Celexa Side Effects

Celexa is a brand name of citalopram hydrobromide which is one of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRI), and are commonly prescribed for treatment of depression as well as other mental disorders. Cipramil is another brand name of citalopram hydrobromide. Celexa has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of major depressive disorders (mental disorders characterized by depressed mood, loss of pleasure in almost all activities and lasting for more than 2 weeks).

Celexa is available in the forms tablets (10mg, 20 mg and 40 mg) and oral solution (10mg/5ml). For adult patients with major depressive disorders, Celexa should be given at an initial dose of 20 mg orally once daily, with or without food, in the evening or morning. The dose can be increased after 1 week to a maximum dose of 40 mg orally once daily. Celexa dosing should be adjusted in patients with severely impaired liver or kidney functions. Celexa has not been approved for use in children.

Common Celexa side effects are nausea, diarrhea, sweating, dry mouth, anxiety, nervousness, decreased libido (sexual drive) and disorders of ejaculation.

Celexa is commonly used off-label for treatment of:
- Anxiety
- Panic disorder (sudden attacks of severe fear)
- Obsessive compulsive disorders (mental disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions)
- Premature ejaculation
- Hot flushes (transient bothersome hot sensation in the skin caused by hormonal imbalance of menopause)
- Premenstrual dystrophic disorder (emotional and physical disorders that occur before menstruation)
- Diabetic neuropathy (damage of nerves due to diabetes mellitus)

Celexa is also used off-label to prevent migraine (episodic attacks of severe headache).

Celexa should be withdrawn gradually as abrupt withdrawal may lead to SSRI withdrawal syndrome, in which the patient experiences insomnia, sweating, nausea, electric shock-like sensations, tremors, confusion, shaking and night mares.

Black Box Warnings: Celexa can elevate the risk for suicide especially in patients under age 24 who have other mental diseases, such as major depressive disorders. The risk may increase when the dose is changes or within the first few months of treatment. All patients receiving Celexa should be observed for symptomatic worsening, suicidal thoughts and unusual changes in behavior mood.

Common Celexa Side Effects:

Central Nervous System (CNS):
- Nervousness
- Tremors (involuntary movements that may affect any part of the body especially hands and arms)
- Vivid dreaming (conscious dreaming)
- Mood swings
- Headache
- Paraesthesia (sensation of pins and needles) has been reported during post-marketing experience

Gastrointestinal Tract (GIT):
- Nausea
- Dry mouth
- Diarrhea
- Dyspepsia (painful, difficult, or disturbed digestion)
- Anorexia (loss of appetite)
- Flatulence and increased saliva production have been reported during post-marketing experience

Reproductive System:
- Reduced libido (sexual drive)
- Impotence (inability to achieve or maintain penile erection sufficient for sexual activity)
- Disorders of ejaculation, such as ejaculator anhedonia (loss of pleasure from sexual activity)
- Anorgasmia (inability to achieve orgasm)
- Genital anaesthesia (loss of sensation of genital organs)
- Amenorrhea (cessation of menstruation), galactorrhea (secretion of milk-like substance from the breast unrelated to breast feeding) and vaginal hemorrhage have been reported during post-marketing experience
- The above mentioned reproductive side effects may persist for years after withdrawal of the drug. This phenomenon is called Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction.

Urinary system: the following side effects have been reported during the post-marketing experience.
- Urinary incontinence (loss of urine control)
- Frequency of micturation
- Urinary retention
- Dysuria (difficult urination)
- Pyelonephritis (inflammation of the renal pelvis)
- Hematuria (passage of blood with the urine)

Other Celexa Side Effects:
- Insomnia (inability to get enough amount of sleep)
- Somnolence (strong desire for sleep)
- Increased sweating
- Asthenia (loss of energy and strength)
- Frequent urination
- Excessive yawning
- Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, cough, nausea, vomiting and fatigue
- Bruxism (involuntary clenching of the teeth)
- Perverted taste, skeletal pain and muscle weakness have been reported during post-marketing experience

Serious Celexa Side Effects:

Central Nervous System (CNS):
- Elevated risk for suicide
- Serotonin syndrome (life-threatening condition due to increased serotonin levels in the CNS. Symptoms and signs include rapid heart rate, dilated pupils, sweating, exaggerated reflex, high blood pressure, elevated body temperature and shock)
Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (life-threatening neurological condition manifested by decreased level of consciousness, pallor, fever, rigidity of muscle, hallucination and unstable blood pressure and racing heart beats)
Extrapyramidal syndrome (movement disorders characterized by involuntary movements, muscle spasm, restlessness and uncoordinated speech)
- Hallucination
- Worsening depression
- Mania (abnormal elevated mood)
- Seizures (convulsions)

Cardiovascular System (CVS):
- Prolongation of the QT interval
- Torsades de pointes (abnormally accelerated heart beats)

The cardiovascular side effects of Celexa can be life-threatening. Symptoms and signs include:
- Fainting or dizziness
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- Chest discomfort
- Slow or fast heartbeats

Endocrine System:
- Hypoglycemia (decreased blood glucose level)
- Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone hypersecretion (retention of water, sodium and other electrolyte in the body due to elevated levels of antidiuretic hormone)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and gynecomastia (abnormal enlargement of the male breast) have been reported during post-marketing experience

- Increased risk for bleeding and bruises, especially if Celexa is co-administrated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., aspirin) or anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin)
- Altered platelet functions (platelets are type of blood cells that prevent bleeding)
- Anemia (reduction in red blood cells or hemoglobin) and epistaxis (nosebleed) have been reported during post-marketing experience

Others Serious Side Effects of Celexa:
- Priapism (persistent and or painful penile erection that occurs without sexual stimulation and lasts for more than 4 hours)
- Anaphylactic reaction (life-threatening allergic reaction. Symptoms include skin rash, itching, breathing problems and swelling of the face, eyes, tongue or mouth)
- Neonatal persistent pulmonary hypertension (abnormal elevation of blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. This side effect occurs if Celexa is used after the 20th week of pregnancy)
- Neonatal serotonin syndrome , especially if Celexa is given during the third trimester of pregnancy
- Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver), abnormal glucose tolerance and dyspnea (shortness of breath) have been reported during post-marketing experience

Celexa Contraindications, Cautions, and Drug Interactions:
- Celexa should not be used in patients with history of allergy to it.
- Celexa should be used with caution in patients with any of the following disorders:
- Congenital QT syndrome
- Uncorrected electrolyte abnormalities
- After the 20th weeks of pregnancy
- Liver impairment
- Severe kidney impairment
- Seizures (convulsions)
- Hyponatremia, especially in elderly patients receiving Celexa
- Mania (manifested by excessive irritability, racing thoughts unusual ideas and trouble sleeping)
- Volume depletion
- Patients under 25 years old
- Elderly patients

Celexa should not be used at the same time with any of the following drugs and chemicals:
- Cisapride
- Dronedarone
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Pimozide
- Thioridazine
- Alcohol

The above mentioned contraindications, cautions and interactions of Celexa are the most important ones, for a complete list see the manufacture’s prescriber guidelines, and for specific concerns, please consults your healthcare provider.

Pharmacology: Celexa works by inhibiting the neuronal reuptake of serotonin (5-HT) in CNS. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that is associated with many functions, such as mood, appetite, sleep and sexual drive.

The absorption of Celexa is not affected by food. The peak blood levels occur at about 4 hours after a single oral dose of 40mg.

Celexa is metabolized in the liver mainly by the enzymes, CYP3A4 and CYP2C19. Its plasma half life is 35 hours.

Celexa is excreted primarily in the urine (10% unchanged) and feces.

Pregnancy and Lactation: Celexa is considered a pregnancy category C medication, i.e., administration of celexa may not be safe during pregnancy. Taking Celexa after the 20th week of pregnancy may lead to neonatal persistent pulmonary hypertension. Neonatal serotonin syndrome may occur if Celexa is given during the third trimester of pregnancy

Celexa is excreted through breast milk. Use of Celexa in a nursing mother was associated with weight loss and drowsiness in infants.


samantha causey on April 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm.

Ive taken celexa before. I just started taking it again 2days ago, 10mg. I thought i may have gotten the flu or something. But i think im having side effects which ive never had before. Terrible stomach pain, diarrhea, feeling like im going to vomit. Is this something i should call the dr about because i dont want to take my medicine again if its going to make me feel this way.


Shawnna on April 11, 2012 at 11:56 pm.

I had the same problem when I started taking celexa but it resolved after 2 weeks


Lindsay on April 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm.


I was taking Celexa (10mg) and then was switched to wellbutrin. I hated it- and asked to be put back on Celexa (20mg), I to have been experiencing side effects that I have not had before but, I know that the benefits out weight the side effects. The side effects are temporary. If you are taking the medicine in the morning- try switching to evening, just before you go to bed. This way, you would sleep through most of it. Just try to stick with it for two weeks and I bet the side effects will diminish. Sure hope this helps and feel better soon!


Jaime on April 13, 2012 at 5:01 pm.

I had similar side effects — had also taken it before, but this was the first time they occurred. I had excessive sweating, dry mouth, major nausea, and was vomiting for a full day about a week into getting onto the medicine. The good news is, it stopped after that. The bad news is, I just increased my dose by 5 mg last night and my vision is blurred and I have an awful headache. Let’s hope it does the trick with the depression/anxiety. Otherwise, a lot of pain for nothing!


Luann McFarland on May 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm.

I had the same reaction and had to quit taking celexa, I felt worse while taking it than before taking it, now have to wait for it to come out of my system before trying something else.
Hopefully by now you have contacted your dr abaout it.


Linda K on May 20, 2012 at 7:12 pm.

I have been on celexa 40mg daily for 3.5 weeks now. I love how it makes me feel. However, last nite I started with a bad headache, migraine, all my major joints hurt, Shoulders, hips, knees, wrists and back, and severe insomnia. I am nauseated and feel like I am going to vomit. Severe co0nstipation also. I do not want to d/c the celexa and will tc my family MD on Monday. Any suggestions???
Thank you!


Mary Giardino on April 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm.

Wondering if med could cause weight gain or trouble loing weight????


Rosa De Angelis on April 26, 2012 at 12:55 pm.

I just started taking Celexa, and I’m worried about the side effects. I’m Diabetic and would like to have more information. Is it dangerous for me I’m taking 20 mg once a day. Should I stay on them or not I’m afraid of what it can do to my body. Please let me know.

Thank You,


oldprincess on June 25, 2012 at 11:56 am.

Get off this drug asap….with a doctor\s supervision. Have been taking it for 11 years and has done nothing but harm and weaning off is all but impossible


Benedict Barnabas on May 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm.

My wife has been taking Celexa for the past two and a half years. After a month of starting, she had a H1N1 vaccine. There was a big swelling on the location of the needle prick. On the third day of the vaccine, her left side below her waist got paralyzed. I am wondering if this a combination of H1N1 vanccine and Celexa or just Celexa or just H1N1 vaccine. Since one of the major side effect of Celexa is CNS, I am wondering if Celexa could be an issue. H1N1 vaccince seem to have this side effective too. Can you comment on this?


oldprincess on June 25, 2012 at 11:58 am.

Where have you been? HiNI is deadly. Doctors and nurses will not take it. Wash your hands with soap and hot water several times a day…much safer than this vaccine and actually works.


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