Celexa is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which is prescribed as an antidepressant as well as in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. It has also been used for certain off-label uses, including treatment of premature ejaculation and diabetic neuropathy.
Note that Celexa is the brand name which Lundbeck pharmaceutical corporation uses to market the drug citalopram. Lundbeck’s patent expired several years ago. A variant, escitalopram, is still under patent and is marketed as Lexapro. Citalopram itself can be found in several other brand names worldwide, including Cipramil, Citol, Citrol, and Celapram.
There are a considerable number of possible side effects of Celexa, most of which are relatively mild. These include abdominal pain, anxiety, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue, fever, heartburn, sweating, nausea, and sexual dysfunction. If these side effects of Celexa are particularly serious or persistent, you should inform your doctor in case your treatment needs to be adjusted or discontinued.
In addition, there are several more serious side effects of Celexa, which require more prompt medical attention. You should contact your doctor immediately if you begin experiencing hallucinations or feelings similar to intoxication, or if you develop bleeding gums, fainting, difficulty urinating, irregular heartbeat, loss of memory or emotions, a nose bleed, unusual muscular movements, or, in women, menstrual changes. In particular, experiencing chest pain, seizures, suicidal thoughts, or a set of symptoms called serotonin syndrome (including confusion, uncontrollable agitation, diarrhea, decreased motor skills, tremors, and sweating), may be a sign that you are having a serious reaction to the treatment. You should seek urgent medical attention if you begin experiencing these side effects of Celexa.
As with other SSRI drugs, a separate set of side effects of Celexa can occur when treatment is stopped, and is referred to as discontinuation syndrome. SSRI withdrawal symptoms include sweating, nausea, tremors, and confusion, but the most characteristic symptom is a sensation of electric shocks in the head, colloquially referred to as “brain zaps.” The risk and severity of discontinuation syndrome can be reduced by gradually reducing drug dosage over time, as well as by temporarily switching to a drug which stays in the body longer, such as fluoxetine (Prozac).
In addition, an excessively high dosage of Celexa can cause an overdose, the symptoms of which include dizziness, sweating, nausea, tremours, drowsiness, irregular heartbeat, seizures, and, in extreme cases, coma. If you believe you or someone else may have inadvertently taken an overdose of Celexa, it is imperative that you seek immediate medical assistance.
– Sources and More Reading –
C-Health. “Celexa – Uses, Side Effects, Interactions.”
National Institutes of Health. “Citalopram: MedlinePlus Drug Information.”