Citalopram and Withdrawal

Posted , 6 users are following.

About 8 years ago, I took Citalopram 20mg for two years and it helped fantastically and got rid of the depression. The only side effect I had at first was yawning lots and it did take me a year to gradually cut the drug down. But it got rid of my depression at the time and had no issues with it.

Anyway, fast forward a few years, one baby later and the depression creeps back. It got to the point I couldn't function anymore. I went back to the doctor who agreed to start Citalopram again, this time starting on 10mg. Within 20 mins of taking the first pill I started shaking. I carried on, over the next few days I was experiencing dreadful symptoms adapting to this drug. The shaking left me unable to drive. I just couldn't function, I couldn't sit and play with my son for more than five mins as the tiredness was overwhelming. The doctor advised me to ride it through. After 15 days on 10mg I woke up one morning with ringing in my head and ears that was sooo loud it was like an alarm going off. I took the drug for two more days and then just couldn't take it anymore. About three days later, the withdrawal symptoms hit, I started fitting violently for three hours at a time. The noises in my head were so loud I couldn't sleep for weeks. I had what felt like electricity zapping around constantly in my head, I couldn't hear properly, it felt like crickets or the brakes on a train screeching. I started doing crazy stuff, walking across the road without looking for traffic and wondering how much it would hurt if I stabbed myself. I was in a very bad place, worse that before I took the drug.

This was nine months ago and gradually every single day the symptoms got 0.1% better, very very slowly. The shakes and fitting lasted around 5 months. The zapping and buzzing ears about 7 months to go. What makes me angry is that the doctor said withdrawal symptoms would go within two weeks.

So today, nine months on from taking my last tablet, I am just left with a slight tinnitus sound in my ear which I now only seem to notice when I go to bed. I hope and pray it will finally go completely.

Has anyone else suffered withdrawal symptoms this long? Also any idea why I reacted so severely this time when I took the drug again?

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14 Replies

  • Posted

    That sounds really scary moomin. I wonder if your post birth hormonal levels somehow affected how you took to the citalopram the second time? All our systems are interlinked, and you might have been super sensitive to the drug because of something like this.

    I say this because I am post menopause, and this definitely seems to have affected how sensitive I am to the drug.

    Although I don't have experience of just stopping the drug and discontinuation syndrome, if you read around on the Internet, experiences like yours are really not unusual. Also having a friend go through quite severe discontinuation at the moment..... its early days for her.

    Does sound like you've mostly recovered though. Sounds like an enormously stressful experience.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    It seems that you had an adverse reaction to the drug for some reason, the second time you got it! Probably you did well to discontinue it, but since you didn't do it slow, you had the horrible withdrawal symptoms!

    All you passed through, are widely reported at various sites from true sufferers including me,

    and it seems that concerning withdrawal and discontinuation advice, the least we can trust is unfortunately our doctors.

    You were very lucky That your symptoms were going better so quickly, as from what I am reading people are suffering for this reason quite longer and harder.

    Also probably is better that you were gone through this acute withdrawal face, than suffering the protracted withdrawal one, several months after!

    Take care

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  • Posted

    Thank you for your replies. Maybe it was something to do with the hormonal change and being very sensitive to it the second time around. When I explained the symptoms I was getting taking this drug she agreed with stopping immediately and getting it out of my system. As I only took it for 17 days I just couldn't understand why it was taking so long to get over it? I kept thinking that I'll be fine in a week... oh maybe another week... oh maybe by Christmas... oh maybe my Easter... I was so frightened these symptoms were permanent. I have been reading through posts on here during that time, but never had the courage to post in case someone said it would become permanent symptoms. It left me unable to hold a drink or use a pen to write as the shaking was so bad. I kept writing my symptoms down and noticed gradually month by month they were slowly disappearing. I never suffered with tinnitus before, but during the first few weeks I couldn't sleep in the bed with my husband, I had to sleep downstairs next to the TV or boiler as I had to find something loud to cover up the loud noises in my head. I kept replaying in my head the walk I did back from the pharmacy with the box of Citalopram, wishing I could turn back the time to before I took them and wished I had thrown them in the bin. I was so angry with myself for the mess I had created, but I was desperate, I was not functioning well as a mum and I had to get myself better for the sake of my three year old boy. This is the first time I have really spoken so much about this topic. In terms of my depression, I am in a better place now, so whether the drug did do something for that, then who knows? Thank you for listening x

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  • Posted

    Hi moomoomin, am so sorry to hear about what you have been experiencing.  I dropped from 30mg to 20mg suddenly last December and have to say the withdrawal was horrendous, I was also very tearful for months.  I went completely cold turkey on these years ago and had similar withdrawal to what you have described like the brain zaps, I also ended up with protracted withdrawal.  It took a long time but I got there in the end.  This time round, I was put on Cita for hot flushes, and ended up with lots of side effects as I had developed a sensitivity to meds so like you my reaction was different to the meds this time round.  I have read that going cold turkey can take longer to recover and it doesn't surprise me that you still have effects 9 months later.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your message. Out of curiosity, what does protracted withdrawal mean? It's not something I have heard about before.

      Last night I woke up at around 5am and then there felt like a sudden whoosh in my head and then my left ear started ringing like crazy.... arghh!! So still a way to go to get over this drug. I have gone back to taking Vitamin B6 to take the edge off any low moods.

      Looking forward to hearing from you x

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  • Posted

    Hi moomoomin, regarding protracted withdrawal, google Post-acute-withdrawal otherwise known as paws.  As horrible as your symptoms are, this may put your mind at rest.  I wish I could assist with your tinnitus, I too have the whooshing and am hoping it will disappear when I come off citalopram.  I noticed a slight improvement coming off another med, but unfortunately its still there.  Up until the last few months, I used to wake up to loud noises and thought I was being burgled, this happened regularly and its only recently since its disappeared that I realise it was the meds I was on.  I was on a cocktail of medication and am now only taking cita.
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    • Posted

      Thank you for the information on PAWS, never heard of this before, but it definitely describes what I am suffering.

      When you went cold turkey on these years ago, how long did your symptoms last?

      Yes sometimes I hear sounds and I have to stick my fingers in my ears to see if it's outside or in my head! I struggle to tell at times, although it's getting better.

      I am just astonished that taking 10mg for 17 days has affected me for so long. I can only guess that I have really confused my body taking something and then stopping abruptly. I was so scared to take the drug again. At the time I thought if I tried to cut down gradually after 17 days then I may make my tinnitus worse. So I just cut it completely, but the tinnitus still lasted anyway annoying! Argh!

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    • Posted

      Your thread has reminded me, I am going to ask my doctor if I can have my ears syringed to see if that makes any difference. I have also ream that it can take from 3 months up to two years to disappear once off the meds, am hanging onto that hope.
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    • Posted

      Hello Paula I just read the paws ..that's total BS.that the doctors try and tell that they are discontinuation symptoms .when in reality it really is withdrawal..I will never used this word again ... discontinuation ... unbelievable..

      Report / Delete Reply

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