K K Jain MD (

Dr. Jain is a consultant in neurology and has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Originally released August 18, 2003; last updated August 10, 2020; expires August 10, 2023

Historical note and terminology

Citalopram is a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor. Serotonin, or 5-hydroxytryptamine, was discovered in 1948 (Rapport et al 1948), and since then has played an increasing part in the understanding of human diseases, particularly those involving the nervous system. Fluoxetine, the first drug of this category, was introduced in 1988, and citalopram came a decade later. Escitalopram, the therapeutically active (S)-enantiomer of citalopram, as an improved follow-up compound for the potential treatment of depression, was approved in 2002.

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