Does Celexa affect memory? (3+ factors)
In this article, we will discuss whether Celexa (Citalopram) affects memory. We will also discuss some research studies and how to manage memory concerns while on Celexa.
Does Celexa affect memory?
Yes, Celexa (Citalopram) can affect memory. Memory-related side effects are relatively uncommon with Celexa and not everyone who takes the medication will experience them.
Celexa (Citalopram) is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). It is primarily prescribed to treat depression and anxiety disorders (1).
When memory-related side effects occur, they are often mild and temporary. Some people may notice problems with concentration or short-term memory while they are taking Celexa, but these issues typically resolve when the medication is discontinued or after the body adjusts to it (2).
It is also important to note that, Celexa being an antidepressant, can also help people with memory disorders associated with depression.
What does research suggest?
There is limited research indicating the effect of Celexa on memory. However, SSRIs in general can affect memory, especially in people who are new to this medication or antidepressants in general.
Antidepressant side effects are commonly seen with their higher doses and long duration of use. One study indicated that using antidepressants over an extended period, particularly in higher doses, is linked to a higher risk of developing dementia (loss of thinking, remembering and reasoning).
Taking such medications for a longer period of time and at high doses can increase the risk of dementia and other side effects (3).
Another study finds that in patients who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or depression and are new to SSRI treatment, there can be a gradual decrease in their memory function during the initial 8 weeks of starting the medication.
Interestingly this memory decline is not linked to the patient’s age, gender, or level of education (4).
Another study reported that dementia is more commonly seen in elderly depressed patients being treated with SSRIs. Dementia is a condition that decreases a person’s thinking and memory abilities and makes it difficult for them to perform daily tasks (5).
Factors influencing memory impairment while using Celexa
Memory impairment while using Celexa can vary from person to person, but certain factors may make some individuals more prone to experiencing memory-related issues with this medication. These factors include:
Dosage: Higher doses of Celexa may increase the likelihood of memory problems (3).
Age: Older adults, in general, may be more susceptible to memory-related side effects while taking Celexa (5).
Pre-existing conditions: Individuals with pre-existing memory problems or cognitive impairments may be more vulnerable to memory issues while taking Celexa.
Interactions: Drug interactions with other medications or substances can increase the risk of memory impairment.
Duration of use: Long-term use of Celexa may be associated with a higher likelihood of memory-related side effects.
Dietary modification: Avoid or limit the use of alcohol and caffeine while taking Celexa, as it can result in difficulty focusing and memory-related issues.
If you are concerned about memory problems while taking Celexa or other antidepressants like Sertraline, it is crucial to discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. They can help assess your specific situation and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
Symptoms of memory impairment while using Celexa
Patients with memory issues may have problems with thinking abilities, which affects their daily lives. Some signs and symptoms include:
- Struggling with basic tasks
- Feeling restless and having mood swings
- Trouble expressing oneself clearly
- Short-term memory loss (6).
What to do if Celexa causes memory problems?
If Celexa affects your memory, either directly or indirectly, you should discuss it with your doctor. Celexa is a good antidepressant, but it might not be the best choice for everyone.
Your healthcare provider will examine your current symptoms, other underlying health conditions, and your response to the treatment. They may adjust the dosage of the medication or may switch to another antidepressant if necessary.
However, make sure you don’t make any changes to your prescription without consulting your doctor first.
Tips to manage memory-related issues while taking Celexa
If you are experiencing memory-related issues while on Celexa, you may try some of the following lifestyle modifications to cope with it:
- Quit smoking as it may increase the risk of memory impairment.
- Maintain a well-balanced diet and take vitamin supplements.
- Be physically active and lose weight if you are obese.
- Manage your blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
- Regularly take your antidepressants at the same time each day.
- Ensure your 8-9 hours sleep daily.
In conclusion, while Celexa is generally well-tolerated by most individuals and memory-related side effects are relatively uncommon, some people may experience changes in memory or cognitive functions while taking Celexa.
Therefore, it is essential for individuals taking Celexa to communicate any concerns about memory impairment with their healthcare provider, who can provide personalized guidance and adjust the treatment plan if necessary.
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Sharbaf Shoar N, Fariba KA, Padhy RK. Citalopram. [Updated 2021 Dec 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482222/
Brown EE, Rajji TK, Mulsant BH. Why Do Some Older Adults Treated With Antidepressants Progress to Dementia? J Clin Psychiatry. 2020 Aug 25;81(5):20com13559. doi: 10.4088/JCP.20com13559. PMID: 32857932.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32857932/
Sayyah M, Eslami K, AlaiShehni S, Kouti L. Cognitive Function before and during Treatment with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Patients with Depression or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Psychiatry J. 2016;2016:5480391. doi: 10.1155/2016/5480391. Epub 2016 Aug 15. PMID: 27597949; PMCID: PMC5002481.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5002481/
Solomonov N, Alexopoulos GS. Do Antidepressants Increase the Risk of Dementia? Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2019 Nov;27(11):1189-1191. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2019.06.004. Epub 2019 Jun 21. PMID: 31320244; PMCID: PMC7063578. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7063578/