Have been on Cit. for 3 years - no libido since then!

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Hi all, 

Apologies if this discussion has been posted before. I didn't want to sift through pages and pages of discussions to find one about this! (If only there was a search function within forum topics.)

I've been depressed - on and off - for nearly 17 years (I'm 30 years old). The best medication I've ever taken for this is Citalopram. Only thing is: totally loss of libido. I've visited my GP several times about the issue and she has tried me on various meds. In doing this, I've invariaby got my libido back, but my mental health has suffered enormously. My partner is very patient but, if I'm honest, I think we need my libido back. I don't need to go into all the reasons why but, suffice to say, I think our relationship has suffered as a result of this awful side effect. 

Any ideas on how to get it back? I've been taking horny goat weed for the last few weeks but it hasn't made the slightest difference. 


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  • Posted

    Low libido is unfortunately one of the more common (and most frustrating) side-effects of SSRI's. I'm a male who has been on citalopram for 9 months and have definitely experienced a big loss of sexuality. The only time I got it back briefly was when I stupidly decided to go cold turkey off the Cit.

    I am trying Wellbutrin to counter the Cit's sexual side effects (it has the least sexual side effects of antidepressants because it works on dopamine, not serotonin), 1 week in and I notice only a small difference (I'm also tapering off the Citalopram as I'm fed up with the sexual side effects). However I respect it may take time to fully take effect.

    Other than that I lead an active lifestyle, don't drink too much and eat well, so I can only think it's the Citalopram that's affecting my sex drive.

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    • Posted

      Hi. Thanks so much for our reply. I read a comment somewhere else about taking a 'holiday' from Citalopram. I decided to do the same this week. I meant only to skip one day but I ended up skipping two days. I'd say that maybe a felt a little demotivated and couldn't be bothered to get out of bed until 1pm (but didn't matter because it was the weekend). Anyway, libido definitely back! But have taken meds again today. I don't know how often I could do this and get away with it, but will definitely try again. 

      Thanks again for your reply. 

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  • Posted

    You are welcome. By all means, don't try to go off Citalopram without a well planned out tapering period. Skipping too much can put your body in shock unless it is used to lowered dosages of the med. 

    Can I ask what meds the doc put you on that helped get your libido back? In terms of herbal stuff, I've tried maca, horny goat weed, ginseng, the lot, nothing helps that much especially when I am on Citalopram.

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    • Posted

      Good plan. I did accidentally skip two days instead of taking off the intended one day break. This morning feels a little sketchy (headache, irritability). I will keep a better eye on that in future. 

      The doctor tried me on a few different anti-Ds in order to find one that didn't obliterare my libido but none of them worked. Originally switched from Cit. to Prozac. This had exactly the same effect on my libido as Cit. Then I tried Mirtazipine which was the worst drug ever. Fortunately, I was in between jobs the the time. I slept for a solid 16 hours per day on it, and was dopey too. Could hardly string a sentence together. After the physical trauma (it felt like trauma!) of switching meds twice, I went back to Citalopram... and now I'm here! 

      I have been taking horny goat weed for a few weeks. Last week, I got a bit of horn back! But it was passive, if you know what I mean? Sorry if this is TMI... thought other people might appreciate some shared info! Anyway, passive libido... as in, there is *something* going on, but only with some coaxing. Definitely not active like it used to be. It's still very weak though. I won't be shouting from the second floor, let alone the rooftop. 

      I tried something called Gold Max yesterday which I read was a very effective aphrodisiac. Didn't work very well at all. 

      I'm starting to feel concerned that I'm just messing with my body now. Am going to have to pay a visit to my GP, I think. 

      As a side note, I think it's crazy that this is such a common side effect. I wonder if GPs prescribe it because it's the cheapest, most effective, or becauise they're being pushed to? Not criticising doctors at all. I have a friend who's a GP and my partner is a doctor too.

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    • Posted

      Don't worry about TMI, you can be candid here if you wish :-)

      I agree with you about the dullness of the libido, I feel like my instrument is non-existent.

      Yes it does sound strange that antidepressants cause this, but it has to do something with the fact that it acts on your serotonin receptors and therefore regulates your pleasure centers, to the extent of numbing them. Sexual side effects are very common with SSRI's such as Prozac and CItalopram, maybe ask your GP about Wellbutrin which I am taking as I taper off Citalopram. Supposedly has less side effects, and it works on dopamine and not serotonin levels.

      There are many instances of people suffering sexual side effects for an extended period of time after they come off antidepressants, so perhaps a good time to evaluate your next step now! Good luck

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