US Brand Name: Celexa
Other Brand Names: Cipramil (Australia & UK)
Generic Name: citalopram hydrobromide
Other Forms: Oral solution
Class: Antidepressant, specifically SSRI.Read up on these sections if you haven’t done so already, because they cover a lot of information about multiple medications that I’m not going to repeat on many pages. I’m just autistic that way about not repeating myself.
FDA Approved Use: Depression
Off-Label Uses: Panic/Anxiety, Bipolar Depression, ADD/ADHD, OCD, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Lupus, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Eating Disorders, Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Celexa’s pros and cons:
Pros: Works well on the combination of anxiety & depression, is a good med to switch to if Prozac doesn’t work or poops out on you as you typically avoid the short-term side effects during the switch.
Cons: The weight gain is bad for an SSRI.
Celexa’s side effects:
Typical Side Effects: The usual for SSRIs – headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia, and diarrhea or constipation, weight gain, loss of libido. Most everything but the weight gain and loss of libido usually goes away within a couple of weeks.
Not So Common Side Effects: Tremor, acne, disruption in your menstrual cycle.
These may or may not happen to you don’t, so don’t be surprised one way or the other.
Freaky Rare Side Effects: Rectal hemorrhage. Hiccups that won’t stop. Mouse had the unending hiccups. Really, she did.
You aren’t going to get these. I promise.
Interesting Stuff Your Doctor Probably Won’t Tell You: For whatever reason people switching from Prozac to Celexa seem to avoid repeat visits from many of the side effects common to SSRIs. So if you’re going to switch from Prozac to Lexapro (the new & improved version of Celexa), you may want to go to Celexa first, then Lexapro. But only if you can get samples or your meds are covered by insurance.
Celexa’s Dosage and How to Take Celexa: Initial dosage of 20mg a day that can be increased to 40mg a day after at least one week. You can go up to 60mg a day, although there is little evidence from the clinical trials to support effectiveness at that dosage. Like any SSRI I recommend starting out with 10mg and then increasing to 20mg after a week. If you don’t feel anything go up to 30mg, but stay there until you’ve given it a try for a month, otherwise it’ll just be a pain in the ass to stop it. Even at 30mg you’ll know after a month if it’s going to do something for you.
Days to Reach a Steady State: About a week.
When you’re fully saturated with the medication and less prone to peaks and valleys of effects. You still might have peaks of effect after taking many meds, but with a lot of the meds you’ll have fewer valleys after this point. In theory anyway.
How Long Celexa Takes to Work: Like all SSRIs anywhere from a couple days to over a month. If you don’t feel any positive benefit after six weeks, then you should talk to your doctor about either another SSRI or trying a med that hits another neurotransmitter.
Celexa’s Half-Life & Average Time to Clear Out of Your System: Half-life is 35 hours. So it’s out of your system within 6-8 days.
How to Stop Taking Celexa: Your doctor should be recommending that you reduce your dosage by by 10-20mg a day every 6-8 days if you need to stop taking it if you need to stop taking it, if not more slowly than that. Make that 10-20mg a day every week just to make things easier on everyone. Based on the 35 hour half-life. For more information, please see the page on how to safely stop taking these crazy meds.
If you’ve worked your way up to a particular dosage, it’s usually best to spend this many days at the next lowest dosage before going down the next lowest dosage before that and so forth. This is the least sucky way to avoid problems when stopping any psychiatric medication. Presuming you have the option of slowly tapering off them.
How Celexa Works In Your Brain: Like all SSRIs Celexa (citalopram hydrobromide) doesn’t make you produce more serotonin, rather it makes your neurons soak for a longer period of time in the serotonin you already produce. Serotonin is one of the big three neurotransmitters responsible for depression, along with norepinephrine and dopamine. My wild-ass guess / rule of thumb is that imbalances of one or more of the three are responsible for 80% of the depression issues. It’s all just a matter of figuring out exactly the extent of the tweaking and what neurotransmitters you exactly need to tweak.
Comments: Mouse gained some noticeable weight on Celexa, but not as much as on the TCAs or other meds. It did wonders for her complexion as well. She would also wake up at 5:30 every morning in a state of hypomania. As one of those freaky morning people, I could go along with that. Ultimately, like any other med that messes with serotonin, Celexa was a bust for her. Hypomania is just not good. However, for many people in the bipolar 2 part of the spectrum, Celexa has been found to be a helpful SSRI. For people with unipolar depression, OCD, and panic/anxiety, it’s just like any other SSRI, it might be the one for you, it might not. You’ll have to try it and see. It’s pretty much been supplanted by its sibling Lexapro, which is showing to have better effects and fewer side effects than most SSRIs. Celexa’s only real advantage over Lexapro is that its size and dosage makes its much easier to discontinue than Lexapro.