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QueenofSwords: attempting to get off of Celexa / citalopram 20mg after 18 years


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Hi there.   I'm really grateful to find this place.  My husband and I are planning to conceive next spring and have set up a "weaning off" treatment with my doctor and therapist because its suggested that celexa/citalopram could be harmful to a growing fetus.  


I started getting panic attacks at 19 years old.  I was told that "depression and anxiety run in your family and you need to be on this medicine" without receiving any suggestions for therapy or any other mental health support.  Over the years I've been on zoloft, effexor, lexapro and had chunks of time off of the meds completely (I'm unable to remember how long). 


I struggle with chronic health issues of mystery inflammation and I'd like to get to the root of whats actually causing these imbalances in my body.  


The last couple times I've tried to wean off of the meds (maybe 2-3 years ago?) I found myself in a really dark/depressed place with suicidal ideations.


I'm wondering if its worth it to even try to wean off or if I should stay with whats "working" to keep me stable. 


I would hate to pass this depression/anxiety/any kind of brain issues on to future generations though. 

I question whether this is truly a "genetic brain imbalance or more of an energetic / ancestral wound." 

I want to do the "work" for future generations rather than passing any more wounds along - but I'm also 37 and can't wait too much longer to have children... 


Hoping to find some solutions (although I've tried MANY MANY things over the years) - I am humbled and ready to try again.


Thanks for your support, 


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  • ChessieCat changed the title to REAL NAME: Attempting to get off of Celexa/citalopram 20mg after 18 years.
  • Moderator

Hi Eliza, 

welcome to SA. 

can you please create a drug signature so that we can advise you better. 


How to List Drug History in Signature - Introductions and updates - Surviving Antidepressants


We recommend a tapering schedule of no more than 10% of your previous dose every 4 weeks. Anything faster than that risks causing withdrawal symptoms. There are more gentle microtapering schedules as well. Unfortunately, that means that it will take you more than 2 years to come off of these drugs. Some drugs are even harder to taper off (usually SNRIs).  Your risk of having withdrawal symptoms also increases if you have tried to or have come off of the drug CT before and if you have been on psych drugs for a long time. It is really frustrating when you need to get off of the drugs sooner. I speak from experience here. 


Why taper by 10% of my dosage? - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

Why taper? SERT transporter occupancy studies show importance of gradual change in plasma concentration - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

The Brassmonkey Slide Method of Micro-tapering - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants


The reason why depression runs in families doesn't have to be genetic even though lots of people imply that. Lots of people have been through a lot of trauma. They then create coping mechanisms for getting through it. These coping mechanisms can help them get through overwhelming experiences but they may be misaligned with how the world works (think anxiety). They may then pass these to their children and you end up 'inheriting' anxiety or depression etc. But you can heal from these through various therapy techniques. 


I can't predict whether you will be able to wean off of these drugs before you get pregnant, but any reduction will help reduce the drug burden to the fetus. These drugs increase the risk of a few undesirable outcomes for the baby but they do not necessarily mean that the baby will have these outcomes (heart disease/autism/withdrawal, pulmonary hypertension (rare)). Many women do go ahead and have very healthy babies while on the drugs. 


Having said that - the idea that psychological problems are caused by a chemical imbalance is a myth that was used to sell drugs to millions of people. There is no proof for that theory whatsoever. 



What is more, the evidence that antidepressants are better than placebo is also lacking. Here is Prof Iriving Kirsch's article on that topic. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4172306/ Some pharma affiliated academics have tried to run alternative studies but even their findings are very flimsy - very small improvement above placebo from ADs - so little that it is clinically indistinguishable (placebo from drug). 


So, staying on the drugs will not do anything for you or protect your baby from anything but it may harm your baby. The cost benefit analysis is all cost and no benefit. The problem though is that you may not be able to get off of the drugs. The issues you had getting off of the drugs before were likely withdrawal symptoms, rather than return of your 'original condition.' 


Many people find this video on withdrawal quite helpful



How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants


Withdrawal is temporary but can be brutal for some people. I'd suggest that you start lowering your dose of your medicine as much as you can using the 10% a month method before attempting to get pregnant and even if you are unable to get off of the drugs, you will have lowered the amount that the baby is exposed to in utero. 


Please let us know if we can help in any way 





Edited by Onmyway

"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 


I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 


In the next few weeks I do not have a lot of capacity to respond to questions. If you need a quick answer pls tag or ask other moderators who may want to be tagged. 


Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48, 2/15/22 - 0.43, 25/07/23 - 0.25 (mistake), 6/08/23 - 0.33mg


Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to QueenofSwords: attempting to get off of Celexa / citalopram 20mg after 18 years
  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you so much for all of this very helpful feedback, OMW!


I am a little confused about the timing you suggested — 10% decrease every 4 weeks - wouldn’t that take 10 months? Not 2 years?


thanks for clarifying! 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

The reduction is calculated on the last dose not the starting dose.


See the graphs at the bottom of Post #1 of this topic:


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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