Citalopram pharmacokinetics in patients with chronic renal failure and the effect of haemodialysis

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2000 Dec;56(9-10):699-703. doi: 10.1007/s002280000205.


Objective: To study the effects of severe renal failure and haemodialysis on the pharmacokinetics of citalopram.

Methods: Four patients with renal failure undergoing haemodialysis and eight healthy controls were given a single dose of citalopram. The concentrations of citalopram and its metabolites desmethylcitalopram and didesmethylcitalopram were measured in serum and urine. On a different day, the four patients undergoing haemodialysis were given another single dose of citalopram, and the drug concentrations were measured in serum from the artery leading to the dialyser and in the dialysate. In addition, one anuric patient treated with citalopram on a regular basis was included in the study.

Results: There were no significant differences between the two groups in any of the pharmacokinetic parameters with the exception of the renal clearance of citalopram, which was significantly lower in the renal failure group than in the control group (1.70 ml/min versus 66.2 ml/min, P<0.001). Oral clearance of citalopram was almost identical in the two groups (452 ml/min versus 456 ml/min). The process of haemodialysis cleared about 1% of the dose as citalopram and 1% as desmethylcitalopram only.

Conclusion: Severe renal failure does not affect the pharmacokinetics of citalopram and modification of the usual citalopram dose does thus not seem to be necessary. The contribution of haemodialysis to the total elimination of citalopram is negligible.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biotransformation
  • Citalopram / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dealkylation
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Citalopram