In Japan and Europe, Citicoline was originally used as a prescription drug to help improve memory, thinking, and brain function in people who are healing from a stroke. It is primarily used as a dietary supplement in the U.S.
Citicoline is taken by mouth or given as an injection to help memory loss due to aging, improve vision in people with glaucoma, and help with recovery in stroke patients. It is also used for Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, bipolar disorder, lazy eye, and other conditions of the brain. But there is no good scientific research to support these other uses.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness
Possibly Effective for
- Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Taking citicoline seems to help memory loss in people aged 50 to 85 years.
- 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.
Insufficient Evidence for
- Alzheimer disease. Some evidence shows that taking citicoline by mouth might improve learning, memory, and the ability to process information in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease.
- Lazy eye (amblyopia). Early research shows that giving citicoline as a shot for 15 days, or taking it by mouth for up to 1 year, might improve vision in people with a lazy eye.
- Bipolar disorder. Early research shows that taking citicoline does not improve depression or manic symptoms in people with bipolar disorder and cocaine addiction.
- Long-term blood flow problems in the brain (cerebrovascular diseases). There is some evidence that taking citicoline by mouth or injecting citicoline into the vein or muscle might improve memory and behavior in patients with long-term cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke.
- Cocaine use disorder. Early research shows that taking citicoline might reduce cocaine use in people with bipolar disorder and cocaine use disorder.
- A mental state in which a person is confused and unable to think clearly. Early research shows that taking citicoline before and after surgery does not decrease confusion or improve thinking in elderly people.
- Depression. There is some evidence that taking citicoline by mouth with an antidepressant called citalopram might help treat depression better than citalopram alone.
- Bleeding within the skull (intracranial hemorrhage). Early research shows that citicoline can increase strength in people who are recovering from a bleed in the brain.
- Vision loss due to blockage of the optic nerve (ischemic optic neuropathy). Early research shows that taking citicoline by mouth for 60 days might improve vision in people with ischemic optic neuropathy.
- Injury to the brain, spine, or nerves (neurological trauma). It's unclear whether citicoline can decrease the chance of dying or improve memory, learning, and speaking in people who suffer an injury to the brain. Some early research shows that it might be helpful, while other research shows that it is not.
- Parkinson disease. Some research shows that giving citicoline as a shot or taking it by mouth along with usual treatment might improve some of the symptoms of Parkinson disease, but not shaking (tremor).
- Schizophrenia. Some early research shows that adding citicoline to standard drug therapy can improve "negative" symptoms in people with schizophrenia. These symptoms include difficulty expressing emotions, showing interest in others, feeling pleasure, and more. But taking citicoline might not help with "positive" symptoms, such as hallucinations and paranoia. Other early research shows that citicoline does not seem to improve sensory gating in people with schizophrenia. Sensory gating is the ability to block out repetitive noises that are not important, and some people with schizophrenia have trouble doing this.
- Stroke. Some research shows that stroke patients who take citicoline by mouth or by IV within 24 hours of having the kind of stroke that is caused by a clot (ischemic stroke) may be more likely to have a complete recovery within 3 months. But not all research agrees. Citicoline might work best in people who can't receive a medicine called rtPA.
- Dementia caused by reduced blood flow to the brain (vascular dementia). Early research shows that citicoline does not help treat symptoms of vascular dementia.
- Attention deficit-hyperactive disorder (ADHD).
- Vision problems in people with diabetes (diabetic retinopathy).
- Other conditions.
When given by IV: Citicoline is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by a healthcare provider. Most people who are given citicoline by IV don't experience problematic side effects.
When given as a shot: Citicoline is POSSIBLY SAFE when given by a healthcare provider. Most people who are given citicoline as a shot don't experience problematic side effects.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Citicoline is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for up to 1 year in children up to 13 years of age.
We currently have no information for CITICOLINE Interactions.
- For decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age: 1000-2000 mg of citicoline per day.
- For a group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma): 500-1600 mg per day.
- For decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age: Healthcare providers give citicoline as an injection into the vein (by IV).
- For a group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma): Healthcare providers give citicoline as a shot into the muscle.
- For a group of eye disorders that can lead to vision loss (glaucoma): : Citicoline 2% eye drops, 3 drops per day for up to 3 years.
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.