Citalopram causing serious side effect...

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Hi,

Geting straight to the point, I started to take 10mg Citalopram for GAD and panic attacks on Monday, 18th August at about midday each day.  I started with the following symptoms: palpitations, very restless and agitated (had to go for a walks to expend the energy), panicky feelings, much increased anxiety, disturbed sleep, hot flashes followed by extreme feelings of excitement followed by agitation and deep muscle pain in my arms and legs.  I was told these would pass so persevered.  By the forth day I was hopeful I would make it over the next couple of weeks until the side effects diminished.  The next day, Friday, I was due to go up to 20mg but I wasn't significantly worried about this.

I never made it to the fifth dose, however, as my sleep was disturbed at 3.50 a.m.on Friday morning after which, within about 3 seconds my heart went into overdrive.  I then suddenly felt a hot flash followed by extreme panic that was completely uninitiated by any thought as I simply didn't have time to think of anything.  I shot out of bed as clearly this was an extreme side effect that needed immediate attention according to the information leaflet (possible serotonin syndrome or Torsades de Pointes side effect symptoms).  I called an ambulance and they arrived to find my heartrate at rest was 145 and blood pressure 141/103.  I was white as a sheet and extremely shocked.  I was taken to the hospital for further checks on the ECG but, typical, nothing out of the ordinary was found.

I called my doctor the next day and he advised I stop taking it.  Thinking I would be all right the next night I went to bed as normal.  How wrong I was.  Again, after 2 and half hours this time, I was awoken inexplicably with the single initial thought I've just woken up.  Then almost as bad, the same symptoms previously described.  This time I resisted panicking but my heartrate shot up again and I could actually feel my blood pressure rise.  I checked it and it was 132BPM with BP 141/97.  Suffice to say this has been carrying on for nearly two weeks now since stopping Citalopram!  My doctor seems unconcerned and has simply presrcribed Lustral, which I have not taken yet.

I am so depressed and anxious beyond words with the lack of sleep.  Even if I allow myself to fall back to sleep (which can take an hour and half) the same thing happens again two hours later.  The effects guaranteed to be presents are tachycardia, high blood pressure, severe leg and arm deep muscle pain and not least severe feelings of anxiety.

Please can anyone offer any advice???  I need sleep.

 

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi SacredHeart,

    It seems hard to say what is going on with the hot flash / anxiety attacks at this point.  Citalopram can linger in your system for a little while (I believe the body eliminates about 1/2 the amount of citalopram in your bloodstream in about 36 hours) but after two weeks of discontinuing it, it seems unlikely there would be any recognizable level of citalopram in your bloodstream - at least nothing anywhere near potent enough to deliver the episodes that are bothering you.

    If you only recently had starting taking the citalopram, I'm not surprized at all to hear about the unpleasant symptoms you were experiencing as the level of the drug increased in your body - SSRIs like citalopram can frequently cause unstable mood, hot flashes, feelings of panic, which is why commonly doctors like to start a patient on the drug in-house so they can be monitored while they are getting 'used' to the medication.

    In any case, it's possible your experience with Citalopram has triggered or contributed to a nervous reaction that you are experiencing.

    Is Citalopram the ONLY medicine you were/are taking?

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    • Posted

      Yes,  that was the only medicine my doctor prescribed at the time. I'm now on propranolol, which is helping a bit but not much. Heartrate went through the roof so needed a beta-blocker. Going out of my mind with anxiety. Need relief.  :'(
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    • Posted

      Ask your doctor about Vistaril (hydroxyzine).  It's actually an antihistamine, but it's great for anxiety and sleep on the short term.  It's also really safe compared to pretty much all psych meds, not habit-forming, so your doct will be more willing to prescribe it than he/she would a benzo or major anti-anxiety drug.  It's worked wonders for me in a pinch.
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    • Posted

      Stephen. I had a very prolonged palpatation at work this week. I've had them before for like a 2 second bump. This one went on about 10 seconds and I went down on to my knees as I felt like I was about to faint. I'm pretty sure this is a direct result of taking citalopram. I had started them 4 nights before. Only 5 mg which is nothing. But I'm sensitive to drugs and I think it gave me that bad turn. Lucky I work in ER so was taken straight into a room to be assessed. My ECG came back fine. My bloods were perfect. My blood pressure was a little higher than usual but my boss thought that was because I panicked a bit after almost fainting. Since then my blood pressure has been lower than it normally is. Which is not helping with my light headedness. I stopped the cit 3 nights ago I'm still getting a headache and a spaced out weird head too. I woke at 3am sweating and my arms and legs were jittery and I kept needing to stretch. Very weird feelings. Unbelievable how such a small dose can not only affect me so badly but linger in my body for days afterwards.
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  • Posted

    Also, would like to mention I am very fond of propranolol - it doesn't have a huge mental effect, but it helps to keep the body calmed down, and it's great to take before sleep.  What dose of propranolol are you taking?
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  • Posted

    Hi,

    Thought I'd follow up on this thread as I am now in a slightly better place.

    Thank you stephen25963 for your replies.

    I ended up in such a state I signed myself into a private psyschiatric hospital.  Cost a fortune, but saved my life.  Amazingly they immediately cured my terrifying night time insomnia and tachycardia with 5mg of diazapam and 150mg/pd of pregabalin. Treatment by psychiatrists, doctors and nurses was brilliant and my mental state, as if by magic, returned to almost normal.  Oh how I wish such treatment was available on the NHS but alas the lack of nvestment in mental health in the UK is still an ongoing scandal.  Believe me as a single living alone man I could not have self medicated on my own without professional medical supervision.  Stayed a few days and am now an out-patient.

    However, I am now on just the pregabalinm, whcih I have had to reduce due to an as yet unexplained side-effect.  My first dose in the morning causes me to have horrendous and severe muscle weakness, deep muscle pain and faintness. Teo days ago I was left actually paralysed on the floor for 2 hours. I nearly called an ambulance but it eventually subsided.  I have informed my psychiatrist who is at a loss to medically explain it.  I had a blood test, which showed I have raised AST and ATL levels but the psych does not beieve this is not due to pregabalin.  He has advised, however, to have it cchecked out by a gastroenterologist.  My GP has arranged this but an appointment could take a few weeks.

    Has anyone else experienced muscle problems with pregabalin?

    stephen25963 propanolol does not agree with me as I seem to get several side effects after about the third dose.  Seem to be very senstive to drug side-effects in general.

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    • Posted

      Well, I'm certainly glad to hear things have improved (somewhat).  I'm totally unfamiliar with pregabalin, so I don't have much to offer in terms of advice.  Keep us posted. smile
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    • Posted

      I asked my GP for propranolol. She wouldn't give me it as my blood pressure is too low. She did say I need to see my cardiologist as he is more qualified to give me a beta blocker. So I'm waiting on that appointment. It's crazy. You get given a med to help with one ailment and it's starts a new ailment. So fed up.
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  • Posted

    Hi sacred heart

    Just wanted to message you about my recent experience with citraplam and it was exactly like yours. I thought I was going to die my heart was racing I was having hot flushes followed within seconds extreme anxiety. I was waking up at 4 am and couldn't sleep for days suicidal thoughts. What a terrible drug to take wow. I've now stopped it only 2 days ago and I'm using rescue remedy and kalms tablets and 5htp tablets.

    I feel sorry for people taking citraplam I thought I was dieing.

    Hope you feel better soon.

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