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Scire52: Celexa


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Hello, I have been dealing with anxiety for many years. After not finding anything that worked longterm. I decided to take my first ssri, 10 mg Celexa this weekend. The nausea and sleepiness has been so bad I want to stop after 2 days. It will be just too difficult to go to  work and function like this. I can barely get out of bed. Since I am new to ssri can someone let me know how to taper this off to reduce the sides? Like should I take 5 mg until the end of the week and stop?

Also would like to know once I get off the Celexa, I think I'll probably feel a bit low. How soon thereafter can I take vitamins and supplements like trytophan and st johns wort (would like to avoid serotonin syndrome).


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  • Moderator Emeritus

Scire -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
Since you have been on 10 mg Celexa for only 2 days and have had strong adverse effects -- sleepiness, fatigue -- you can taper more rapidly than someone who has been on the medication for a month or more. 
You could either

  • take ½ a tablet tomorrow and the day after that, then take a ¼ table for 2-3 days then stop altogether.
    -- or --
  • stop entirely right away,

Gradual reduction, i.e. #1 above, is less risky.
For your reference, here's our topic on Celexa with tapering tips for those who have taken it for longer. Although the slow tapering tips are likely not applicable in your situation, there is good information about the medication itself:
Tips for tapering off Celexa (citalopram)


Please let us know what you choose to do and how that goes for you.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Hi scallywag thank you for your reply. Yes I went to the doctor today to get something for the nausea. I used to sleep like 8 hours a day deep sleeper. Now, the lightest noise wakes me up at 8 am everyday which is funny because I never could wake before noon. But then the nausea was really bad, took me like 2 hours to try to get ready to go to the doc. I was less nervous and jumpy at the packed hospital, that is a plus of the ssri I guess. I think that is one of the main thing I am taking it is to not care, and to be able to focus. It's hard to find something to do that that is natural. One natural thing I tried before was inositol although that causes lots of gastro issues and sometimes hyper kind of energy.  Its perfect with a drink although I am deciding to quit or drink once in a blue moon.

Later in the day at the car shop, I was talking with the car attendant, I seemed happier than I usually am, but my goodness I lost a lot of my clarity in speaking. And then she talked about Thanksgiving, and I said yeah thats a couple weeks a way, but its actually this week. So wow, its surprising how forgetful I am. Also I forget about video games or other things I was doing, I just didnt care I guess. 

So with the taper, since someone just told me Thanksgiving is this week I dont know should I keep up with the medicine and do the taper next week? There will be people coming over and I dont want to be all over the place. The celexa works well in conjunction with a stimulant as I believe I have an imbalance for at least serotonin and dopamine.  The sides of mainly the severe nausea in the morning (even after taking the med with food at night) and the memory issues are worrying. The other sides I dont mind. 

I dont plan to do cold turkey because I am sensitive to meds. My plan is option 2 your slow taper so thank you for showing me the regiment. Or do you think it best to just take the med as usual until next week and then do the taper? I messaged my pdoc I think she would recommend me to switch to a different ssri possibly sertraline since it is made of different ingredients, so maybe it is the better one?

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Scire,


There will be many here wishing they'd found SA as early on as you did.  You're really lucky if you can side-step this whole SSRI mess.  There's an informative book we often recommend to people - Anatomy of an Epidemic - which explains why it is better to avoid all antidepressants.  If you have reacted badly to one, it is likely you'll respond in the same way (or worse) to another.  This is because the effects of SSRIs are cumulative.


Scallywag's suggestion to reduce slowly over this week is a good one.  Even if you have people coming over it's probably best to start reducing, as either way you'll be feeling out of sorts.  And reducing sooner is always easier as the brain is less adapted to the drug. 


Here's our thread on dealing with anxiety.  I know that when you've been trying for years you end up feeling desperate and that can lead people to doctors and drugs.  It was that situation that led me to SSRIs (although that was for depression, rather than anxiety).  What's finally worked for me was slowly building up a whole nest of supportive tools.  The long story is in my blog (link in my signature).  Perhaps you can try something similar for your anxiety.


The short story is that I've built up a combo of things that together have helped me manage depression.  I think of it as weaving a nest, weaving a held life. 


My 'feathers and twigs' include restorative yoga - which also helps you learn to listen to your body; eating whole foods; learning to meditate; finding time to be playful; regular counseling; writing; crying; developing deeper connections with a few close friends and asking for help; resting more; saying 'no' more; singing; dancing...


If you start to look, you will be able to build things into your life that uniquely support you.  It will be different to my list.  Eventually you'll be able to spot depressive waves as they approach, and you can be prepared for them.  That way they don't bowl you off your feet so much.   


There's no 'single' answer to depression; it requires changing one's life to a nurturing and supportive life.  It requires us to no longer try to push on through.  It requires us to listen to our body and soul, to create quiet places where our thoughts can come out to us, and where we can then acknowledge and respond to them.  


The more I've done this, the more the joy in my life has increased.  This is an immense change from where I once was.


I hope you can start to find your way through this,


2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

2023 December - Now on 5 micro-beads Effexor. Minimal symptoms but much more time needed between drops. Symptoms begin to increase.

2024 April - Updosed to 6 microbeads - immediate increase in symptoms for 4 days. Decreased to 5 microbeads.

 'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Hi Scire,


There will be many here wishing they'd found SA as early on as you did.  You're really lucky if you can side-step this whole SSRI mess.  There's an informative book we often recommend to people - Anatomy of an Epidemic - which explains why it is better to avoid all antidepressants.  If you have reacted badly to one, it is likely you'll respond in the same way (or worse) to another.  This is because the effects of SSRIs are cumulative.

KarenB, thank you for the links and the suggestions. I'm still taking the recommended doses through the holidays, there is family here that I dont get along with. Surprisingly when they are harping on me (when I tell them not to) I was able not to have a reaction and be quiet and forget about it. That was a first in a long time, so that is why its a hard decision for me whether to quit or not.  I am taking the pill for now I do feel I am in a bit of a tough spot, my anxiety and moods sometimes get the best of me. I'm kind of in a depressed part of the rust belt now where ppl aren't so friendly, the cops are a bit too overzealous (even if you just have anxiety), home life is not great and so everyday is a bit of a struggle.


Also the doc told me I need to take it 4-6 weeks till it has its full effect, so perhaps I should give it a try right? I do know that I have low serotonin just from the symptoms, and I've taken quite a bit of nootropics such as trytophan, 5htp, sam-e, have not helped perhaps I am a non-responder, so this was very disappointing. I know most people have an effect when they take these things but I dont except for maybe a few minutes relief. Perhaps its from gut issues before and candida cleanse wiped away a lot of the serotonin? 


Aside from occasionally forgetting stuff the other side effects have mostly subsided except for one. In the back of my head, say 5 o clock (if my forehead was 12 o clock), there's like an occasional pulsing. Its really bothering me at times when it wont stop. i dont know if its a heart beat or a synapse or what. I'd like to know because its so strange its just at that one location. Its usually stopped by taking a really really long nap or taking some more of the pill, which right now is 10mg celexa. Have you ever heard of this symptom? I think I am going to ask my psych about it. I have some old lexapo capsules that I have not tried yet, would it be wise to switch to that immediately since they are similar drugs, or taper off the celexa and then go on the lexapro in order to avoid the pulsing in the back of my head?


I am definitely keeping in mind for the ways of natural healing even going on a 2 hour run in the cold today. Its just I'm trying to get through this time and then move out on my own. I really wish I had started in summer since its so cold and dark out all the time now, much harder to prepare for a move but at that time I was fully focused on the election. Anyway sorry if too many questions, I will check back on here from time to time, just so I make sure the forgetfulness doesn't get the better of me!

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