Citalopram severe side effects, or another underlying cause

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Hi everyone! I'm going to try to make this short and sweet.

About five months ago (March of 2017) I started citalopram (10mg) for depression. Along with citalopram, I was also taking hydroxyzine (20mg?) for anxiety (I never had panic attacks or anxiety, but my therapist recommended that I take it along with citalopram, so I did). I ended up taking those two meds for two weeks, then went cold turkey with no side effects at all in any part of the process (college student and ran out of money).

In July of 2017, I decided to start back on citalopram (20mg this time) because my depression was still lingering. Everything was great up until day 5. On day five, I had palpitations (resting heart rate at 125), shortness of breath, hot flashes, uncomfortabally-warm sensation in the center of my chest, and tingling sensation in my head. I went to the ER (because I thought I was dying!) and the EKG, blood tests and cat-scan were fine. On day 11, same thing occurred, I went back to the hospital, and everything was fine once again. They referred me to a cardiologist, I went, the cardiologist listened to my heart, told me I was as healthy as a horse, and now (August 4th, 2017) I'm at home experiencing shortness of breath again (a day after the appointment with the cardiologist).

Today ( August 4, 2017) makes exactly a week since I've completely stopped taking citalopram after tapering off from 20mg (after week one) to 10mg for week 2-3, then 5mg for week four. I am still experiencing shortness of breath, but no palpitations, hot flashes, chest pain, or the rest. Being that I had no symptoms the first time while taking citalopram, I am freaking out! I would like to know if anyone else has experienced what seemes to be panic attacks (heart palpitations, hot flashes, shortness of breath) only after starting citalopram, so I can gage whether my situation is due to citalopram, or if there is another underlying cause. Also, can someone tell me how long they have experienced side effects after completely stopping citalopram? Google tells that the half-life is 35 hours, so I was expecting that I wouldn't continue having side effects after a week.

Lastly, if I am experiencing panic attacks, PLEASE leave tips on natural remedies; share your experiences with me! My family has been really supportive, which has helped tremendously (alone, I think I would have lost my mind.) However, none of them have taken Citalopram, so they can't relate to what I'm feeling, and I really want to hear from others that have taken Citalopram.

Thank You!

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  • Posted

    Dear Adrionna45 citalopram can never cause panic attacks.Citalopram is used to treat depression and therefore low mood, uplifting your spirits while making the brain cells called neurons produce the level of serotonin you need on a daily basis to be happy.There are no side affects such as this to this medicine,from my knowledge and experience as a patient.However, the anxiety pill you mentioned,hydroxyzine when cut off can cause panic attacks.Since is an anti-anxiety pill when you stop taking it, and especially abruptly, gives those reactions instantly due to the withdrawal.I would recommend you to consult your GP or specialist (psychiatrist) and check with him regularly while he decides when and how much to reduce your daily uptake.Reducing or increasing the dose of this type of medication can cause you further complications or worsening of the symptoms and as you might have noticed a strong feeling of withdrawal and addiction.Yes, any type of mental health remedy is addictive and takes time for your body to get used to it and start functioning normally as it would from 6month-2years aproximmately as well as reducing the dosage,this needs to be monitored and done by your GP only.You can't play with dosages of 20mg,10mg or 5mg like this.You are seriously putting your life in danger as you are not a professional.Please follow exactly the directions of your GP so you will have a normal and happy life without any repercussions.About natural remedies, as far as I am concerned, they won't and can't help a mental health issue as conventional medicine will do if administered properly.I have been through this too.I hope that helps.You should be fine if you don't change your dosage.You can only change the medicine if it's not suitable for you.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the information, Maria8911. Just to clarify, I went to my doctor, and he decided to taper me off of Citalopram, I didn't decide to do it on my own. Also, for the first week starting back on Citalopram, I was not taking Hydroxyzine, just the citalopram. After the first week, I noticed that I was very anxious (plus the palpitations and such), and that is when I went back to my doc, and was prescribed Hydroxyzine and reduced to 10mg of Citalopram. I've never had what seemed to be a panic attack until starting Citalopram by itself.

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    • Posted

      Maria8911 ...celexa most certainly can give you panic attacks.. specially in the first few weeks or months.plus all those nasty side effects addrionna mention..it took me 8months to feel better...I still get blips here n there ..but I know I'm recovering ...everyone is different as far as how one copes...the hydroxyzine is nothing but an antihistamine...trust me that doesn't give you panic attacks...Maria just didn't give time to stabilize in your system..it takes months not weeks......

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  • Posted

    I don't remember really well having side effects like these, maybe because it's a long time but I might have had the same reaction when I started to take escitalopram.I clearly had, I just couldn't remember.It does take some time to ease off the side effects and for you organism to get used to it.It took me a while but after that I was very well.You are right.Also your GP needs to adjust the dosage gradually because it can definitely cause you withdrawal symptoms.20mg it's a lot.

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    • Posted

      Yeah, I'm thinking my Gp should have started me on 10mg, like I was on the first time, instead of throwing me on 20mg to start off with.

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    • Posted

      I have been on 10milligrams for 14 months...20 milligrams was too much for me..so yes perhaps dc.should of started you out on 10mill.possible 5mill.plus my phychiatrist prescribed alprozalom for those first few months of celexa torture....
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    • Posted

      You should try and read katycogs.post

      ..she's been a heaven for me during my journey of celexa....she makes the most logical sense...

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  • Posted

    With me Cit took weeks to work properly, I think about 6 weeks although I did notice weird stuff over that time like odd dreams, yawning, dry mouth, sickness in morning, tiredness etc. After several months (3 yrs now) the side effects have all but gone but my mental health has continued to improve (likely be on them a long time, if not all my life to be honest) . So dont think taking cit for short periods will give you the full effects, so keep that in mind in conjunction with what your doctor says. I think there can be lots of side effects for different people but I think these improve / eventually go with most if not all. Hopefully you GP sorts it for you :-)
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    • Posted

      Same here Dean. Me too.I think I'm gonna be on it for life for maintenance.My life has improved drastically since I started taking it for a long time.I also had odd dreams, dry mouth,morning sickness, tiredness,anxiety, heart palpitations, sweating and lack of sleep at the beginning but now I feel much happier than before, even more than normally.Combined with cognitive behavioural therapy it gives very good results for depression.I feel as when I did when I was a child, happy all the time.

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    • Posted

      sounds positive Maria, glad to hear it has worked for you.

      I had councilling years ago after a traumatic event which helped a lot (was taking Gamanil/Lofepramin in those days, didnt do much really) but never cbt i believe.

      Seen someone have councilling for over a year and the guy eventually passed it to some more experienced guy where she had intensive cbt (made her very tired after). This has had great effects I seen it happen over a few months, powerful stuff :-)

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  • Posted

    I also find alcohol is a no no. (Looking back i think i was using alcohol to boost my mood before by weekly binge drinking). If i drink now i get really angry and down the week after and the Cit doesnt work as well for a few weeks. This varies depending on your existing mood which can be up and down anyway.

    I think probably specific to everyone but if you drink id give up at least for few months / for good. Some other posts here on this

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    • Posted

      The legal age for drinking has saved me from abusing alcohol, and so has summer vacation... I haven't been to a frat party in months! I conveniently started treatment over the summer so that I wouldn't be able to combine alcohol with my other treatment.

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