PBC Foundation
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Has anyone else with PBC been prescribed citralopram for fatigue & joint pain?

I was given this for PBC by a consultant. I was unsure if it was helping so stopped taking it after consulting my GP. I am now experiencing severe pain especially in my legs & my fatigue seems worse. I'm a bit reluctant to start the citralopram again as everyone assumes it's for depression.

6 Replies

Hi I wasnt put on citralopram but have been on Trazodone for a couple of years which is also a SSRI. It worked well to start with and I got relief from migraines, pain, RLS and slept well. Basically they calm your nervous system and some of us suffer with neurological symptoms with PBC. Over a period of time I needed to increase the dose to get the same affect and them I started to suffer more side effects. I decided about 6 months ago that I wanted to come off them - I was in for a bit of a shock, as you cant just stop taking them, you have to be weaned off them over a long period of time. I am just about ready now to come of fTrazadone completely but needless to say many of my problems are re-emerging - anti depressants are used a lot off license for neuro problems, but like you I found people constantly jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Please dont let other peoples assumptions put you off taking them. Make a judgement on how much they help, I dont regret taking them, Ive just come to the end of the road with them at the moment.

Take care

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Hi Val02 thanks for your response. I think I'm probably going to go back on them because I'm now in a lot more pain and it's stopping me from sleeping. The person who made the assumption was a "health professional" and expert in PBC allegedly. It did upset me at the time as he also put the drug & for fatigue in inverted commas, suggesting he doubted why it was prescribed, into a report to my employer. I stopped taking them after a discussion with my GP purely to judge if they were having a positive affect on my condition. At the moment they seem to be helping so I'll go back on them. Thanks again


I've been on them for 10-years 20mg in the morning, also Amitriptyline at night 10mg for sleeplessness. Both work well, until you stop taking them, it's only then you realiise they do help with pain. I've tried taking them both every other day and it does work equally well. Although perhaps I have a little more pain, but less sleepiness during the day. I was prescribed them by my GP, but was also under the Consultant at the hospital. Good luck



I was a bit naive several years ago until I had a friend and also my sister who were given tablets that were for depression for other health problems.

What these drugs tend to do is block out how you are feeling at the time and tough they do not eradicate the problem they apparently can help.

In my sister's case - it was thought at the time she had IBS by the GP - she was prescribed one and started taking but never read anything about the tablets prior to taking. She almost crashed her car and couldn't stay upright on a chair at work as she said she wanted to fall asleep. She then read the leaflet and said she wasn't taking the tablets so stopped taking them on the 3rd day. She was horrified finding out that they were an anti-depressant but I'd found out via my friend (she was prescribed Prozac) these tablets are also used as I understand the terminology is 'off label' meaning like urso was originally only used for gallstone dissolution, it was then given to PBC patients. I know what put my sister off was the fact she had been informed by the GP on getting the prescription that she wouldn't feel very good for a short while and then she'd be on the tablets for around 6mths (due to then having to be weaned off).

My friend who was prescribed Prozac never took hers (she was at the time suffering from labyrinthitis) as she said she didn't want to become hooked on them.

I think once you get over the initial side-effects if you experience any then things could feel ok. I'm not in any pain and hope not to be but if one feels that they feel great using a certain medication then regardless of what it is, at the end of the day only you know how you really feel to do what you feel right.


Tigger 858

I have advanced Cirrhosis, many people assume I obtained this by over consumption of alcohol, (I presume we have all had this) My brain fog / fatigue became extreme (and with that frustration and anger which lead to short fuse and inappropriate behavior!) Citalopram was prescribed as an SSRI anti depressant (that it may have beneficial side effects were a secondary consideration) I feel 200% better ON Citalopram than I felt prior to taking them. Is it OK to have PBC but not OK to have "depression" (I hate that word, I was not depressed, but confused and angry) My Fatigue is very evident, I feel Citalopram has NOT helped reduce fatigue, but it is so difficult to lock one problem down and lay all the blame on one of the many medications or changing symptoms of the PBC condition. I am in awe at people who claim to sense the difference between 150 and 300 Mg capsules of Urso. For me nothing is so black / white in side effects of medications and condition. My advice - ignore others who have little understanding of PBC, ignore those who have a problem with the notion that a mental issue is in any way something to be ashamed of, (even if you have no mental issues your self) figure out what is best for you and live life to the full!

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Hi thanks for your words of wisdom. Your absolutely right. I've also had people say stuff re the over consumption of alcohol ( I don't drink, only cause I'm not very good at it lol). It was after I had tried various painkillers to relieve the severe bone pain that I was given citralopram. It was a bit of a vicious circle, pain was stopping me from sleeping and the more tired I became the more pain I was in. I also joined a gym around about the time I started the citralopram. I was working on the principle that I was already in pain so it couldn't be any worse. I think that the combination has helped. My overall fitness has improved however I need to pace myself and only do what I can depending on how I feel on any given day. As for living life to the full that's what I will do. I feel my life has been on hold for the past year so time to move on. Thank you and I hope you feel better.


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