Generic Name: Citalopram hydrobromide
What is Celexa?
Celexa (Generic Name: citalopram hydrobromide) 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 for Celexa
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 Associated with Celexa
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 Associated with Celexa
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 Associated with Celexa
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.
Celexa and Other ADHD Medications: More Information
- Consult: Complete Overview of ADHD Medication Options
- Read: A Parent’s Guide to Psychiatric Medicines for Children
- Read: The Physician’s Guide to Distinguishing Bipolar Disorder and ADHD
- Free Download: The Complete Guide to ADHD Medications
- Find: ADHD Specialists and Clinics Near You