachycardia that exhibits distinct characteristics on ECGs. The ECG tracing in torsades demonstrates a polymorphic ventricular tachycardia with a characteristic illusion of a twisting of the QRS complex around the isoelectric baseline. It is also associated with a fall in arterial blood pressure, which can produce syncope. Torsades de Pointes can degenerate into ventricular fibrilation, which will lead to sudden death in the absence of medical intervention.

Accordingly, the FDA has determined that citalopram causes dose-dependent QT interval prolongation and should no longer be used at doses above 40 mg per day. Important safety information about the potential for QT interval prolongation and Torsade de Pointes with drug dosage and usage recommendations are being added to the package inserts of Celexa and its generic equivalents.

Do I Have a Celexa Lawsuit?

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If you or a loved one has been injured by Celexa, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-(949) 557-5800.