Citalopram -Can the Beneficial Effect Wear Off?

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I can't remember when I started taking Citalopram for anxiety, perhaps a year ago and I take 60mg a day. I built this dose up gradually so although I felt some improvement it was some months before I felt a lot better. I have a long-term problem so my expectations weren't high but I was pleased with the results.

However, lately I've been feeling very anxious again for no obvious reason and finding it hard to cope. Could it be that Citalopram doesn't work when taken for a year or so? I am hoping this might be a passing phase but would like to read of other people's experiences. I am reluctant to bother my GP since I have been managing so much better.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I also suffer with anxiety and have been on Citalopram for two years. The active ingredients/drug that is inside each capsule that is suppossed to relieve anxiety symptoms, do nothing more than increase the state of your anxiety if my own experiences are anything to report.

    After speaking in length to my doctor and pharmacists about the increase in my anxiety, they did say that this is not an uncommon side affect to this medicine. After two years, all it has done is intensify anxiety symptoms in me - certainly not decrease them. I am on 90mg a day (more than yours) and this was a slow build up over some months last year.

    I would have to agree that after a year of you taking Citalopram, it is time to go back to your GP who will be more than happy to see you. Do not allow negative thoughts to get in the way of making an essential appointment - it is their job to keep track of their patients' wellbeing (they should be calling you) to see how the medication is going after a year, yet some GPs lose track of all their patients somehow and makes the patient feel forgotten.

    As long as you do not drink regularly (this affects the effectiveness) of the drug and taking it everday without fail, then speaking to your GP will be your best option in my opinion. Currently there are no other alternative anxiety-relief drugs other than Citalopram according to my GP, this is all that they can come up with and I personally distrust it's longer-term effect on mood disorders such as anxiety, stress and depression.

    It might also be useful to look at any recent events that have triggered your anxiety to worsten? - I often get stressed about small things that catastrophise into much bigger things and my panic overrides the effectiveness of the drug in my opinion. Saying this however, even when not stressed, the anxiety I suffer is of clinical proportions and so Citalopram doesn't ever take the edge of this as it should and why I do not believe it to work on many patients with anxiety.

    See your GP and explain everything, they will need to know how or why it has gone from being useful to being the oppossite even if it just within a few weeks.

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    • Posted

      I've been on citalopram for 4 years 40mg per day, anxiety is terrible so I'm on 120mg propranolol a day aswell and that takes the anxiety away.

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  • Posted

    Hi shiki, thanks for your reply. I am sorry to hear you suffer with anxiety too, it makes everyday life so challenging, doesn't it. My GP is actually very good and supportive and has helped reduce the anxiety enormously. The symptoms did indcrease when I started on Citalopram as I'd been warned they might but have since reduced enormously. My problems have been with me for so many years that my confidence has been severely affected so things most people would do happily without worry are outside my comfort zone. I think this may be why I was worried that the Citalopram was losing its effect.

    I do drink alcohol everyday but only in moderation and within the advised limits. I'm trying to help myself by using meditation and relaxation techniques too and this helps. I just can't cope with anything different or even very low levels of stress. Do you find that too or are you able to live a 'normal' life?

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  • Posted

    Hi I,ve been taking citalopram for a few years only 10mg. Unfortunately when I've increased the dose I don't feel myself. I feel numb and withdrawn. I've lived with anxiety for several years. I have periods in my life where I'm confident and can cope with most things but then I have times when I can tick along but anything out of my comfort zone is a real problem. Even just going out for a meal, crowded rooms, meetings at work all become scary places. I've had counselling for 18 months which at the time seemed to help and I was given some ideas to use when I feel anxious. I haven't gone back to counselling because I feel I've been there, done that. Lately I've started to feel anxious again but can't explain why. Nothing major has happened. Sometimes I think if my diet is bad or I don't get enough sleep it can bring on symptoms. I'm healthy and active. I run three times a week and compete in races. I feel I've had to accept anxiety as being part of me but I would like to find a medication that really works.
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  • Posted

    My wife has been taking Citalopram for as long as I can remember and for a year or so now, she's had no engergy and did not wish to eat anything. This was surprising as she's always been a keen gardener (she has an acre to attend) plus the fact she always loved her food.

    Visits to the doctor always produced the result that she was 'depressed' and even more Citalopram prescribed.

    She was recently talking to a female friend we hadn't seen for years and, although the friend wasn't on Citalopram, she did say that since giving up all her pills (which were quite varied) she felt a lot better so I suggested to my wife that she tried going without Citalopram to see what happened.

    That was two weeks ago and I'm looking out into our garden where my wife has been busy all day. Yesterday, she took many of our net curtains down and washed them, and finished the evening with a good meal.

    I appreciate that one should not suddenly cease taking pills prescribed by a doctor, I can only say what has happened in my wife's case. She certainly wouldn't go back to them. And by the way, she's 81 and is gardening like someone half her age. The change has improved both our lives.

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  • Posted

    It's so generous and kind of you, Jazzyb and David in Hampshire to take the trouble to share your experiences. It helps a lot just hearing about others who have taken Citalopram. You Jazzyb sound so like me in that quite ordinary events can seem overwhelming on a bad day. I know the worst reaction is to embark on a pattern of avoidance but that's exactly how I've reacted, which just makes things more difficult to face. My life outside the home (where I'm happily married) is very limited.

    Like your wife David, my garden is my refuge. I was very interested to read how much better she feels since coming off the medication. I've not dared to even consider this because I regard it as my prop but I do suffer from sleepiness in the daytime and I'm a lot younger than your wife. Did she stop the Citalopram suddenly and without the Dr's guidance? She sounds marvellous for her age!

    Thank you again for your replies.

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  • Posted

    I always find my garden a refuge. I can also say the same for my running. I run with a club and we go out for long runs in the countryside and I feel so free. Anxiety can make me feel trapped and frozen sometimes. I've got my annual review with the doctor soon and I might consider coming off the tablets. I always thought that they took the edge off the anxiety but since it seems to recur they certainly don't suppress it enough. Someone recently said to me that I need to deal with the problem - one life, live it. I do believe that but its a slow and sometimes difficult process to change the negative thoughts and avoidance behaviour. Its really great to share your experiences and to realise that you are not alone.

    Krispie when I feel anxious I use Bach Flower rescue remedy (drops that go on the tongue). You can get this in any health shop, boots and supermarkets. I find it does help a little. What helps you?

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  • Posted

    I used to use Bach Rescue Remedy before I started the Citalopram. I tried so many things such as meditation, Kalms, relaxation, distraction, activity etc. I used the Rescue Remedy out of desperation but I didn't believe it had a beneficial effect. The Citalopram certainly helps a lot but it doesn't rid me of anxiety and after many years of struggling I lack the courage to do things. I'm a Carer (it's a shared role) so I don't have much free time to expand my horizons.

    Having said all that, I'm a lot better at running positive rather than negative thoughts through my head and I don't get nearly as miserable as I used to on bad days. I hope this is true of you too.

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  • Posted

    Hi Krispie,

    I am certain that like all medicines, the benefits can wear off if you take them long-term as the system gets used to the drugs, either this or that other untreated conditions exaccerbate anxiety.

    My life is severely affected by my condition like yours, so yes I know what you mean. I also have BPD that doesn't help matters yet there is no drugs available to treat this. Hence the reason why if you have any other cognitive or mood disorders on top of anxiety, Citalopram will generally have limited effectiveness as a single treatment.

    It is great that you are fighting the battle and that you keep active and positive. It can be extremely hard if you have little support around you or few people who understand how your anxiety affects you. It is important to give yourself little reminders of just how well you are doing on good days, even if the bad days are crippling.

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  • Posted

    Hi i have been taking citalopram for about 3 years now after being on another anti depressant for 20 years. Like you i have problems with anxity. I now take citalopram and another tablet in a very low dose which does help me i am on the same dose of cit as you. I would go and see your dr and see what they say they should help and advice you. At the moment i am going throw a girl spell but there are times when i just can not face going out side the front door. Now i am going to be starting some CBT tharphy i am not sure how this will help me if at all and i would have to admit that this is worring me a little.

    I hope that you will be able to sort something out.

    Wendy

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  • Posted

    Hi Wendy, thanks for your words. You're the first person I've come across who's taking the same dose. I'd quite like to know what the other tablets are if you don't mind sharing that info. I manage for most of the time but am not entirely without my struggles.

    Try not to worry about therapy, it may be just the help you need to be able to cope with anxiety. Don't forget, it's not a test but an aid. The therapist wants to help you feel better not judge how useless you are!

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  • Posted

    Hello everyone, once more. One of my replies appears earlier in this list, when I said how my wife's health had improved since stopping Citalopram. Regretfully, during this last year her appetite decreased til she was hardly eating anything at all. At the same time she regularly woke up about 5am with gnawing pains in her stomach which was only temporarily relieved by eating a biscuit, and constantly begged me to get her to a doctor. I am in business but she begged me not to go on a business trip as she felt she couldn't cope without me. And then we received a leaflet for a product called Micromins which said it had healing properties of mineral enriched sea water made by evaporating the already concentrated water of the Great Salt Lake. Well, we'd received so many other leaflets claiming miracles that we almost threw this one away. Luckily we didn't! Because in less than a month from starting it, all my wife's problems have just disappeared. She has lots of energy, eats three good meals a day, feels great, with no depression. And here's the latest. It is very important that I go on a business trip next week and my wife assures me she'll be fine. So Micromins has changed my life for the better too. Here's the website: xxx

    Emis Moderator comment: I have removed the website as we do not link to commercial health sites etc. If users do wish to read about this they should Google the product name.

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  • Posted

    Hi sorry i have taken so long to reply the other tablet i take is ampytripaline spelling might be wrong but i am sure google will find it for you i take 3 a night of those they also help me to sleep.

    wendy

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  • Posted

    Yeah, I think the term for this is 'prozac poop' (regardless of whether you're taking prozac or not...) My citalopram worked wonders the second time I took it for the first eight months. My life was wonderful, I was happy for the first time in a decade, and then I crashed and lost everything.

    Looking back now, and reading my old diaries, I can see that at around the eight month mark I started to think things like 'you can't be happy forever', or 'it's just the pills that are doing this' or 'this is too good to be true, the bubble is going to burst'. Unsurprisingly, a few days later I was complaining of a constant sense of impending doom, followed in the next few weeks with increasing anxiety, and quickly over the next few months I completely crashed and had a nervous breakdown.

    At first I was saying 'the pills don't work anymore' but looking back, I think it was that I was not also getting therapy for my condition, only the pills. The pills gave me a lift for eight months and helped me see the bright side of life, but I hadn't treated the underlying negative thoughts such as 'happiness cannot last' or 'things will inevitably go wrong'. It was these thoughts that overwhelmed the citalopram (I was eventually taking up to 60mg with no avail), I believe. Perhaps I am wrong and the drug just wears off, but I think it was the fact I started to analyse my new life and looking for ways for it to go wrong.

    So I guess my advice would be to check that your anxiety is really coming from nowhere, as you say, or whether there is something going on in your mind that is causing its return. And if you are not having therapy, I think that might be a more long-term option.

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  • Posted

    I started on 20mg about 7 years ago. After about 6 months, I had to up the dose to 40 which I've been on since. I feel that the 40mg has kept me perfectly balanced for over 6 years. I can't imagine going back to life pre-Citalopram.
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