Coming off Citalopram

Has anyone else taken the above drug since having been diagnosed? My GP prescribed it for me during my treatment 'cos I felt so down all the time. It has been a wonder drug, not an anti depressant but just sort of levelled everything out. I have recently wanted to expel all drugs from my system and so asked about coming off it. I was initially on 20mg and went down to 10mg. I had a few days where I then took one every other day but then had to stop immediatelky as I had to have an anit biotic which had conflicting effects with citalopram.

Boy - am I suffering now! I feel 'cold turkey' with symptoms of anxiaety and feeling weepy, can't sleep and have periods of 'itchiness'. From googling, these sysmptoms are apparently due to coming off the citalopram too quickly? Anyone else had this?

18 Replies

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  • Hi Elini

    Sounds horrible.... I am sorry I am not much help with this, I am sure other people can help though......but just sending you my best wishes love x G x

  • Thank you Gwyn....yes, it seems that the symptoms are similar to those I had before I went on it! plus, it makes you gain weight too (more weight I don't need.........the steroids and chemo already did enough thank you!). Thanks for the support.. Eleni x

  • Hi Eleni,

    Sorry you're having these problems.

    Citalopram is a difficult drug to come off. It is for the treatment of severe depression caused by organic illness rather than reactive depression caused by events. I suspect you probably did not 'qualify' for it in the first place, and it is often the case that people prescribed anti-depressants inadvisedly have the most difficulty when they come to stop them - especially the group of drugs to which citalopram belongs.

    My advice would be to see a Dr, and discuss a withdrawal regime to help you; but also to expect and regognise that these symptoms are withdrawal, and will lessen as you adapt to being without the drug. Depending upon how long you have taken the drug, and at what dose, it might be some months before you feel fully ok!

    Good luck with it!

    Isadora

  • ((Eleni))

  • Hello Lorraine. How are you doing? Hx

  • I'm doing ok I think. Feeling much better after having gall bladder removed.

  • Talk on email?

  • Hello,

    I have no experience of your drug, but I know how you are feeling, a couple of months after my hysterectomy, I was very low, not sleeping, crying all the time etc.

    Two things worked for me - counselling - I cried and cried then cried some more (healing tears apparently) as a result i feel more ordered in my thoughts and therefore I am back to sleep normally.

    I also took the advice 'be kind to yourself' and made it a mission, I had lovely, long scented baths, I had my first of many facials, I bought ridiculously expensive ready meals from Mark & Spencer. I am having my first manicure in years on Wednesday, Whatever blows your hair back! and why not.

    I try to see things through grateful eyes, the sun is shining, my washing is drying, my family are fab and I intend to be as happy and healthy as I can be.

    Hang on in there, 4 months ago i was the lowest I have ever been in my life, but today I am doing ok (most of the time ;-))

    Take care xx

  • What a brilliant uplifting post. I love reading the good news stories - but what you did takes courage and determination.

    Hopefully you're still there on the crest of a wave. xxx love Annie

  • Hi Eleni

    I was prescribed citalopram about 9 months after my go first recommended it. I truly believe that I would not be here now if I had not had it and I wished I had taken it earlier. A very slow withdrawal over up to three months is recommended. I took 10 mg for a few months and then 5 for a few weeks and then forgot a few nights , so stopped altogether. I also did 2 cbt courses which were great.

    Do please speak to your doctor about how you are feeling and feel free to pm me if you wish.

    Take care

    Love

    Charlie xxx

    Please do speak to your doctor about

  • Hi Charlie

    Yes, I should have come off it slower but i got an infection in my toe and had to take a very strong antibiotic which my GP said reacted with citalopram so to stop taking the slow withdrawal altogether. That's what has caused my problem........I have now had a homeopathic Doctor prescribe something that will help with these side effects of the withdrawal - so onwards and upwards. I wouldn't hesitate taking it again if I needed 'cos it definitely helped (and I also had counselling), but would be more careful about coming off it in the future. Three months slowly sounds right to me.. Eleni x

  • I've been on Citalopram for 5 years. If I miss a dose for 2 days, my lips start to feel numb, I get strange brain shocks and I start to get sad. This drug really needs to be reduced slowly if you have to go off of it. It's been so helpful for me, that I hope I never have to go off it.

  • Well, what can I say to this, such another huge shock, so I am feeling even more let down by the medical pros taking care of me.

    My diagnosis and surgery was all finished in less than two weeks, so it was still early days when our then GP came to visit me at home, yay unusual these days.

    Previous to this visit my husband went to see him for a chat and he put him on 10mg once a day of citalopram. He was told it was a MILD anti-depressant and NOT addictive, he told him to take it because he needed to keep strong in order to look after me, he told my husband that If I needed a house call then he would come.

    I had my first tearful day but we called the GP out because I wasn`t coping at all well with the pain. I WASN`T depressed, just in pain and believe you me I know the difference.

    Anyway, the doc told me that he wanted me to start taking a daily dose of 10mg citalopram, he told me they are NOT addictive and that I can stop taking them anytime that I wanted with no side effects. He also told me they were a very MILD anti-depressant ( he must have meant a mild dose of anti-depressant). He also must have meant that they were not addictive at such a low dose??????????? although he didn`t actually say that.

    Results, they have been my life saver too, They just take a lot my anxiety away and I have coped so much better than I ever imagined I ever could do.

    Usually, I fall to pieces at the smallest of things, I honestly never knew I had this stregnth OR is that what it is or do these tablets just numb you so much that you have no feeling left?

    To begin with this is a bit how they made me feel, I couldn`t cry, I didn`t even feel that I wanted too. Like I say they have been my life saver and helped me avoid the grim of most of it, I wonder if I have needed them long before the cancer.

    I have been taking these now for about 2 yrs and 3months, I have never once felt as though I have needed to increase the dose but I have never even thought about coming off them. Thinking about it though, I don`t even have a down day, not like I use to do in which I always blamed it on the PMT time of the month.

    So, once again I have been enlightened and once again you ladies have given me something else to seriously think about and this will be added to the other queries that I need to take up with the doctors.

    I`m not sure if this is a good thing or not really, without reading these posts, I would be still believing what I have been told. Some things have made me self doubt, have I listened properly?, have I interpreted things wrongly?. I have to say it is a bit of a concern.

    I have checked with my husband and daughters who have all been told the same and who all agree with my version on things, so the good news is I am not going mad!!!!

    Beginning to lose my trust though as this is just another thing that contradicts what I have been led to believe.

    Coming off this drug is sounding absolotely awful - I do know that my hubby stops them for a while then he starts to feel at a bit of a low ebb so he takes them again.

    Adding to what lemongrass has already suggested, as I do all of those things without the guilt, LOL! Each night before I go to sleep I write all the positive things about each day

    down and anything that has not gone so well, I write down how I can either put that right or make changes for the better. It sure does work for me, I call it my self homemade therapy.

    Do I still need to pop the pills, well I have no idea how I would be without them - I will let you know.

    All the best and so feel for you

    gentle hugs xx

  • Hi Tina

    I am taking 20mg of citalopram.I have only been taking them for about 6wks

    after visiting my gp with severe depression (her words not mine). I cant believe

    how good I feel, although I do feel very tired in the mornings. My gp told me

    exactly the same as yours....they are a mild and none addictive anti depressant.

    I know someone who had taken them for a long while and she didn't have any

    side effects when coming off them....which she did very slowly.

    They certainly work wonders as I have been fighting with this depression

    since I finished chemo last June and this is the first time I have felt anything

    like my old self since having this flipping OC.

    I would think your GP thinks you are still needing the tablets and if you did

    come off them and had a bad reaction then I am sure you could go back on

    them

    Best wishes

    Angie

  • Hi Eleni

    I've had these in the past for two separate bouts of depression. I didn't have any trouble coming off them and wouldn't hesitate to go back on them if I feel I need them.

    Best wishes

    Love Mary xx

  • No, I wouldn't hesitate to go back on if I felt the need..I do think it's a marvellous drug.....but I am struggling with coming off it suddenly.

  • Hi there

    Regarding the uses for Citalopram , I beg to differ with some of the previous posts.

    The British National Formulary states that it is licensed for the treatment of depressive illness and not speifically for the treatment of major depression. It can be and is widely used for reactive depression and they are not addictive when taken as advised i.e. gradually stopping. There are several antidepressants that are considered stronger e.g. Venal famine , setter alien etc. etc. , so 10 to 20 mg of Citalopram would definitely be considered mild.

    Few people take them on a whim and we also cannot ignore the effects of untreated anxiety and depression on our poor little immune systems. I came off them last summer and have been fine emotionally since, despite the fact that I still have significant chronic pain issues.

    Charlie xxx

  • Thank you every one who have put my mind at ease - thanks, you have no idea how glad I was to hear this - thought I might have it all wrong or the GP had.

    I can now rest and continue to take my medication without feeling as though I might be turning into a dependant junky, LOL!

    Thanks again girls xxxxx

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