First day taking Citalopram - is panic attack side effect normal?

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New here, so apologies if this has already been addressed elsewhere.  I took my first 10mg of Citalopram a few hours ago and now have full body shakes and intermittent waves of white-out panic.  I know it's not caused by a psychological fear of taking the drug because I had no fear beforehand and was looking forward to feeling better from depression.  I phoned the chemist and he seemed surprised and suggested this might indicate that SSRIs were not for me.  Has anyone else had these symptoms and if so, did they pass or worsen?  Am willing to suffer if it will make me feel better eventually but can't afford to travel to hell for no reason.

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Yeah cot can cause or worsen anxiety initially and cause other symptoms but will get better within a few weeks. I'd say stick it out, it made my anxiety 100 times worse within 1st wk x
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  • Posted

    I personally had panic attacks before I started taking the medication. I didn't find mine increased, although I was advised that any full effects would take 10 days to see a difference. I'm currently taking 30mg as I didn't seem to improve. I haven't had any of the awful side affects some people have had. 

    Stick them out if you can, my days are so much brighter now ☀️

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  • Posted

    Thanks guys.  Have taken a diazepam to reduce the deer-in-the-headlights feeling.  Would you recommend weaning myself in on 5mg for the next week before upping it to the prescribed 10mg, or will I simply be prolonging the discomfort?
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  • Posted

    I would get back to the doc. . Bad reaction so soon probably  means u have sensitivity to it. They will prescribe a better drug for you. Gilly 
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  • Posted

    This is a bit soon for this reaction to be as a result of taking it just a few hours beforehand, particularly as 10mg is a very low starter dose.  Although you feel it's not caused by any fear of taking it, it may still be a subconscious reaction rather than a physical one.  If it continues over 24 hours, then definitely call you doctor and get further advice.
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  • Posted

    Hi, when I started taking citalopram 10mg for anxiety, it too gave me panic attacks from the very first dose.  I would take it in the morning around 9am and then every night at 2am I would have a massive panic attack. The first few felt like a near death experiences but as the nights went on they became less and less intense. I had this for around 10 days and then they settled. I was also given 2mg Diazepam to settle me, that worked wonders. I've just upped now to 20mg and the same cycle has happened but only for a couple of nights, the panic attacks have stopped now. Hope this can be a reassurance to you.
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  • Posted

    Thank you for all your helpful replies, it was good not to feel so alone with this.  I rang the surgery and they advised me to halve the dose, so I've taken 5mg today (my second day) and although I feel 'speedy', have the shakes and the headache they are both manageable and I'm not feeling anxious. Once my system is acclimatised to this dose I'll up it to 10mg.  After being prescribed benzodiazepines for anxiety back in the 1980's I got hooked and it took me several years to come off them entirely, so I'd prefer to ease my way into Citalopram without them if I can, saving their occasional use for emergencies (like yesterday!) Thanks again for your help.
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