Does Celexa cause diarrhoea? (1+ prevention strategies)

In this article, we will look into the causes of diarrhoea due to Celexa. We will further look into the risks of having diarrhoea and the management strategies to prevent it due to Celexa.

Does Celexa cause diarrhoea?

Yes, Celexa can cause diarrhoea. Celexa is associated with causing diarrhoea, vomiting, and other abdominal side effects due to its use as an antidepressant.

However, Celexa may cause severe persistent diarrhoea in some patients but these effects vary from person to person. If you face severe diarrhoea due to Celexa, consult your doctor and seek medical help.

What does research suggest?

According to research studies, Celexa can cause diarrhoea and other related digestive system side effects which lead to low compliance in patients with depression. Diarrhoea and nausea are the most common SSRI-induced digestive system side effects (1).

Celexa not only increases the levels of serotonin in the brain but also increases serotonin levels in the gastrointestinal system. Elevated serotonin levels impact bowel movements and can cause diarrhoea (1).

Gastrointestinal side effects due to SSRI antidepressants are common and may be dose-dependent. However, individual variation may also play a significant role and these side effects may vary from person to person.

According to the work mechanism of Celexa, it alters serotonin levels in the brain. It inhibits the serotonin reuptake in the pre-synaptic terminal, which leads to an increase of serotonin in the neurosynaptic junction, and ultimately relieves the depressive symptoms (1).

The abdominal side effects due to Celexa are also caused possibly as a result of an increase in the usability of serotonin in the gastrointestinal system. Therefore, abdominal side effects are linked to the antidepressant mechanism of action of Celexa (1,2).

The safety and tolerability of SSRI antidepressants have improved but the side effects are still troublesome. The majority of patients experience severe side effects that impact quality of life and depressive remission (3).

The digestive side effects of Celexa occur early in the treatment process. These abdominal side effects are extremely common during the first few weeks of treatment and occur as a result of patient non-compliance (1).

Ways to prevent Celexa-induced diarrhoea

If you are having severe persistent diarrhoea due to Celexa, then follow the given prevention strategies, which might be helpful (1,2):

Hydration and fluid intake

Keeping hydrated is a critical factor related to diarrhoea as it could cause severe dehydration. Therefore, it is advised to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and oral rehydration solutions.

You should significantly focus on increasing your electrolytes in the body because an electrolyte imbalance could cause severe weakness. Avoid taking caffeine and alcohol as these might worsen dehydration.

Dietary modification and probiotics

Probiotic supplements or foods containing probiotics are always a good choice to prevent abdominal side effects. Diarrhoea can lead to a loss of good bacteria which can be recovered by consuming probiotics.

Avoid eating heavy foods that upset your gut. Instead, keep your meals light and nutritious. Liquids and semi-solid foods might be helpful in digestion.

What to do if Celexa-induced diarrhoea persists?

If Celexa is not the right antidepressant for you and it continues to affect your gastrointestinal motility, then you should seek medical attention and if your doctor suggests then you can consider switching to a safer antidepressant with lesser or no abdominal side effects.

An alternate choice of drug to Celexa could be Fluoxetine which also belongs to SSRI antidepressants. It appears to possess low abdominal side effects and hardly alters your gastrointestinal motility.

However, switching drugs or tampering with your already prescribed dosage to avoid such side effects should be discussed with your doctor beforehand.


In the above article, we have discussed the possible reasons that can cause diarrhoea by using Celexa. We have discovered the basic prevention strategies to avoid Celexa-induced diarrhoea in patients.

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Wang Z, Li H, Kang Y, Liu Y, Shan L, Wang F. Risks of Digestive System Side-Effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Patients with Depression: A Network Meta-Analysis. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2022 Aug 13;18:799-812. doi: 10.2147/TCRM.S363404. PMID: 35992228; PMCID: PMC9386738.


AHFS Patient Medication Information [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc.; c2019. Citalopram; [updated 2020 Jun 24; reviewed 2018 Jul 5; cited 2020 Jul 1]; [about 5 p.]. Available from:


Kelly K, Posternak M, Alpert JE. Toward achieving optimal response: understanding and managing antidepressant side effects. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008;10(4):409-18. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2008.10.4/kkelly. PMID: 19170398; PMCID: PMC3181894.

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