Citalopram (Molecule of the Month for October 2007)
Celexa, Cipramil, Citrol, Seropram, Recital, Recital, Celepram, Zetalo, Zentius, Cipram
Citalopram is an antidepressant drug used to treat depression associated with mood disorders. Citalopram is primarily used to treat the symptoms of depression but can also be prescribed for social anxiety disorder, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Also prescribed in Huntington's disease and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It is also used on occasion in the treatment of body dysmorphic disorder and anxiety.
Citalopram has been found to significantly reduce the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy and premature ejaculation. There is also evidence that citalopram may be effective in the treatment of post-stroke pathological crying.
Citalopram belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). In the brain, messages are passed between two nerve cells via a synapse, a small gap between the cells. The cell that sends the information releases neurotransmitters (of which serotonin is one) into that gap. The neurotransmitters are then recognized by receptors on the surface of the recipient (postsynaptic) cell, which upon this stimulation, in turn, relays the signal. About 10% of the neurotransmitters are lost in this process, the other 90% are released from the receptors and taken up again by monoamine transporters into the sending (presynaptic) cell (a process called reuptake). To stimulate the recipient cell, SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin. As a result, the serotonin stays in the synaptic gap longer than it normally would, and may be recognized again (and again) by the receptors of the recipient cell, stimulating it.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for October 2007 )