Symptoms, treatment and when to call 911

Citalopram, which people may know by the brand name Celexa, is a drug that doctors commonly prescribe to treat depression. Stopping Celexa can cause withdrawal symptoms, even if a person does it gradually.

People report a wide range of Celexa withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, anxiety, and insomnia.

Restarting Celexa may relieve withdrawal symptoms, but it might not be a desirable solution for many people.

Other methods to prevent and treat Celexa withdrawal symptoms include drug tapering, which involves gradually reducing the dosage over a set period of time, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

In this article, we discuss the symptoms of Celexa withdrawal and how to treat them.

Celexa is an antidepressant that belongs to the family of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Doctors often prescribe SSRIs to treat depression in adults.

Celexa contains the active ingredient citalopram, which acts as an antidepressant by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Experts suggest that depression occurs when there are imbalances in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Low levels of serotonin in the brain can contribute to depressive symptoms.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved Celexa for the treatment of depression in adults. However, some doctors may prescribe the drug for other indicationslike:

All SSRIs have the potential to cause a person to experience withdrawal symptoms after stopping the drug. However, not everyone will experience these symptoms.

Clinical studies of Celexa withdrawal have shown that symptoms usually appear in A few days to stop the drug and last for a few weeks before gradually improving.

While people are more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms after abruptly stopping SSRIs, these symptoms can sometimes also occur with a gradual decrease.

However, doctors continue recommend gradual reduction of Celexa over a period of several weeks to several months, depending on how long a person takes it.

In some cases, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms that start later or last longer than usual. For this reason, doctors may mistakenly interpret a return of depressive symptoms as withdrawal from Celexa.

The symptoms that people most of the time report after stopping Celexa are dizziness, anxiety, and irritability.

Other signs and symptoms of withdrawal from SSRIs may include:

  • stunning
  • Vertigo
  • feelings of shock
  • burning or tingling sensation in the hands, legs, feet, and other parts of the body
  • tired
  • headache
  • nausea
  • tremor
  • diarrhea
  • visual disturbances
  • insomnia

Some people also report hypersensitivity of the genitals and premature ejaculation.

In an article by Psychotherapy and psychosomaticsresearchers report three cases of people who experienced withdrawal symptoms after stopping Celexa.

All three participants had gradually reduced their dose of Celexa before stopping the drug.

Celexa withdrawal symptoms started 1 to 5 days after completely stopping the drug and lasted between 1 week and 2 months.

People with Celexa withdrawal may need to talk to a doctor. The doctor may advise them to restart Celexa and gradually reduce their dosage.

They may also offer support for withdrawal symptoms, depending on the person’s experience.

Doctors sometimes recommend switching from Celexa to an SSRI with a longer half-life, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), which is less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms.

Other strategies may include group CBT and wellness therapy.

Repots show that some babies who were exposed to Celexa during the third trimester have developed complications requiring long hospital stays involving respiratory support and tube feeding.

However, stopping Celexa during pregnancy can lead to withdrawal symptoms and, more importantly, a return of depressive symptoms.

Because untreated depression can lead to health problems for the baby and the pregnant woman, doctors will need to weigh the benefits and risks of stopping Celexa during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Possible risks for the baby include:

  • prematurity
  • low birth weight
  • intrauterine growth restriction

Untreated depression during pregnancy can also affect a child’s development, potentially leading to:

  • greater impulsivity
  • dysfunctional social interactions
  • cognitive, behavioral and emotional difficulties

It can also affect the pregnant person, putting them at higher risk for postpartum depression and suicidality.

Other associations include increased hospital admissions and preeclampsia. Pregnant women with untreated depression may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as:

  • smoking
  • illicit drug use
  • unhealthy alcohol consumption
  • bad nutrition

People with Celexa withdrawal may need to talk to a doctor if symptoms are affecting their daily life.

The doctor can help them decide whether to restart Celexa or start a new SSRI with a lower risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Coping with Celexa withdrawal does not always require resuming antidepressant treatment. In some cases, doctors may recommend psychotherapy.

Anyone with suicidal thoughts or a return of severe depressive symptoms may need to call 911 for emergency help.

Some people experience prolonged periods of withdrawal symptoms from Celexa.

For example, people using SSRIs for long-term treatment may experience persistent withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. These may include:

  • disturbed mood
  • depression
  • emotional lability
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • difficulty concentrating
  • Memory dysfunction

Anyone with prolonged Celexa withdrawal symptoms should see a doctor.

People who stop taking Celexa may experience withdrawal symptoms, especially after long-term use of the drug.

Withdrawal symptoms may occur after abrupt or gradual discontinuation of the drug. Celexa withdrawal symptoms and their intensity may vary from person to person.

People who experience troubling Celexa withdrawal symptoms should talk to a doctor, who can help them find ways to manage the symptoms.

Severe depressive symptoms and suicidal tendencies require immediate medical attention.

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