Can you take 80 mg of Celexa? (+3 studies)

In this article, we will discuss if you can take 80mg of Celexa. We will discuss the possible risks of taking 80 mg of Celexa, dosing recommendations for Celexa and other relevant information. 

Can you take 80 mg of Celexa? 

80 mg of Celexa can be taken but is not recommended as the maximum recommended dose for Celexa typically does not exceed 40mg/day. In some studies, patients have received a dose of 80mg/day which shows that this dose can be prescribed. 

Celexa contains citalopram, an antidepressant classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is generally prescribed for depressive and anxiety disorders and is safe, effective and well-tolerated. 

80 mg of Celexa exceeds the maximum recommended dose of Celexa which is 40 mg. Thus, Celexa is not generally prescribed at this dosage.

However, patients treated with 80 mg of Celexa have shown improved outcomes which suggests that this dose is not fatal or unsafe to be prescribed. 

What are the dosing recommendations for Celexa? 

Celexa’s dosing recommendations are as follows (1): 

  initial dosage maximum dosage
adults 20 mg 40 mg
older adults (age more than 60) 10 mg 20 mg
patients with liver impairment 10 mg  20 mg
poor metabolizers of CYP2C19  10 mg 20 mg
  • for patients with mild-to-moderate kidney dysfunction, there is no need to adjust the dose for Celexa.
  • if increasing the dose is necessary, the dosage is increased by 10 mg each week until the maximum recommended dose is reached. 
  • Celexa can be taken with or without food either in the morning or night. 

What does research suggest? 

Many studies have explored the effectiveness of Celexa in different doses, including 80 mg. In one study, the safety of citalopram, the active ingredient in Celexa, and mianserin were assessed (2).

In this study, citalopram was given in a dose range of 20-80mg and the results concluded citalopram was a safe antidepressant. Thus, an 80 mg dose has been used safely in patients (2). 

Another trial assessed how well citalopram works in treating depression and used citalopram in the dose range of 20-80 mg per day. The results, after discussing the side effect profile of citalopram, indicated it as safe and effective. (3). 

Although different trials have used Celexa in 80 mg dose, the official guidelines and recommendations regarding Celexa dosage do not recommend using it in a dose higher than 40 mg due to enhanced risk of QT prolongation (2). 

Thus, the research shows that Celexa 80 mg can be taken however it is not recommended. 

Is an 80 mg dose of Celexa better than 40 mg? 

Using Celexa in high doses is not generally associated with increased benefits or effectiveness than the maximum recommended dose of 40 mg. In one study it was shown that a 60mg dose of Celexa did not offer more benefits than a 40mg dose (4). 

Thus, if a patient responds well to the maximum recommended daily dose of Celexa, increasing the dose is not advised as it will not be more advantageous. 

Studies on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have shown that antidepressants like Celexa are used in higher doses to treat OCD than the doses used to treat depression. The recommended dose of Celexa for OCD is 40-60 mg (5). 

Thus, the dose of Celexa may be increased to 80 mg if a patient does not respond to lower doses. However, it is not a common practice to prescribe 80 mg of Celexa initially. 

What are the risks of taking 80 mg of Celexa?

Taking a daily dose of 80 mg of Celexa can increase the risks of side effects as the side effects of Celexa are enhanced at higher doses (4). Doses higher than 40 mg are not frequently prescribed due to the risk of QT prolongation (1). 

QT prolongation can lead to arrhythmia and cardiovascular events. An 80mg/day dose can also increase the risk of infrequent side effects and enhance the incidence of frequent side effects. 

Celexa is associated with the following side effects which can be increased with an 80 mg dose (1,4): 

  • sedation
  • restlessness
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • abdominal discomfort
  • suicidal thoughts 
  • drowsiness
  • mania 
  • ejaculation problems 
  • tiredness
  • sweating
  • abnormal bleeding
  • easy bruising
  • hyponatremia 

High doses of Celexa can also increase the risk of serotonin syndrome, a lethal condition in which excessive serotonin accumulates in the body. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include: 

  • altered mental status
  • restlessness
  • elevated heart rate
  • pupil dilation 
  • loss of muscle coordination
  • increased saliva production 
  • excessive sweating
  • tremors 
  • severe headache

Who should not take an 80 mg dose of Celexa? 

In some individuals, high doses of Celexa are not recommended due to their reduced ability to metabolize this medication. 80 mg dose of Celexa is harmful to these individuals and may result in serious consequences. 

Individuals for which the maximum dose of Celexa is 20 mg and thus, an 80 mg dose should not be used include (1): 

  • Individuals older than 60 years
  • individuals with liver impairment
  • poor metabolizers of CYP2C19 

These individuals should not use Celexa in higher doses due to the risk of serious side effects like QT prolongation, hyponatremia, and bleeding. 

Is an 80 mg dose of Celexa lethal? 

80 mg dose of Celexa is not lethal and does not result in life-threatening adverse effects. No fatalities have been reported with doses of Celexa as high as 2000 mg. Thus, an 80 mg dose of Celexa is not lethal. 

A high dose of Celexa may result in increased side effects and make the drug intolerable for some individuals. However, the safety of Celexa in doses of 80 mg has been established. 

What to do if Celexa doesn’t work at 40mg dose? 

If Celexa does not work at the maximum recommended dose of 40 mg, you might be not responding to the treatment. The decision to increase the dose is made by your healthcare provider based on individual characteristics. 

If Celexa is not effective, your healthcare provider may consider adding another antidepressant to the treatment or switching to another antidepressant. Antidepressant alternatives to Celexa include: 

  • SSRIs like sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine
  • serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like venlafaxine and desvenlafaxine
  • serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs) like trazodone
  • tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) like amitriptyline

Your healthcare provider may also recommend psychotherapy as antidepresant treatment along with psychotherapy has been effective to treat conditions like depression. 

In my perspective, 80 mg of Celexa can be taken but it is not recommended. The maximum recommended dose of Celexa is 40 mg. Higher doses are associated with increased side effects. 

Research indicates that higher doses of Celexa may not be more effective than a 40 mg dose. Doses higher than 40 mg maybe required in conditions like OCD. Studies have shown that 80 mg dose of Celexa is safe and is not lethal. 

Thus, 80 msg dose is generally not prescribed but this dose has shown effectiveness in several studies. The decision to prescribe this dose is made by your healthcare provider based on individual characteristics.

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