Does Celexa make your stomach hurt? (5+ ways to manage)

In this article, we will discuss whether Celexa can cause the stomach to hurt, along with the factors that can contribute to stomach pain and how to manage digestive side effects related to Celexa usage.

Does Celexa make your stomach hurt?

Yes, Celexa can make your stomach hurt. Celexa (Citalopram) belongs to a class of antidepressants called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI), which are usually associated with gastrointestinal side effects (1). Stomach pain may not be a common side effect of Celexa (2), but it must be noted that every person is different and may respond to medications differently; therefore, one should be aware of the possibility of experiencing this adverse effect while taking Celexa.

Can you take Celexa when suffering from a stomach ulcer?

It is possible that you can take Celexa when suffering from a stomach ulcer or another pre-existing gastrointestinal disease. However, you should discuss your treatment with your medical assistant.

The risks and side effects of Celexa for patients with pre-existing gastrointestinal diseases are still obscure and require case-to-case monitoring (8).    

What does research suggest?

A study showed that gastrointestinal side effects are prominent in patients taking antidepressants (3). This may be due to the mechanism of some antidepressants, such as SSRIs, which affect the serotonin levels. Serotonin is abundantly found in the gastrointestinal tract and may directly affect the motility, secretion, and sensitivity of the gut (4).

Due to serotonin’s effect on the gut, side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, and abdominal pain can be observed in patients under treatment with SSRIs (1). It was also found that among the commonly prescribed antidepressants for the treatment of depression, a higher incidence rate of abdominal pain in patients who took Escitalopram and Citalopram was observed (3).

Patients who just started taking Celexa may then experience the side effects that were mentioned, but these may eventually subside as your body adjusts to the medication and as it starts to work.

What factors can contribute to Celexa-induced stomach pain?

Some factors can contribute to the occurrence of stomach pain while using Celexa, which include:

  • Excessive consumption of spicy foods can cause stomach pain due to capsaicin – a chemical found in spicy foods (5). 
  • Drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this medication can cause or worsen the irritation of the stomach lining.
  • Chronic stress may also cause digestive issues such as abdominal pain (6).
  • Too much acid in the stomach can also cause or worsen Celexa-induced stomach pain.
  • Taking medication that can irritate the stomach lining, such as Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., Naproxen, Ibuprofen) with Celexa can increase the risk of experiencing stomach pain (7).
  • Patients with pre-existing gastrointestinal diseases, such as GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) should discuss the risks of initiating treatment with Celexa, as the risks and side effects in these cases are still uncertain and patient-dependent.

What to do if you experience stomach pain while on Celexa?

If you experience your stomach hurting while you are using Celexa, you should inform your healthcare provider. Your physician will assess your condition to determine the cause of your stomach pain and if it is indeed related to the medication that you are taking. Your physician may also guide you on the usage of Celexa.

If your stomach issues persist, do not immediately stop taking Celexa. You must consult your physician first before discontinuing or making any changes to your prescribed medication.

How is stomach pain caused by Celexa managed?

Your physician may recommend various approaches for the management of your Celexa-induced stomach pain, including:

  • Taking Celexa with food. Celexa can be taken with or without food (2). Taking it with meals or with milk may help prevent your stomach from hurting.


  • Eat a healthy diet. Make sure to eat a balanced diet and avoid eating spicy foods or drinking alcoholic beverages. This could help ease the stomach discomfort that you may experience while taking the medication.


  • Drinking herbal teas. Herbal teas such as ginger, peppermint, and chamomile may help soothe and alleviate gastrointestinal symptoms.


  • Manage stress. Stomach pain while using Celexa may be caused or worsened by stress. Some practices that are usually suggested for the reduction and management of stress include yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. Taking a stroll outdoors may also help ease stress.


  • Adjust the timing of the dosage schedule. If you are taking Celexa with medications that can potentially cause or worsen stomach pain, your physician may change the time of your dosage to prevent the occurrence of side effects.


  • Use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Too much acid in the stomach can cause digestive problems, such as acid reflux, and it can also cause or worsen Celexa-induced stomach pain. In this case, OTC medications such as antacids (e.g., Gaviscon, Pepto-Bismol), Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) (e.g., Omeprazole, Pantoprazole), and H2-blockers (e.g., Cimetidine, Famotidine) can be used for management of symptoms.


  • Switching medications. If you can’t tolerate Celexa, your physician may opt to use another antidepressant that has fewer gastrointestinal side effects, such as Mirtazapine (3). However, the exact medication that will be used in place of Celexa depends on your condition and your body’s response to medication.


This article discussed that Celexa may cause your stomach to hurt, as well as what some research has gathered about the relationship between this side effect and the usage of the said medication. Some factors that can contribute to stomach pain along with a few recommendations for management were also mentioned.

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DailyMed. Celexa – Citalopram tablet, film coated [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [updated 2023 August 7; cited 2023 October 7]. Available from: 


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Koprdova S., Schürmann C., Peetz D., Dürbye T., Kolligs F., Koop H. Case Report of Presumed (In)voluntary Capsaicin Intoxication Mimicking an Acute Abdomen. Case Rep Med [Internet]. 2020 June 23 [cited 2023 October 9]; 2020: 3610401. Available from: 


Alfvén G, Andersson E. Stress and Recurrent Abdominal Pain. Acta Paediatr [Internet]. 2023 Nov [cited 2023 October 9]; 112 (11): 2312-2316. Available from: 


de Jong JC, van den Berg PB, Tobi H, de Jong-van den Berg LT. Combined Use of SSRIs and NSAIDs Increases the Risk of Gastrointestinal Adverse Effects. Br J Clin Pharmacol [Internet]. 2003 Jun [cited 2023 October 9]; 55 (6): 591-5. Available from:

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