What Are the Different Types of Citalopram Tablets?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Citalopram tablets, which contain a medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), vary most by strength and color. The drug comes in two different shapes, and may have slightly different inactive ingredients. Some manufacturers offer this medicine in an elixir form for people who have difficulty swallowing pills. An updated version of this antidepressant, called escitalopram, also exists, but is not the same medication.

The typical strengths of citalopram tablets are 10 milligrams (mg), 20 mg, and 40 mg. Doses higher than 40 mg are generally not thought to be therapeutically beneficial. There is no right strength that works for every person, and patients can be just as commonly helped with 10 mg as they are with 40 mg.

It’s often a good idea to compare the tablets to other versions of the medication. In the case of citalopram, the elixir form dispenses 10 mg of citalopram with 5 milliliters of solution. This form may be most often used for children. On the other hand, some adults have difficulty swallowing pills and may prefer the elixir to citalopram tablets.

In most instances, patients using this drug do use the pill form. They may notice a variety of colors when they get their medication. It’s common to get white, yellow, and light or bright orange or red pills. As one color doesn't always correspond to a certain strength, people should not rely on this if they start getting the tablets from a different manufacturer.


There is considerably less variation in the shape of citalopram tablets. Usually they are either round or oval. Some tablets are coated, and many of the pills are wholly or partially scored.

Except for the presence of different dyes, there are unlikely to be significant changes in the formula in regard to inactive ingredients. To form and stabilize the medication, ingredients like cellulose, polyethylene glycol, and lactose are often used. If patients have sensitivities to chemicals, they might, with the help of a pharmacist, be able to locate a supplier that doesn’t include these in citalopram tablets. This may not always be possible.

As mentioned, an updated version of citalopram tablets is available. This is called escitalopram, and it is an enatiomer, or non-symmetrical mirror image, of the older antidepressant’s chemical structure. For patients who are happy with citalopram, the only reason this is worthy of note is when prescriptions are filled. If a new tablet looks considerably different, it might possibly be escitalopram. It may help to know the usual strengths of escitalopram tablets are slightly different, at 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg.


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Post 3

@ysmina-- Are your tablets scored? That is, do they have a line in the middle? You can use that line as a guide to cut them evenly into two. Yes, cutting them into quarters are tricky.

If you need to reduce the dose less than a half or a quarter, you can do that by dissolving a whole citalopram tablet in a bottle of water and then measuring the water/dose. For example, if you want to take a quarter, simply pour out half the bottle, and then another half. You can pour out another half to get half a quarter dose which would be 1.25mg.

This is a good way to reduce doses slowly for people who have a lot of citalopram side effects.

Post 2

@ysmina-- Have you asked your doctor about the elixir form of citalopram?

I didn't know that a citalopram elixir was available until now but I'm sure that it must be much easier to take lower doses with the elixir.

Post 1

I was on citalopram 10mg for two years. For the past six months, I've been taking 5mg and it seems to be just as effective as the 10mg. I have not had any anxiety attacks since reducing my dose.

I'm thinking about slowly withdrawing from the medication because I feel considerably better and the issues that had been giving me anxiety have resolved. I know that it's important to reduce the dose slowly to avoid withdrawal citalopram withdrawal effects, but it's hard to do this with the 10mg tablet. I wish a 5mg tablet was available. I could split that into halves and quarters.

I can split the 10mg tablet into quarters but it's hard and the pieces are not equal.

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