Celexa Quick Facts

Celexa is an antidepressant drug of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. It has U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to treat major depression, and is prescribed off-label for a number of anxiety conditions.

Other Brand Names: Cipramil
Generic Name: Citalopram.

Primary Uses:

  • Depression

Other Uses:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic Disorder
  • Dysmorphic Disorder
  • OCD

Availability: Celexa is available in 10, 20 and 40 mg pills and in an oral solution.


  • Patients cannot take citalopram if they have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) during the last 2 weeks. A dangerous drug interaction can occur if citalopram is combined with any of these medications.
  • Before taking citalopram, patients must tell their doctor if they
    • have liver disease,
    • have kidney disease,
    • suffer from seizures, or
    • suffer from mania or have suicidal thoughts.
  • They may not be able to take citalopram, or they may require a dosage adjustment or special monitoring during treatment in such conditions.
  • Citalopram should not be taken during treatment with escitalopram (Lexapro). Also, if the patient has had an allergic reaction to escitalopram (Lexapro), he/she may also have an allergic reaction to citalopram.
  • Citalopram is in the FDA pregnancy category C.
  • Citalopram passes into breast milk and may affect a nursing infant.

Side Effects:

Less common but serious side effects include:

  • bruxism,
  • vomiting,
  • cardiac arrhythmia,
  • blood pressure changes,
  • dilated pupils,
  • anxiety,
  • mood swings,
  • headache, and dizziness

Less serious side effects may include:

  • confusion
  • depressed mood
  • thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
  • drowsiness
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • weight changes
  • frequent urination
  • decreased sex drive
  • anorgasmia
  • dry mouth
  • increased sweating, trembling, diarrhea
  • excessive yawning, and fatigue

Black Box Warnings: may increase suicidal thinking and behavior in those under age 24 (similar to most SSRI anti-depressants)

Metabolized: Liver
Excreted: Kidneys
Half-life: 35 hours

Withdrawal Effects:

SSRI discontinuation syndrome, also known as SSRI withdrawal syndrome or SSRI cessation syndrome, is a syndrome that can occur following the interruption, dose reduction, or discontinuation of SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor) or SNRI antidepressant medications. The condition often begins between the time of reduction in dosage or complete discontinuation, depending on the elimination half-life of the drug and the patient’s metabolism.

Symptoms described as “brain zaps”, “brain shocks”, “brain shivers”, “head shocks”, or “cranial zings” are a withdrawal symptom experienced during discontinuation (or reduction of dose) of antidepressant drugs.The symptoms are widely variable in description and of unknown etiology.  Common descriptions include dizziness, electric shock-like sensations, sweating, nausea, insomnia, tremor, confusion, nightmares, and vertigo.The MedDRA “preferred term” for coding these types of symptoms in adverse drug reaction reports (for use in pharmacovigilance databases such as under the Yellow Card Scheme) is paraesthesia.





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