Drugs Q & A

Is Citalopram a Controlled Substance?

Controlled substances are illegal or prescription drugs regulated by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in the United States. Recognizing the potential that certain medications have for abuse and dependence, Congress enacted the CSA as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.

This act categorizes all substances that are regulated under federal law into “schedules,” depending on how potentially dangerous they are. The schedule the drug is placed under depends on its medical use, its potential for abuse, and its safety or how easily people become dependent on it.

Careful consideration has gone into this categorization. The control of drugs through law exists to protect people from the harm that these drugs can do. It is based on research from many different sources into the potential harmfulness of the drug, both to individuals and to society.

What is citalopram?

Citalopram oral tablet is a prescription drug that’s available as the brand-name drug Celexa. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version. Citalopram is used to treat depression. It may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications. Citalopram is also available as an oral solution.

Citalopram is part of the antidepressant drug class called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. SSRIs act in your brain to increase levels of a substance called serotonin. Having more serotonin in your brain can improve symptoms of depression.

Can you get high off citalopram?

Citalopram is not a popular drug of abuse, however, a person may abuse it in hopes of achieving a euphoric high or drastically improving their mood. In instances like this, a person may take larger or more frequent doses of Citalopram to get high.

Is citalopram a controlled substance?

No, citalopram is not classified as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in the United States. However, citalopram has a black box warning because a small subset of people who take the drug may experience worsened depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and potentially other psychiatric problems.

A black box warning is the FDA’s most stringent warning for drugs and medical devices on the market. Black box warnings, or boxed warnings, alert the public and health care providers to serious side effects, such as injury or death.

Can you get addicted to citalopram?

Citalopram misuse or abuse doesn’t necessarily indicate addiction, however when someone does misuse any controlled substance, they are much more likely to become addicted to it. With Citalopram addiction, a person may experience strong cravings for the drug. Antidepressants don’t give the euphoric feeling that other drugs do, meaning they can’t get you high. However, since this medication improves mood, high doses of it might induce this euphoric feeling.

Some signs of citalopram addiction include changes in appetite, strange sleep patterns, slurred speech, or diminished appearance. For those struggling with citalopram addiction, there are many treatment centers throughout the United States that can help them to overcome their cravings and live a drug-free life.


Dr. Oche Otorkpa PG Cert, MPH, PhD

Dr. Oche is a seasoned Public Health specialist who holds a post graduate certificate in Pharmacology and Therapeutics, an MPH, and a PhD both from Texila American University. He is a member of the International Society of Substance Use Professionals and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health in the UK. He authored two books: "The Unseen Terrorist," published by AuthorHouse UK, and "The Night Before I Killed Addiction."
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