Does Celexa cause side effects? (7 precautions)

In this article, we will discuss whether Celexa causes side effects. Furthermore, we will explore what the research suggests, common and rare side effects, how to manage them and precautions to take when using Celexa.

Does Celexa cause side effects?

Yes, Celexa, like other antidepressants, can cause side effects. Celexa is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and SSRIs are known to have various side effects.

It is worth noting that not everyone experiences the same side effects, and Celexa is generally considered safe and effective for treating depression in adults and elderly patients.

What are the common side effects of Celexa?

Common side effects of Celexa are usually mild and moderate, and they tend to subside after 8-12 weeks of treatment in most patients. These side effects may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Acid reflux
  • Dry mouth
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite or weight changes
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Sexual side effects
  • Muscular or joint pains
  • Fatigue (4,5,6)

However, if you experience any of these side effects that persist even after 12 weeks or become bothersome, you should immediately inform your healthcare provider.

What are the serious side effects of Celexa?

Some side effects can be serious, although they are rare. If you suspect any of these side effects, immediately seek medical help. Serious side effects may include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vertigo
  • Chest pains
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Unusual swelling of a body part
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Severe headaches
  • Seizures
  • Concentration or memory problems (4,5,6)

What does the research suggest?

According to a research study, the side effects associated with Celexa are generally mild to moderate in intensity and do not persist for longer periods in most patients. The incidence of these side effects was found to be less than 10%.

Compared to other SSRIs, Celexa is easy to tolerate and safe for depression treatment. In various clinical studies, thousands of patients were examined, and no serious problems like tremors were observed (1).

While sudden discontinuation of Celexa is not advisable, it may be associated with only moderate side effects which are rare. Celexa is prescribed in low doses, starting at 10mg and with a maximum recommended dose of 40mg once a day.

Lower doses of Celexa may be linked to a decreased incidence of side effects. Research findings also suggest that Celexa has a relatively low side effects profile compared to other SSRIs.

It is not associated with significant changes in vital signs, or irregular heart activity and does not increase the risk of suicide, or tremors, as some other SSRIs might. These findings indicate that Celexa is a safer antidepressant for elderly patients or those with mild to moderate kidney or liver problems (2).

Another clinical study suggested that Amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant, causes more serious side effects in elderly patients compared to Celexa (SSRI). Furthermore, Celexa had a better tolerability profile and fewer side effects compared to Amitriptyline (3).

What side effects are related to the sudden discontinuation of Celexa?

If Celexa is suddenly discontinued, it may lead to discontinuation syndrome in some patients, similar to other SSRIs. However, the intensity of side effects may be less severe.

Symptoms of discontinuation syndrome may appear after a week of discontinuation and only if the patient has been taking Celexa for more than a month. These symptoms may include:

  • Disturbances in sleep patterns
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Seizures
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vertigo
  • Nausea or diarrhoea
  • Feeling cold
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe headaches
  • Imbalance
  • Tingling sensations
  • Body aches
  • Irregular heart activity (4,5,6)

What precautions should be taken while using Celexa?

The following precautions must be considered while using Celexa:

  • Celexa is not approved for use in children.
  • There is an FDA warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts or self-harm in younger patients using Celexa, so close monitoring should be done.
  • Inform your doctor if you are taking any other medicines or supplements that may interact with Celexa.
  • Celexa should not be used if you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), Thioridazine, Dapoxetine, Linezolid, Methylene blue, or Pimozide.
  • Do not use Celexa if you are sensitive to the medication.
  • Patients at risk of electrolyte disturbances should have their electrolyte levels monitored throughout the treatment.
  • Patients should be monitored during the initial phase of treatment or when the dosage is adjusted (4).

How to manage the side effects of Celexa?

If your side effects persist or worsen, your doctor may consider adjusting your dosage based on your current symptoms, medical history, and response to treatment.

However, Celexa is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for depression. If your symptoms persist or become bothersome, your doctor may suggest that Celexa might not be suitable for you.


Celexa is an antidepressant that, like other SSRIs, can cause side effects. However, it is important to note that not everyone experiences the same side effects, and Celexa is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for depression in both adults and elderly patients.

It is essential to be aware of the potential side effects, take precautions, and consult with your doctor if you experience bothersome side effects.

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Nemeroff CB. Overview of the safety of citalopram. Psychopharmacol Bull. 2003 Winter;37(1):96-121. PMID: 14561952. Available from: 


Kyle CJ, Petersen HE, Overø KF. Comparison of the tolerability and efficacy of citalopram and amitriptyline in elderly depressed patients treated in general practice. Depress Anxiety. 1998;8(4):147-53. PMID: 9871816. Available from: 


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