I am 65 and have just been prescribed Citalopram for depression, taken the first 2 tabs but feel worse, has anyone had similar reactions?

I have been feeling depressed for about 3 months and have tried to fight this without recourse to medication but have had to admit I was not progressing, only alcohol would lighten my moods, and then only for short periods. I am concerned about how long the "low" feelings will continue, I want to get my life back on to some sort of normal basis. Any advice from similar sufferers would be so reassuring, thanks, Pauline.

Last edited by

30 Replies

  • Bernard, it takes about 2-4 weeks for your citalopram to have any effect. So it will be some time before you notice the change. I have been on citalopram for about 16 months at maximum dose and it works.

  • I think it is quite common whatever the medication, to feel a little worse initially - you just have to keep going at it. Any medication can have side effects so if you've got some physical symptoms and they seem to be persisting remember to mention them to your GP. There are loads of other medications that they can try.

  • Hi Bernard

    I've been on citalopram millions of times and feelings of getting worse in the initial days of starting them are quite common. That said, however, if you are worried about how you are feeling, or start getting any suicidal thoughts, you should contact your GP as soon as possible. I've generally had good results from taking citalopram in the past, although I've found it's not always easy getting the dose right. What mg are you on?

    Lucy x

  • I was interested to read this as I started on 20mg Prozac a week ago but have been having extreme reactions and so am changing tomorrow to a lower dose of 10mg Citalopram. I'll be interested to see the difference. Suex

  • That's a really low dose, Sue. I've only ever started at 20mg x

  • Hi, yes I know. The thing is that I'm not clinically depressed now in that clinical depression occurs when someone usually either does not have insight into the deeper reasons for the depression lasting, for example when grief is unresolved because of the feelings from the past, often unconscious, that it relates to, or when things cannot be changed, i.e. in reaction to something in the environment like being stuck with violent neighbours or unable to get work despite wanting to - helplessness. I do have a small amount of that, but mostly my low moods - which can be very low at times - are as a result of having insight and realising how much my childhood has affected my life - ie they are grief, but there is such a lot of it because I am now 63 and the majority of things in my life can't be changed because it really is too late for those things - I can't train for the career I would have wanted or marry the kind of man I would have had I been in touch with my feelings earlier in life. I need meds to help shift the pattern of getting stuck in grief rather than to deal with symptoms that are otherwise not fully understood. Years ago I started on 20mg too because I was depressed and it was subtly different to feel.

    Sorry, that's such a long reply!!! How are you now? I notice you put a long blog on here recently but I don't have the energy to read it tonight, maybe tomorrow.


  • I'm alright thanks, seems an OK start to the day so far! Catch up later x

  • hi Pauline that's the norm , you will feel worse for a bit until in your system then your mood should lift , just hang in there , there will be light at the end of the tunnel

  • My experience with medication is a very long lasting one and I can honestly say that if I had known when I was first prescribed anti depressants what I know now I would never have been so gullible and niaeve as to take the first one. After 20 years and being told that they were not addictive I can see the devistating effect they have had on my life. Maybe some people have more highly addictive metabalisms than others but I can see now that no amount of medication can change certain situations. In my opinion it is worth considering every other avenue of therapy and turning to medication only when all else has failed.

  • I am on 20mg citalopram and for the first few weeks I did not feel any differance apart from a bit more panicky, I am now feeling a little better but not well enough I think i should be on a higher dose to be honest! with all pills they take time to work.

  • I've just broken my 10mg tablet in half and am taking 5mg and I always feel the difference within hours of taking the tablet, a state of arousal though not happier, then find as things settle my mood lifts a little within 4-5 days which I think is partly due to feedback in that if I'm feeling better than that also lifts my mood if you see what I mean. Meds are so different for each person. I would not let a medic decide for me when I have a good brain and can research for myself the various advantages and disadvantages and how to alter the dose. I have never told my GP if I reduced the dose as they like to feel they make the decision but one of the GPs at the practice said if the side effects are bad to start off every other day and after 3-4 weeks increase the dose. I did that for myself anyway the first time I took Prozac and that immediately reduced the side effects, and this time taking only 5mg has had no side effects but will still build in in my body, just more slowly. I hope things settle down for you. Suex

  • I have been taking anti depressants for over 20 years. Numerous times I have tried to come of them and numerous times I have failed. I have tried reducing the dose gradually over a period of time by taking one every other day, then one every two days. At on point I was doing so well I managed to come of them for nearly 6 months but then life came back up and bit me again like it always does and I went to pieces again. Once back on them and after about 3 weeks I started to feel that I could cope again. Why am I not strong enough to handle my life without them?

  • My answer will always be that you did not learn the coping strategies in early life and that instead like most of us who become depressed you had experiences that were too difficult to deal with at the time and perhaps triggered a sensitive nature. That's my view.x

  • life can be a cow,and coping stratergies don't come easy if not learnt young. meantime try and view yourself as 'being in recovery' from anti-deps, the same as someone who is cutting down on cigs. Enjoy the times when you can get through without, and when you do need them, well you know that is temporary, please don't call yourself a failure . Done a quick google the stats seem to suggest in some areas of the country one in six people take anti-deps, with nearly fifty million prsecrptions made out each year in the uk . By the sounds of it anyone NOT on meds will soon be seen as abnormal !!! Real shame is that the meds can get used Instead of therapy/counselling rather than as in Addition to it. the cheaper option,costs again..

    Strength comes in lots of ways, and I'd be tempted to wager that others see strengths in you which they don't have enough of.

  • hello to you gardengnome.

    It may be true that others see strengths in me that they don't have. I agree that it is a shame that meds can be sometimes used as a substitute for concilling but I feel that all my councillors have turned their backs on me and I don't feel strong enough to survive without a little emotional support.

  • Please don't feel bad about this , you have an illness . Diabetics don't beat themselves up for taking insulin, so we should not either. Maybe the time is not right to do without the Meds. Don't be so hard on yourself. Be gentle with yourself and have compassion on yourself.

    You are not a failure at all , at that rate I am a big failure, your human.


  • have just been changed from citalopram> i found the side effects harsh and my appetite went but with any ntidepressants takes a good 2-3 weeks to feel any difference

  • yeah I got worst I tried to scrub my skin off with a broken stone I have and my cutting became something I did several times a day. I was given Citalopram for an undiagnosed condition by a doctor who said I was faking, even as she looked me in the eyes said her thinking was that I just wanted attention and had no real problems.

  • I hate this drug. It did nothing for me when I was on it, then when I tried to come off it I had awful withdrawal effects and terrible depression. It took months and months to come off it. Although this drug works for a lot of people I wouldn't take it without a lot of support, just in case you have a bad reaction to it.

    Some doctors, as we know are very unhelpful. I found out through Mind which doctor as my practice was the best one to see.

  • I think it's more helpful not to mention individual drugs, everyone is different and it might put some people off taking a drug that could help them. It's great that you got a good doctor, it makes a big difference. Have a nice weekend Grumpy Gus ( your name is funny it made me smile)


  • I went to see one of the unknown team of GPs that now run the practice I belong to.My appointment with Dr. K was very distressing for me. He was not listening to me. He was talking at me.He told me that he could not fix all my problems. I said I don't expect you to. He told me that I had too many problems and to go home and write a list and come back and make a different appointment for each one. I tried to tell him about my mental health as well as my physical problems. He said that he could tell that I had mental problems. He wasn't interested in my insomnia or my dropped arches or my constipation, suspected urine infection or my arthritis. He did say he could give me some medication for the pains I have been having in my chest but unfortunately my ten minutes were up. Has anyone else experienced this kind of uncaring trearment from GPs? I went to the Doctors for medical help, support and guidence, and came away feeling suicidal. Have these people taken a hypocratic oath or a hypocritic one? Are they more interested in collecting their pay cheque and playing golf that practicing medicine? As a result of this I have lost all faith in Doctors.

  • Firstly give the tablets a chance. They take up to 2 weeks to work, and the side effects come before you feel better. Personally I find I rarely have side effects with Meds. Your GP is right no pill Can fix all our problems. They are. Helping hand And we still have to put a lot of effort in ourselves. That is the reality, so patience and try to focus on a week or two and you should begint you improve. Of course if you still feel terrible I about. Three weeks, go right back to Dr. As not all Meds work for everyone.

    Take care of yourself , eat and sleep well and I hope you will be feeling better very soon.


  • I think if you go to the doctor with lots of problems , they may write you off as a hypochondriac. I would never go to doctor with constipation etc. they will write you off as weird. Go to them with one problem, in fairness your other problems don't sound life threatening whereas Depression is. I think too Drs vary some are kind and sympathetic but most Drs would tune out if you start rattling off a list of problems. Take care of yourself and try to focus on positive things.

    Hugs to you


  • Thank you for you input.---- but I'm sorry to have to say----"What positive things. When no one cares it really is time to think about dying.

  • I think you're right a lot of doctors are more bothered about their pay cheque and playing golf... It certainly seems that way.

    It can be really tricky getting what you need from a doctor and it can take a lot of trying before getting the right help. They should take every illness seriously especially depression. But it will help to make an appointment for one problem at a time, unless you think certain problems are linked. Just go about the one you think it most important first and try giving as much information about it as you can. Doctors have to see a lot of people in one day so it can help to make an early in the day appointment, as they might be more 'awake' :) ..or try a different doctor. Just don't give up trying...

  • Thank you for your feedback but this really has put me off Doctors for life. I will never go and see another one willingly. Not a G.P. anyway.

  • I don't think GPs have much to offer especially when it comes to depression. Even the best GP at my practice to talk about depression to could only offer me a course of CBT. Which I personally thought was a bit pointless. I think I've said before on here I've found charities like Mind more helpful. As my main problem is self harm so they got me in touch with a local charity for people with self harm problems. So I got someone good to talk to about things, that respected and understood what I was talking about... I'm just saying there might be things out there you don't know about that could help.

  • Thank you very much for your input. I will certainly give some thought to your suggestion about getting in touch with mind. The usual avenues that have been open to me i.e. local NHS mental health clinics and GPs seem to be turning their backs on me and maybe many others probably because of lack of funding. I too was referred for CBT some time ago and like you I found it a bit of a waste of time. It informed me of little that I had n't already learned in books.

  • Good luck with what ever you decide to do...

  • Hi bernard1948. I too have drank alcohol in order to try and lift my low mood but found that I felt even more depressed the next day. Like you I have been concerned and still am whenever the beast of depression rears it's ugly head. It always lifts, eventually. Now days when I'm feeling low I always think about something I read once, and it was this. It was Abraham Lincoln who said. "Most folk are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

You may also like...