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  • The Dangers Of Mixing Celexa (Citalopram) & Ibuprofen

    Mixing Celexa & Ibuprofen | Interactions, Side Effects, & Risk Factors

    As an over-the-counter painkiller, ibuprofen may seem harmless. But every medication comes with potential side effects. And some drugs raise the risk of complications when taking ibuprofen, such as Celexa (citalopram).

    Interactions Between Celexa & Ibuprofen

    Celexa is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. One of its side effects is an increased risk of bleeding.

    Ibuprofen—sold under brand names Motrin and Advil—is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It also raises the risk of internal bleeding.

    Mixing Celexa and ibuprofen may cause bleeding events, such as:

    • nose bleeds
    • bleeding gums
    • cuts that don’t stop bleeding
    • bleeding in the gastrointestinal system (stomach or intestines)

    One job of an NSAID is to prevent blood clotting. While many people consider ibuprofen to be a blood thinner, it doesn’t thin your blood. More accurately described as an antiplatelet drug, ibuprofen extends the time it takes for blood platelets to come together and stop bleeding. 

    Blood clots form when you cut yourself, so you don’t lose too much blood. But if they form inside the body—such as in an artery—it can cause serious problems. NSAIDs can help with that, but they can also damage the gastrointestinal lining, causing bleeding and ulcers (sores).

    SSRI antidepressants like Celexa affect blood clotting differently. 

    Serotonin is what causes veins to constrict and blood platelets to change shape and clot to stop bleeding. Celexa prevents the reabsorption of serotonin that’s necessary for this process. As a result, platelets don’t behave properly, which can lead to excessive bleeding.

    Taking an NSAID with an SSRI compounds the risk of bleeding too much, especially in the gastrointestinal (GI) system.

    Side Effects Of Mixing Celexa & Ibuprofen

    If you take ibuprofen while you’re taking Celexa, you should be aware of the dangers of drug interactions. Internal bleeding can be hard to spot, but eventually, you’ll notice something isn’t right.

    Knowing these side effects of mixing Celexa and ibuprofen may help you catch the problem early:

    • unusual bruising
    • bleeding easily and excessively
    • dizziness or lightheadedness
    • drowsiness
    • weakness
    • blurred vision
    • severe headaches
    • coughing or vomiting blood (if it’s dried, it may look like coffee grounds)
    • blood in your stool (red or black tarry stool)

    Risk Factors Of Mixing Celexa & Ibuprofen

    Everyone has a higher risk of bleeding problems when they take Celexa or ibuprofen. But some people have risk factors that make it more likely they’ll have an issue and that it will be severe.

    Risk factors for mixing Celexa and ibuprofen are:

    • Age: people over 80 years old have a higher risk of bleeding issues with SSRIs
    • Frequency of use: occasional use of ibuprofen may not be cause for concern; taking it regularly with an SSRI is not a good idea
    • Dosage: the higher your dose of Celexa or ibuprofen, the greater the risk of bleeding
    • Medical history: if you have a history of GI bleeding, SSRIs are more dangerous
    • Kidney disease: research shows that the risk for GI bleeding goes up as kidney function deteriorates

    Alternative Painkillers To Ibuprofen

    Recent research shows that “GI bleeds while taking NSAIDs are more likely to be fatal, with a mortality rate of 21 [percent], whereas in patients not taking NSAIDs it is [seven percent].” Taking ibuprofen also gives you a four times higher risk of GI bleeding.

    Other NSAIDs, such as naproxen (Aleve) and diclofenac (Flector) carry the same risk.

    Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is an over-the-counter painkiller that isn’t known to cause bleeding or interact with Celexa (citalopram). While it comes with unique side effects, it may be a better option if you’re taking an SSRI. 

    Alternative Antidepressants To Celexa

    Some antidepressants have a high affinity for the serotonin receptor, while others have a low affinity. Studies show that those with a high affinity are more likely to cause bleeding problems. 

    Celexa has an intermediate affinity, so it’s not the safest choice to take with ibuprofen, but it’s not the worst, either. Mirtazapine (Remeron), doxepin (Silenor), nortriptyline (Pamelor) are antidepressants that have a lower risk of bleeding complications. 

    A healthcare professional can help you determine if a different antidepressant would be better for you. 

    To learn more about mixing Celexa and ibuprofen, speak with an Ark Behavioral Health specialist today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on June 24, 2022
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