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  • Celexa Side Effects | Short-Term & Long-Term Effects

    Celexa Side Effects | Short-Term & Long-Term Effects

    Just like most other medications, Celexa has a variety of rare and common side effects that range from mild to severe

    It’s important to take potential side effects into account and inform your healthcare provider if more serious ones appear. Providers can change your medication or dosage. 

    What Is Celexa?

    Celexa is the brand name for citalopram. It’s classified by the FDA as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant prescription drug used to treat depression. 

    It can also be used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

    It works by restoring the balance of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain.

    Short-Term Side Effects Of Celexa

    Celexa comes with some possible short-term side effects that will likely go away the longer you take it.

    Allergic Reactions

    It’s difficult to know whether you’re allergic to Celexa before you begin taking it. If you experience itching, flushing, swelling, or trouble breathing once you start taking it, you should contact a healthcare professional and get medical attention as soon as possible. 

    Sexual Side Effects

    Both men and women who take this antidepressant medication have been shown to have a lower sex drive. Men who take it can also become impotent and women may find it more difficult to achieve an orgasm.

    Suicidal Thoughts & Behavior

    As with most antidepressants, your depression, suicidal ideation, and overall mental health can become worse when you first start taking Celexa. That being said, this is most likely to occur in people who are under 25 or who just had their dosage changed.

    If you’re feeling suicidal while on Celexa, call your doctor immediately. It may not be the right antidepressant for you.

    Serotonin Syndrome

    Serotonin syndrome may occur, especially if you take another medication that increases the serotonin levels in your brain. These other medications include St. John’s wort, SSRIs, and SNRIs like fluoxetine, paroxetine, duloxetine, venlafaxine, and tryptophan.

    Symptoms of serotonin syndrome can include:

    • agitation 
    • confusion
    • rapid heart rate
    • high blood pressure
    • dilated pupils
    • twitching muscles

    Other Side Effects

    Additional short-term sides effects of Celexa may include:

    • constipation
    • headache
    • tiredness/drowsiness
    • nausea
    • chest pain
    • vomiting
    • dry mouth
    • loss of appetite
    • glaucoma
    • eye pain
    • tremors
    • fainting
    • trouble sleeping
    • irregular heartbeat

    Long-Term Side Effects Of Celexa

    There are also a few long-term adverse effects that can occur when taking Celexa. 

    Heart Abnormalities

    Using Celexa over a long period of time can increase the risk of heart rhythm abnormalities. The higher the dosage, the higher the risk. If you had a pre-existing heart condition like heart attack, stroke, or QT prolongation, this likely isn’t the antidepressant for you.

    Blood Clotting

    Some people who take Celexa might have issues with blood clotting. This is due to the decreased level of serotonin in the blood platelets caused by the drug. 

    If you start bleeding, your blood may be less likely to clot as quickly as it normally would. If you’re on a blood thinner, you may need to talk to your doctor about the risks.

    Sodium Levels

    Elderly people on Celexa have an increased risk of their sodium levels falling dramatically. This is known as hyponatremia. Low sodium levels can cause fluid to build up in the body and lead to respiratory depression and coma.

    Risks For Pregnant Women

    For pregnant women, Celexa should only be used when needed as it can harm the unborn baby. If this medication is taken during the last 3 months of pregnancy, the baby can go through withdrawal symptoms after birth. 

    Withdrawal symptoms in newborns may include:

    • difficulty feeding or breathing
    • seizures
    • muscle stiffness
    • constant crying

    Celexa can also pass through breast milk during breastfeeding, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about alternatives.

    Drug Interactions

    Taking MAO inhibitors (MAOIs) with Celexa can lead to serious consequences including death. Try to avoid MAOIs like isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, phenelzine, selegiline, and tranylcypromine.

    Mixing Celexa with NSAIDs, ibuprofen, and aspirin is also not recommended as they can increase the risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding.

    Celexa may also dangerously interact with alcohol, especially if your dose exceeds 40 mg. 

    If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, please contact us to learn about inpatient and outpatient treatment options

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - Celexa
    Mayo Clinic - Serotonin Syndrome
    National Health Service (NHS) - Citalopram
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Citalopram

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on June 24, 2022
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