Does Ashwagandha interact with Celexa? (+3 interactions)

In this article, we will discuss whether Ashwagandha interacts with Celexa. We will also share how they both can interact with each other and other relevant information. 

Does Ashwagandha interact with Celexa?

Ashwagandha may or may not interact with Celexa. Research does not indicate a significant interaction between them. However, Ashwagandha may interact with Celexa as they both affect the central nervous system (CNS). 

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is one of the most popular dietary supplements used for its multiple health benefits. It improves physical and mental health, promotes a youthful state, and acts as an anti-stress agent or adaptogen (1). 

Celexa is the brand name for citalopram which is an antidepressant categorized as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is effective in treating depressive disorders and other mental health conditions (2). 

Ashwagandha is frequently used as an herbal supplement with antidepressants like Celexa and is generally considered safe with no significant interactions. However, interactions can occur as both agents interact with neurotransmitters in the body. 

How can Ashwagandha interact with Celexa?

Ashwagandha can interact with Celexa because it has a diverse composition of chemical compounds (3). Ashwagandha has numerous substances that are pharmacologically active and can work as independent drugs (4). 

Ashwagandha also interacts with various neurotransmitters in the body. Abundant research is available on the mechanisms through which Ashwagandha is therapeutically effective. 

Research suggests that Ashwagandha can influence neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This effect contributes to the therapeutic efficacy of Ashwagandha (3). 

On the other hand, Celexa also influences neurotransmitters in the brain. It inhibits serotonin reuptake which results in an elevation in serotonin levels and enhances the serotonergic activity in the CNS (2). 

As Ashwagandha and Celexa both influence the CNS, the potential for their interactions can not be ignored and they should be used responsibly when taken together.  

What are the possible interactions between Ashwagandha and Celexa? 

Ashwagandha and Celexa may interact with each other in the following ways: 

Increased sedation: 

Ashwagandha is known for its calming, relaxing, and sedative properties which makes it useful therapeutically. The sedative effects of Ashwagandha are due to its interaction with receptors of GABA and dopamine (3). 

Citalopram is the active ingredient in Celexa which can induce sleep as it regulates serotonin levels and also has antihistaminic properties (2). Drowsiness is a common side effect of Ashwagandha and Celexa (2,4). 

Thus, precautions are necessary while taking Ashwagandha with agents that cause sedation due to the synergistic effects (3). Taking these agents together can increase sedation, somnolence, and drowsiness. 

Potential serotonin syndrome: 

Research indicates that Ashwagandha has serotonergic properties. Studies have associated the analgesic effects of Ashwagandha with its influence on serotonin levels (1). 

Studies on the effect of Ashwagandha on sleep-deprived animals have revealed that it increases the levels of antioxidant enzymes, dopamine, and serotonin (3). 

Celexa also has a serotonergic activity and it elevates serotonin levels. When used alone, it is rarely associated with serotonin syndrome, a condition caused by excessive serotonin in the body (2).

Concomitant use of serotonergic agents can result in serotonin syndrome which is a lethal condition characterized by the following symptoms (2): 

  • increase in body temperature
  • tremor
  • changes in mental status
  • pupil dilation
  • coma
  • excessive sweating
  • excessive saliva production
  • loss of muscle coordination
  • agitation 

Although the incidence of serotonin syndrome with concomitant use of Ashwagandha and antidepressants is not reported, caution is required while using them together. Using Ashwagandha excessively without caution with Celexa can be harmful.

Enhanced side effects: 

Both Ashwagandha and Celexa are associated with their respective set of side effects. The incidence of side effects is increased when these agents are used together and the shared side effects may be amplified. 

Research also indicates that Ashwagandha can aggregate the side effects of some antidepressants leading to potential consequences (4). 

Side effects of Ashwagandha and Celexa include the following (2,4). 

side effects of Ashwagandha  somnolence, blurred vision hallucinations, diarrhea, cough, dizziness, cold, drowsiness, reduced appetite, dry mouth, constipation, and weight gain
side effects of Celexa drowsiness, nausea, sweating, vomiting, insomnia, easy bruising, constipation, dizziness, headache, suicidal thoughts, and diarrhea

What are the potential benefits of taking Ashwagandha with Celexa? 

Ashwagandha is frequently used as an adaptogen by patients with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety along with antidepressants. Ashwagandha normalizes body functions and reverses the effects of stress on the body (4). 

Studies suggest that concomitant use of Ashwagandha with antidepressants increases antidepressant activity and reduces the following symptoms that may occur with mental disorders (4): 

  • fatigue
  • sleep disturbances
  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • impaired memory
  • depressive symptoms
  • stress

The efficacy of Ashwagandha as an adjunct to SSRI is well established. Research indicates that concomitant use of Ashwagandha and SSRIs can improve the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (3).

How to take Ashwagandha with Celexa? 

If you want to use Ashwagandha with Celexa, you must discuss it with your healthcare provider. Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement and is safe to use with antidepressants. 

However, Ashwagandha can result in adverse effects if used inappropriately. Large doses of Ashwagandha should not be used to gain therapeutic benefits as it can be harmful. 

Thus, Ashwagandha should be consumed in moderation to improve mental and physical health. If you are planning to use Ashwagandha while taking Celexa, contact your healthcare provider. 

Your healthcare provider will guide you on the appropriate dose and usage of Ashwagandha with Celexa. If you experience adverse effects while using them together, contact your healthcare provider.  

In my perspective, Ashwagandha can interact with Celexa although no significant interactions have been reported yet. The potential for interaction is because both agents affect the CNS. Interaction may occur if Ashwagandha is used inappropriately. 

Ashwagandha and Celexa both influence neurotransmitters in the body which can lead to increased sedation, increased risk of serotonin syndrome, and enhanced side effects. 

Ashwagandha is frequently used with antidepressants due to its therapeutic effects. However, it should be used with precaution, and as directed by the healthcare provider. 

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