Can Celexa cause jaw clenching? 

Can Celexa cause jaw clenching? 

Yes, Celexa can cause jaw clenching in some individuals. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding are not common with Celexa, but SSRIs in general are known to induce such behaviour in a number of people who have never done this before. 

If you feel like your jaw clenching while you’re being treated with Celexa, talk to your healthcare provider. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, if become severe, can cause a number of disturbing symptoms, including:

  • Loud teeth grinding or clenching 
  • Pain in jaw muscles and tightening. 
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Pain in the entire face and neck
  • Inability to fall asleep 
  • Inability to speak properly in severe cases, where it becomes difficult to open and close your jaw easily. 
  • Damaged teeth
  • Gum bleeding 

What does research suggest?

Research studies have indicated that there is a possible link between SSRIs, including Celexa (Citalopram), and jaw clenching-teeth grinding (bruxism), because of how these antidepressants can affect serotonin levels. Some studies also suggest that these side effects can be managed by Buspirone (1).

Experts have indicated that this side effect is not that commonly reported with Celexa, as compared to other SSRIs. However, people respond differently to medications and some people may experience more pronounced side effects on Celexa (2).

Generally, Celexa is considered a well-tolerated antidepressant at standard therapeutic doses which can help with depression, anxiety, OCD, and related symptoms – like anger and agitation.

What to do if Celexa causes jaw clenching? 

Talk to your healthcare provider if you feel your jaw clenching while you’re taking Celexa. If it’s an early side effect, it may subside on its own within a few weeks as your body adjusts to the medication. Some other antidepressants, like Wellbutrin, may also cause a similar side effect.

However, you may need treatment if this side effect persists and the further use of Celexa becomes questionable in such situations. 

Celexa-induced jaw clenching can also cause headaches. Although Celexa may help prevent migraine headaches in some rare cases, some of the side effects of Celexa can actually trigger headaches.

Celexa may also cause other side effects, like irritability, anxiety, drowsiness, dizziness, etc.

This is why some doctors may prescribe Celexa with a benzodiazepine, like Ativan, Valium, Xanax, etc to reduce early anxiety caused by Celexa, which can make jaw clenching worse.

Celexa-induced side effects are generally expected to reduce with time. However, if this antidepressant continues to harm you and affect the quality of your life, your doctor will most likely switch you to another medication. Jaw clenching, however, can be managed by the following methods:

Dose reduction 

Your doctor may reduce your Celexa dose at first, which may help you with your jaw clenching. It does work in some cases but may not reduce the intensity of this side effect in every case. If dose reduction works for you, your jaw clenching will become better without discontinuing Celexa. 

Addition of Buspirone

Your doctor may prescribe Buspirone, which is an effective medication for controlling jaw clenching and teeth grinding. The usual dose of Buspirone is 5 to 10 mg, taken twice or thrice a day. Make sure you properly follow your doctor’s directions. 

OTC medications like Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can also be taken for pain relief. This OTC painkiller is least likely to interact with Celexa and other antidepressants.

Muscle relaxers 

Muscle relaxers can also be used to manage jaw clenching, which is usually caused as a result of involuntary contraction and tightening of your jaw muscles. Jaw exercises and warm compress can also help relax and strengthen your jaw muscles. 

Mouth guard

Your healthcare provider may ask you to wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth and jaw muscles from the negative impacts of continuous jaw clenching. 

Botox Injections 

Botox Injections can also be used to control severe and continuous jaw clenching. These injections basically cause muscle paralysis, which allows your jaw muscles to heal. 

Although Botox injections can be successfully used for jaw clenching, they are associated with a number of side effects and may not be suitable for every other individual. 

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Garrett AR, Hawley JS. SSRI-associated bruxism: A systematic review of published case reports. Neurol Clin Pract. 2018 Apr;8(2):135-141. doi: 10.1212/CPJ.0000000000000433. PMID: 29708207; PMCID: PMC5914744. Available from:


PubChem [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2004-. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 2771, Citalopram; [cited 2023 Feb. 8]. Available from:

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