Five trace impurities were detected in the bulk drug citalopram using high-performance liquid chromatography with UV detection. A simple and sensitive method suitable for liquid chromatography tandem multistage mass spectrometry (HPLC/MSn) analysis was developed. Using this method, the fragmentation behavior of citalopram and the impurities was investigated. Four impurities were rapidly characterized, and an unknown impurity was elucidated as 3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N-(1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-1-(4-fluorophenyl)-1,3-dihydroisobenzofuran-5-yl)-3-(4-fluorophenyl)-1,3-dihydroisobenzofuran-5-carboxamide on the basis of the MSn and exact mass evidence, and the proposed structure was further confirmed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments after preparative isolation. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.