Does Celexa cause seizures? (3+ risks)

In this article, we aim to answer the query: “Does Celexa cause seizures?” Furthermore, we will talk about the related research findings, susceptible individuals, what should be done if Celexa causes seizures, and how to ensure safe and effective use of Celexa. 

Does Celexa cause seizures? 

Celexa may cause seizures in some individuals. However, it is not a common side effect. Seizures are listed as rare adverse effects of Celexa in the prescribing information, but it is important to note that not everyone taking Celexa may experience seizures. Furthermore, in the case of Celexa overdose, the risk of seizures is increased. 

Celexa, also known as Citalopram, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant that is FDA-approved to treat depression, especially in adults. Celexa may also be used in the clinical setting to treat panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcohol use disorder, and other related disorders (1). 

Seizures are sudden movements due to changes in the electrical activity of the brain. These changes may lead to alterations in the patient’s level of consciousness, feelings, memory, or behaviours (2). 

What does research suggest about Celexa and seizures?

According to a research study conducted in 2011, a woman was experiencing seizures and reported to an emergency. Upon investigation, it was found that the woman had no history of seizures and she started taking 20mg Celexa 4 days before the occurrence of these symptoms. 

The doctors evaluated her overall condition, family and medical history, and no other reason was found except Celexa. Therefore, her doctor discontinued Celexa and her seizures disappeared. This case was the first of its kind indicating that Celexa may cause seizures in recommended doses, but it is quite rare (3). 

Another research study indicated that Celexa may cause seizures when taken in higher doses of 400mg for longer periods and in case of overdose. Some patients may also experience seizures while using Celexa along with other antidepressants that may increase the risks of seizures (4). Therefore, you should always inform your healthcare provider if you are using other medications before starting Celexa. 

Who is more susceptible to seizures while taking Celexa?

People who may be more susceptible to experiencing seizures while taking Celexa may include: 

  • Patients taking higher doses of Celexa and for extended periods may have an increased risk of seizures. 
  • The use of Celexa in combination with other antidepressants may lower the seizure threshold and increase the risk of seizures. 
  • Individuals with a family history of seizures are more prone to this rare side effect of Celexa. 
  • Other underlying medical conditions such as electrolyte imbalances may also cause an increased risk of seizures (4). 

What to do if Celexa causes seizures?

If Celexa causes seizures, please inform your healthcare provider. They may evaluate your current symptoms, family or medical history, and response to the medication. You may be taking a higher dose of Celexa than you need for your depression symptoms. Your healthcare provider may gradually reduce your Celexa dosage and monitor your response afterwards.

If reducing the dosage of Celexa won’t help you, your doctor may gradually discontinue Celexa and switch you to an alternative antidepressant such as Lexapro, along with an anticonvulsant to control the seizures. You should never discontinue Celexa or any other antidepressant abruptly as sudden discontinuation may lead to withdrawal symptoms (5). 

How to ensure safe use of Celexa?

To ensure safe use of Celexa, you must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • You should inform your doctor if you are allergic to Celexa or similar antidepressants before prescribing. 
  • Your doctor must be aware of your family and medical history. 
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking other medications or supplements along with Celexa.
  • Celexa (citalopram) is similar to Lexapro (escitalopram); do not mix these two medicines or take them together. 
  • Avoid driving while taking Celexa, as it may make you drowsy.
  • Avoid alcohol consumption as it may add to the drowsiness caused by Celexa.
  • Do not stop using Celexa on your own as it may cause withdrawal symptoms. 

In my opinion, Celexa may cause seizures, but it is an uncommon side effect. Celexa may induce seizures if taken at higher doses for extended periods or in case of overdose.

Individuals may become more susceptible to Celexa-induced seizures if they have a family history, underlying health condition, or using concomitant drugs. You should always take Celexa as prescribed by your healthcare provider and never stop taking it without consulting them. 

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