Does Citalopram cause sinus problems? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether Citalopram (Celexa) can cause sinus problems. We will also discuss some research studies and what one should do if this side effect occurs.

Does Citalopram cause sinus problems?

Citalopram does not necessarily cause sinus problems. It is one of the rare side effects observed by patients taking Citalopram. It may be observed in some patients as the effects of Citalopram may vary from person to person.

Sinus problems also known as sinusitis happen when sinuses get swollen or infected. this leads to a stuffy nose, gives you a sore face and feels like pressure in your head. This happens because mucus gets trapped when your sinuses can’t drain properly because of allergies, infections or irritants (3).

Citalopram is an SSRI antidepressant used to treat mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Citalopram is generally not associated with sinus issues and runny nose. However, if you experience any symptoms associated with sinus problems then you need to consult your healthcare provider (1).

What does research suggest?

According to research studies, Citalopram, being an SSRI, affects the levels of serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain. Altered serotonin levels while taking Citalopram can lead to nasal symptoms such as itching, sneezing, increased mucous production and a runny nose.

This could be because serotonin affects the nerves in the nose, although it does not seem to have a direct influence on the blood vessels in the nose.

While sinusitis is not typically listed as a primary side effect of Celexa in the official FDA documentation, individual case reports and evidence suggest that it may be a possible side effect for a minority of patients (2).

These reports emphasize the need for patients and healthcare providers to monitor for potential side effects when using Citalopram.

What factors can contribute to sinus issues while taking Citalopram?

The factors that can contribute to sinus issues while taking Citalopram may include:

  • Allergic reactions to Citalopram or similar SSRIs can trigger sinus issues such as congestion or inflammation due to an immune response to the medication.
  • Exposure to bacteria or viruses known for causing sinus infections can lead to sinus problems like sinusitis or sinus congestion (4).
  • Environmental factors like air pollution or allergens can irritate the sinuses, potentially leading to sinus inflammation or exacerbating existing sinus conditions (5).
  • Taking other medications, especially those known to cause sinusitis as a side effect, alongside Celexa might synergistically increase the risk.
  • Higher doses or long-term use of Citalopram might increase the likelihood of side effects, including sinus problems. This is possibly due to the body’s changing response to the medication over time.
  • Immune system disorders can disrupt the body’s ability to defend against sinus infections, potentially leading to chronic or severe sinus issues.
  • Some underlying health conditions such as cystic fibrosis can become a cause of sinusitis or sinus problems in some individuals.

What to do if you experience sinus problems while on Citalopram?

If you are taking Citalopram and experience sinus problems such as congestion and increased mucous production, then you need to consult your healthcare provider. They can examine your condition and the first and foremost step will be to determine the actual cause of the sinus problems you are facing.

If, after a thorough examination, Citalopram is found to be contributing to the sinus problems then your doctor will have to modify your treatment plan by either lowering the doses of Citalopram to help your body adjust better to its effects or may switch to another antidepressant with fewer side effects.

Always remember not to discontinue your antidepressant without medical supervision as it can cause horrible withdrawal symptoms further worsening your condition (6).

How to manage sinus problems while taking Citalopram?

In order to manage sinus problems during Citalopram usage your doctor may recommend the following measures:

OTC medications Saline nasal sprays, decongestants, antihistamines (3).
Hydration Keep yourself hydrated to prevent mucous from thickening up.
Lifestyle modification Take hot showers or steam to loosen the mucous
Environment  Use a humidifier to keep the environment humid as dry air irritates the sinuses 
Natural remedies Ginger tea, garlic water, turmeric

In my opinion, Citalopram does not cause sinus problems as a common side effect. However, individual responses to medications can vary. If you have any concerns regarding the occurrence of sinus problems due to Citalopram, it is crucial to discuss them with your healthcare provider for proper guidance and treatment plans.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!


Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site