When do Celexa side effects start? (+3 side effects)

In this article, we will discuss when the side effects of Celexa appear. We will also discuss the common and serious side effects and how to manage them.

When do Celexa side effects start?

The side effects of Celexa (Citalopram) start appearing within a few hours to a few days of starting your treatment. However, individual responses to medications vary. Some people experience side effects shortly after taking the medication while others might experience them after a few weeks.

Celexa, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant, is primarily used to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions (1).

Common gastrointestinal side effects like nausea, vomiting, heartburn and abdominal pain can be experienced just after a few hours of taking the medication. However, physiological side effects like mood or behavioural changes, depression, confusion etc can start within 2-3 days of your treatment (2).

The early side effects induced by Celexa usually disappear on their own as the body adjusts to the medication. However, some people may take longer to recover from Celexa-induced side effects as compared to others.

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 side effects of Celexa?

The side effects of Celexa are mild and moderate and they tend to subside after 8-12 weeks of treatment in most patients. Some side effects can be serious, although they are rare. If you suspect any of the serious side effects, immediately seek medical help (2).

If Celexa is discontinued suddenly, it may lead to discontinuation syndrome leading to withdrawal symptoms, similar to other antidepressants.

The side effects of Celexa are as follows:

Side effects  
Common Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, acid reflux, dry mouth, abdominal pain, excessive sweating, weight changes, dizziness, fatigue, and drowsiness.
Serious  Loss of consciousness, vertigo, chest pain, difficulty breathing, abnormal bleeding, seizures, memory problems and swelling of body parts.
Withdrawal symptoms Disturbances in sleep, excessive tiredness, seizures, vertigo, nausea, body aches, tinnitus, hallucinations, irregular heart activity, loss of appetite, drowsiness and dizziness (3).

What to do if Celexa continues to cause side effects?

If your side effects persist or worsen while taking Celexa, reach out to your healthcare provider. Your doctor may consider adjusting your dosage based on your current symptoms, medical history and response to the treatment.

However, Celexa is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for depression. If the side effects do not disappear after dose adjustment or become bothersome, your healthcare provider may switch to an alternative antidepressant with fewer side effects.

Always remember, do not skip the doses or discontinue your medication without medical supervision.

Sometimes lifestyle changes and self-care strategies can help alleviate Celexa’s side effects. Taking a healthy diet, keeping away from trigger foods and doing regular exercise can help improve your mood as well as reduce symptoms.

Reducing caffeine intake can also help alleviate symptoms. Alcohol when combined with Celexa can also increase side effects so it is better to avoid alcohol while on Celexa therapy.

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 in younger patients using Celexa, so close monitoring should be done (4).
  • 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 MAOIs, Dapoxetine, Linezolid, or methylene blue.
  • Do not use Celexa if you are allergic or sensitive to the medication.
  • Patients should be monitored during the early phase of treatment or when the dosage is adjusted. 

In my opinion, the onset of the side effects of Citalopram can vary among individuals. Generally these side effects may appear with in the initial days to a couple of weeks after starting the medication.

It is crucial to communicate any concerns or observed side effects promptly with a healthcare provider to manage them effectively.


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