Citicoline is a brain chemical that occurs naturally in the body. It's in dietary supplements in the US, but was originally a prescription drug in Japan.

Citicoline seems to increase a brain chemical called phosphatidylcholine. Citicoline might also increase the amounts of other chemicals that send messages in the brain. It was originally used as a drug to help improve memory and brain function after a stroke.

People use citicoline for age-related decline in memory and thinking, glaucoma, stroke, Alzheimer disease, bipolar disorder, depression, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific research to support most of these uses.

Don't confuse citicoline with choline or phosphatidylcholine. These are not the same.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Taking citicoline by mouth or by IV seems to help with memory loss in people over 50 years old. IV products can only be given by a healthcare provider.
  • A group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma). Taking citicoline by mouth, as a shot, or as eye drops might improve vision in some people with glaucoma. Citicoline shots can only be given by a healthcare provider.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Stroke. Taking citicoline by mouth or by IV doesn't seem to help with recovery in most people who have had a stroke in the past 24 hours.
There is interest in using citicoline for a number of other purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Citicoline is possibly safe when used for up to 12 weeks. Side effects might include stomach pain, back pain, blurred vision, constipation, and headache.

When applied in the eye: Citicoline 2% eye drops are possibly safe when used for up to 3 years.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if citicoline is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Citicoline is possibly safe when taken by mouth for up to 1 year in children up to 13 years of age.

Interactions ?

We currently have no information for CITICOLINE Interactions.


Citicoline has most often been used by adults in doses of 500-1000 mg by mouth twice daily for up to 12 months. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.