Medication and Treatment Reviews

Celexa

Generic Name: Citalopram hydrobromide

Uses

Celexa is a once-daily antidepressant medication primarily used to treat depression or major depressive disorder in adolescents and adults. Its safety has not been established for children.

It may help to relieve common symptoms of depression including disinterest in typical activities, impaired concentration, change in weight or appetite, and insomnia.

Celexa is sometimes used off label to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, or hot flashes that accompany menopause.

How to Use Celexa

Before starting or refilling a Celexa prescription, read the medication guide included with your pills, as it may be updated with new information.

This guide should not replace a conversation with your doctor, who has a holistic view of your medical history, other diagnoses, and other prescriptions. If you have questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist before you begin taking the medication.

Dosage

As with all medications, follow your Celexa prescription instructions exactly. Celexa is taken orally, with or without food, once daily, in the morning or evening.

Do not drink alcohol while taking this drug.

Capsules are available in 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg dosages.

The optimal dosage varies patient by patient, but should not exceed 40mg daily. If you are over 60 years of age, or have certain health conditions, your doctor may recommend a lower dosage.

Your doctor may incrementally adjust your daily dosage until you experience the best response — that is, until you find the lowest dosage at which you experience the greatest improvement in symptoms without side effects.

During treatment, your doctor should evaluate an adolescent’s height and weight because Celexa can cause changes in appetite. If any problems are found, your doctor may recommend discontinuing treatment.

When discontinuing treatment, or decreasing dosage, patients should work with a doctor to gradually taper the level of medication. Stopping Celexa suddenly can create withdrawal symptoms including dizziness, nausea, anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbance, and electric shock-like sensations.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Celexa are similar to those associated with Prozac, Zoloft, and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and are as follows:

Adolescents: increased thirst, abnormal increase in muscle movement or agitation, nose bleed, urinating more often, heavy menstrual periods, and possible slowed growth rate and weight change.

Adolescents and Adults: nausea, sleepiness, weakness, dizziness, feeling anxious, trouble sleeping, sexual problems, sweating, shaking, not feeling hungry, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, respiratory infections, and yawning.

Other serious side effects include increased risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts, and seizures.

Taking Celexa may impair your or your teenager’s ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform other potentially dangerous tasks. This side effect usually wears off with time. If side effects are bothersome, or do not go away, talk to your doctor. Most people taking this medication do not experience any of these side effects.

Disclose to your physician all mental health issues including any family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, mania, or depression. The manufacturer, Allergan, recommends evaluating patients for bipolar disorder prior to administration of Celexa to avoid inducing a manic episode. Celexa may create new or exacerbate existing behavior problems, bipolar disorder, or suicidal ideation, especially in the first few months of treatment or after a dosage change. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences new or worsening mental health symptoms including reckless behavior, hallucinations, or sudden excessive happiness or irritability.

Celexa increases Serotonin levels in the brain, and can rarely lead to life-threatening serotonin syndrome, or toxicity. If you or your child experiences changes in mental status, coordination problems, muscle twitching, racing heartbeat, high or low blood pressure, sweating, vomiting or diarrhea, seek medical help immediately.

Report to your doctor any heart-related problems or a family history of heart and blood pressure problems. Patients with structural cardiac abnormalities and other serious heart problems could experience sudden death, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure while taking Celexa. Physicians should monitor these vital signs closely during treatment. Call your doctor immediately if you or your child experiences warning signs such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or fainting while taking Celexa.

Discuss any bleeding disorders or irregular sodium levels with your doctor. Celexa can cause abnormal bleeding for some patients, and low salt concentration in the blood. The elderly may be at greater risk for these problems.

The above is not a complete list of potential side effects. If you notice any health changes not listed above, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Precautions and Safety

Store Celexa in a secure place out of the reach of children, and at room temperature. Do not share your Celexa prescription with anyone, even another person with depression. Sharing prescription medication is illegal, and can cause harm.

You should not take Celexa if you:

  • Are allergic to citalopram hydrobromide, escitalopram oxalate, or any of its other ingredients
  • Have taken, or plan to take an antidepressant monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI within 14 days
  • Take the antipsychotic medication pimozide (Orap)
  • Have existing heart problems

You should use caution taking Celexa, and speak with your doctor if you have liver or kidney problems, seizures, bipolar disorder, low blood sodium levels, a history of stroke or high blood pressure, or a history of bleeding problems.

If you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, discuss the use of Celexa with your doctor. Animal studies indicate a potential risk of fetal harm. Celexa is passed through breastmilk, so it is recommended that mothers do not nurse while taking it.

Celexa is not approved for use in pediatric patients.

Interactions

Before taking Celexa, discuss all other active prescription medications with your doctor. Celexa can have a dangerous, possibly fatal, interaction with antidepressants including MAOIs. Taking Celexa while taking blood thinners like Coumadin, ibuprofen, or aspirin can increase the risk of abnormal bleeding. Using Celexa concurrently with medication that increases serotonin – like St. John’s wort, SSRIs, tryptophan, or street drugs like MDMA – can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.

Share a list of all vitamin or herbal supplements, and prescription and non-prescription medications, you take with the pharmacist when you fill your prescription, and let all doctors and physicians know you are taking Celexa before having any surgery or laboratory tests.

Some medications and supplements that can interact with Celexa include: medicines for heart problems; medicines that lower potassium or magnesium levels; cimetidine; triptans for migraines; medicines used to treat mood, anxiety, and thought disorders; and tramadol.

The above is not a complete list of all possible drug interactions.

Sources:

http://www.allergan.com/assets/pdf/celexa_pi
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm088568.pdf

12 reviews

  1. I am currently going through the process of weaning off of 20 mg of Celexa, which I have been on for about 10 months. While Celexa seemed to help a little bit, a few months ago I started noticing my irritability coming back and realized it was likely more connected to my ADD than anything else. I also gained 25 pounds on Celexa in 8 months, which made me feel (surprise!) a little bit depressed about myself. So, I decided I’d try to wean off of Celexa.

    The problem I’m now experiencing is that the weaning process is making my ADHD OUT OF CONTROL. Even though I take 10 mg of Adderall twice a day, I feel like my pre-medication self. I have been forgetting things at work on a regular basis; I have been irritable as all get out; and I’m super tired, among other issues.I am going to talk to my doctor about upping my Adderall dosage at the end of this week, but I’m not sure if there’s anything else I can do.

    1. I was at 20 mg of Celexa and dropped to 10 mg with no problem. In fact, that dosage is enough for me, and I am still there. I also am prescribed Bupropion (Wellbutrin) for depression, and it also has some effect on ADHD.

  2. When I was young I had ADHD but as I grew older it got better. I tried Wellbutrin and then Adderall and it was like a light going on in my head; it took away the fear and gave me a calm I never had. Then I was prescribed Celexa for my depression (I had tried Prozac, Lithium, and Wellbutrin but there were too many side effects). Celexa was a life savor!

  3. I am the queen of drug-sensitivity; I have tried EVERY antidepressant with brutal side effects; As for anti-anxiety, I have been on Bu-Spar for several years with no issues and it actually works. Currently I am on Celexa for the depression only because it keeps me somewhat stable without side effects. My therapist has recommended ECT therapy as my last resort. That’s another story…I have been taking Adderall along with the Celexa and Bu-Spar safely, but am wondering if the Adderall is doing what it is supposed to.

  4. I haven’t been officially diagnosed with ADD yet, but after doing research for my son, I am more and more suspicious that I have at least a mild case. However, my periods are insane. I track my period so I can double my dose of Celexa (an antidepressant I take every day) the week before my period. Otherwise I’m so irritable, I’m borderline abusive. The Celexa really helps! I also take 1000 mg of salmon oil daily to help with spacey/forgetfulness; it does my cholesterol levels good too. 1 mg Melatonin is the only way I can get to sleep at night (any more than that and I am groggy for the whole day, but my husband takes 5mg). But I still have no energy, no motivation, and monster cramps once I start my period. Exercise helps a little, if I can get off the couch long enough.

  5. My 10 year son has ADD/Anxiety. He is on celexa for anxiety and intuniv only for ADHD. We had terrible problems with almost all stimulants causing him to talk about hurting himself. He would also get very volatile. The Intuniv isn’t doing much of anything to be honest. We have been doing CBT for about 6 months and was just told that she can’t really help him because his executive functioning is so bad. I am super nervous about putting him back on any kind of stimulant.

  6. I tried it for 45 days. Initially, I was in a good mood and had some drive, but once I started to metabolize, my depression came back with a vengeance, sweating was another problem. I sweated a lot the entire trial. I really didn’t like it; it was also very expensive.

  7. I’ve been taking Celexa for over a year for anxiety. I have found that I need a stimulant and Celexa to help with my anxiety. Adderall XR 30 mg. daily with Celexa 20 mg. daily has worked for me, along with Adderall 5 mg. at 12:00 noon, to carry me through the afternoon.

  8. My son is 4 (about to turn 5) and has ADHD/Anxiety, SPD and possibly ODD. We started meds last Nov. First Ritalin I think. Two days later I took him off. His anxiety was so bad he wouldn’t leave the house and was scared of everything. Then Adderall. It took the edge off the aggressiveness but he is still impulsive and super hyperactive. He has been on it since Nov. Then we tried Celexa a few months ago and the hyperactivity was through the roof. Again I stopped after 2 days. However, my son wasn’t talking before the Celexa. He would only talk about what he wanted talk about for a few sentences. During and still after the 2 days of Celexa he is talking non stop. It is nice. When I ask him how his day was I get more than “I don’t know” or “stop asking me”. He does stutter a little and repeat certain phrases a couple of times before he can get the sentence out but it is so much better than what it was. He is talking nonstop about everything now. Sometimes, we even have conversations. The anger explosions are less too, I think because he can communicate better. We added Intuniv after the Celexa. It helped a little with the hyperactivity. We increased to 2mg of Intuniv a day and he seems to be doing well with that. Last week we increased Adderall from 10mg to 15 and again, hyperactivity went through the roof. I am so glad to hear that other people have said that their children are very sensitive to medicine. The doctors keep saying things like “oh that small of an increase shouldn’t have had that effect” Ugh. I now just have him on Intuniv. He too is getting sleepy in the afternoon. After years of not sleeping, I don’t mind him getting tired. However, the noncompliance is still pretty bad. The physical aggressiveness with his younger sister is also pretty bad. I can NEVER take my eyes off of him. It is so exhausting. However, the hyperactivity seems to be calmed down. Anyway, have been on Intuniv only for less than a week. We will see how it goes.

  9. I was diagnosed in my early 30s now in late 30s with Inattentive ADHD. Years of unsuccessful management have brought me here looking for helpful tips to manage in my daily life and medication advice. I have steered clear of medication because I was misdiagnosed in my late teens with bi-polar disorder and was prescribed Depakote, which made me rapidly gain 40lbs and become a zombie. I was on this for two years before a caring psychiatrist realized I had been misdiagnosed and removed me from the medication. I was misdiagnosed again in my mid 20s with depression and prescribed Celexa for a year, which curbed my anxiety but did little to diminish my ADHD symptoms. I removed myself from the Celexa and felt more motivated but lacked focus

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