Coming off Citalopram

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi all. Just wanted to share recent experience.

I have been on Citalopram for 6 1/2 years, due to anxiety, depression and panic attacks (the usual). Left my profession of 16 years because of my illness, now in education and really happy. On 20mg at the moment which is fine. Run out once or twice, over Xmas, missed a couple of days and felt pretty awful. Didn't think I would have to take medication for this long but has helped me with new career etc.

I have recently been suffering with acute vertigo, don't know why, signed off for a week, prescribed meds, ones that would allow me to continue with Citalopram, but didn't work. Went back a week later, not at my normal GP's, but out of hours one. Gave me different meds try, but could not use Citalopram with it. Ok he's a professional so you listen. Oh no what mistaker to maker! I felt terrible just going cold turkey, depression, negatively, anxiety, hated everyone around me that I thought was trying make life difficult but wasn't. Arguing with my wife, my kids, my parents, people on the phone - it's been hell! I screamed at my kids tonight and overreacted for the minimal of mess made by them. I realised what I had done, I was going back to my old self. I cried on the sofa, I worked so hard to get away from the depression and anxiety and it was back. This has been happening for a week now, arguing, shouting etc. I have been a real- you know what! All because I went cold turkey, doctors orders mind. Luckily today my sick note ran out, so have to get checked out by my GP to see if I can return. Explained that 2 previous meds for vertigo had no worked, but also mentioned the side effects from no Citalopram. 

To sum up he has changed meds for vertigo to 3rd kind, this allows me to continue with Citalopram again. I don't want to be on it forever of course but just shows how strong these little white pills can be on your life and how we take them for granted. 

Message really is, never come off cold turkey, check with other GPs that they know your full history, ask the question should I be stopping dead or should I ease off gradually.

Sorry a bit long winded, hope it helps someone out.

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  • Posted

    Jeez ..... another doctor who doesn't know about SSRI's and withdrawal.  Yep, you can't go cold turkey from these meds as you'll become very ill.  Yes you can come off them in time but it has to be done with the minimal reduction over a long period - I spent a year withdrawing by 5mg each time.  No withdrawal.  If you go cold turkey your body will cry out for the meds and it will be shock to the system - not a good way to start life without meds.

    Feeling angry etc as you are at the moment is typical withdrawal symptoms.  Don't blame yourself, you can't help it.  Reinstating the meds will soon bring about some relief - just be patient.

    You can stay on these meds for life if you want - I sure intended to, but curiosity got the better of me after 16 years on them.  I had reduced to 10mg for a number of years and felt well, and intended to just reduce and stay on 5mg - but I came off last year.  Doing it gently is much kinder to your body and will give you a better chance to a life without them rather than throwing yourself head first into the fire.

    Vertigo - have you considered it could simply be ear wax?  I suffer from this and it sure does give you vertigo.  Might be why the pills aren't working.  Ear wax affects your balance and makes you feel nauseous, so worth checking that out and getting them syringed.  My old boss had this once and she had all manner of various medications until I said get checked out for ear wax.  It was, and she was cured in a day.

    Just a thought.  Worth checking wink

    Citalopram - give it time as it'll settle down, and yes, absolutely never, ever stop meds abruptly.  Very dangerous.  Doctors shouldn't be prescribing if they don't know owt about these.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    K x


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    • Posted

      Hi Katecogs, 

      Thanks for comments. Yes have looked at ear wax, but ears are fine. I do have the sensation that I have water in them, as you would after swimming. Will wait for CT scan, just as a precaution and go from there.

      Kind regards


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    • Posted

      Sometimes you don't know you have wax problems as its compacted deep down.  Could be water behind the wax - that'll definitely make you feel like you've got vertigo.  Meniere disease too - that's ear fluid balance disorder .......  I'm sure the CT scan will find out whats wrong anyway.  Hope its not too long a wait.

      K x

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  • Posted

    Hi ChefAnt,

    Sorry that you are not feeling well again.  I'm a little in the same boat but mine was more self inflicted. Yes, those little white pills are potent and it's a sorry lesson we learn when they aren't in our system working.  You didn't say how long you were cold turkey before you started back. As Kate said, some of these GP's just don't get it and we pay the price.  Have you gone back on the Cit and how are you feeling.  I hope you keep us posted

    Jo x


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