Need reassurance Feeling concerned citalopram side effecfs

Posted , 6 users are following.

Hi, firstly after reading some of the stories on here I am feeling slightly relieved.

About 3 months or so ago now I started on 10mg of citalopram for anxiety. I upped the dose to 20mg for roughly a week and then went back to 10mg as I felt this was adequate.

For the first week or so I had a dull headache and bad dry mouth but it subsided after the week or so.

For a month I felt quite good/great actually but then into my 6th week of the medication I started feeling tingly sensations all over my body. My hands and legs felt very heavy and achy. I was having bad insomnia and when I did finally fall asleep I woke suddenly to the sensation that I was falling. Very unnerving. I felt asthough I was detached from my body and when I drove I felt very very dizzy as of most of the time. The first episode of feeling like this was whilst I was at work and had to go home. The second was on the way to my parents a week later and then a week after that I was in hospital with yellow/ grey skin, terrible light headed ness, dizzy, chest pain and basically felt although my body was shutting down. I was terrified. Plus had lost 4 kg in a month. I have never felt so unwell and scared in my life. A whole heap of blood tests were done for the second time which all came back "normal" again. I had a chest X-ray and an abdomen ultrasound and again all completely normal. An ECG was done and yes- you got it " normal". I was happy but very frustrated as well because it was clear that I was a very unwell person. I asked the ed dr if it could be the medication as this was the only new thing I had introduced over the last month or two. All 3 drs I saw said highly unlikely as the dose was only 10mg. I am not a big person- not sure if that makes a difference to the dose being only 10mg.

Anyway, after a few more days of feeling like this I decided to halve the dose to 5mg with support of my dr as it was all just too coincidental.

I went from 10mg to 5mg and stopped taking all together after a week of 5mg and then two doses of 5mg every other day for 4 days.

Since coming off I have defiantly felt better but I am still not great. Is this a side effect?? It's only been 12 days and my dr did say allow 4-6weeks to feel yourself again. I am so frustrated and the last 7 weeks have been some of the toughest 7 weeks. I want to enjoy my family but Every other day I am feeling very tired. I have a dull fuzzy headache, diarrhea, feel light headed and tingles down my body again although the severity has decreased significantly. Is this normal and will it past? I am at the stage where I can see no light at the end of the tunnel. I'm so frustrated and upset but trying to stay positive. Has anyone else had a similar situation and can help!! Drs seem to think there is no side effects? Thanks in advance smile will keep smiling

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Doctors hardly ever admit that these meds cause side effects. It never ceases to amaze me. Someone can be fine before they take them (well, there is a reason they go on them in the first place but they don't start off with the symptoms the end up with after taking the drugs). After taking them, shed loads of things start happening that never, ever happened before and the patient is told it can't be the meds!!! It so clearly is!

    i reacted dreadfully to citalopram and was not believed by two psychiatrists. Finally I saw a sensible one who said it was all down to the meds.

    I have no doubt that you reacted to the meds. This stuff is all over the internet. One day, doctors will have to take notice. Things will calm down for you. It may take time but your body will heal. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I'm glad you got off that stuff early.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your comments and reassurance. I became very teary when reading your reply- with relief I think!

      I'm sorry you had a bad experience as well. It leaves you with a little list faith I guess. I just want to feel "normal" again but I'll just have to wade it out.

      Thanks again for your reply. Although it is awful, it really does help to know I'm not alone in this. smile

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    • Posted

      I'm in agreement with meteor on this one.  For most people, the side effects are not severe and disappear in a relatively short time period.  They are therefore acceptable when traded off against the help citalopram gives for those who find anxiety levels so severe their life is totally disrupted.  However, there are those of us who have a very bad reaction in one way or another to these meds.  I suffered a very severe allergic reaction and had a hell of a job convincing my GP it was the cit that was causing it.  I don't believe I ever did convince them to be honest, they agreed to disagree with a shrug of the shoulders and a  roll of the eyes.  However, just four weeks after stopping taking them, almost all of the bad reactions had ceased.  I too suffered diarrhoea - because of my healthy diet I'd never experienced this before and it was very frightening (convinced myself I had bowel cancer or something equally as serious), I lost over 50% of my hair - as a middle aged female with naturally thinning hair due to menopause, my doctor stated something along the lines of 'its an age thing'...I could easily have stabbed him (especially in my stressed out mindframe).   I also was only getting about 2 hrs uninterrupted sleep a night - again not helpful as women of my age group have enough trouble sleeping as it is. I suffered sight issues too - quite severe and quite frightening.  My doctor was unconvinced again this was due to Cit and obviously thought I was just having anxiety attacks - I wasn't, I couldnt drive due to the loss of vision.  As above, some four weeks after ceasing the medication, I had my sight back, my stomach issues had disappeared completely and my sleep pattern had improved, whilst still not perfect at least I'm getting some sleep.  The hair loss slowed down although it hasnt stopped completely but compared to whilst I was on the cit, it's amazingly better.  I felt quite sad that I had this reaction as they really helped my stress and anxiety levels and I felt mentally quite 'normal', just physically like I was about to expire!
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    • Posted

      So sorry to hear Loxie. I really feel for you. I totally get what you're saying. 

      My dr is wonderful although was reluctant at first that it is/was the medication. 

      The ED dr even told me to up the dose because that would help with my anxiety.. I was livered as I was not anxious at the time just terribly I'll to the point I felt that unwell and out of it that I thought I may never come home to see my 4 beautiful children again. Very distressing to think about. I felt asthough as soon as I mentioned that I was on a small dose of citalopram it then all became about my past/ recent anxiety and not about my actual medical state. I felt that I want taken seriously to a degree and it made me feel like complete sh*t- excuse the French.

      Yes the medication did work for me mentally for a while but as you say physically it has been awful and a very frightening experience.I also have had sight problems and hallucinated that there was someone standing at the end of my bed who wasn't actually there. So terribly frightening.

      I'm glad to hear that you are starting to feel better and that life is slowly getting back to normal- whatever that means to anyone these days smile good luck with everything and I hope you feel even better as the days go on.  Thanks again for sharing. All the best x

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  • Posted

    Hi there

    There IS light at the end of the tunnel. I have got to the point of thinking, how will i continue my life relying on something that isn't what i want. Circumstances were the catalyst to going on Citalopram to begin with. They have now gone and i must learn to be the person i used to be. Happy and upbeat and not analysing everything. I know that this is a process of elimination but one can become such a sceptic and for me this will increase the anxiety that HAS BEEN the baine of my life. I can relate to all the headaches,dizziness,diaorrhoea and the frustration, oh the frustration!! Basically,how are we supposed to deal with issues such as depression when we didn't see it coming. We all react in such a way that it is impossible to believe that taking these tablets will make us better. They just help, But for how long? Good luck .x

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for sharing. It's a long road when anxiety is a part of life.

      Every day is a new day and most are good some are bad. But only some.

      I'm starting to feel a bit more positive about the whole medication side effects just from these last two replies.

      Thanks again and good luck in your life. I hope you have a strong supportive group around you that are there if a tough day sets in. x

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    • Posted

      Bit of a cliche i know but 'a problem shared is a problem halved'.

      Take good care of yourself. That is what we all tend to forget. Looking after ourselves. I tend to review my whole mental and physical state.Today on a scale of 1-10 I am a fantastic 7. Try it and give yourself a pat on the back. x

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  • Posted

    I am up there with all these other posters. I am amazed at the ignorance of some of these gps   I was told it can take a few weeks to get it completely out of yr system I was off my final dose of 1.25 for amonth then I could just feel that anxiety comong back. Am trying st jons wort. 4/5 weeks in ..is helping..but not as good as cit but I don't want to go back to that and it's side effects not only going on it but once your on it.  Like bill I am trying to deal with things better..not get wrapped up in the negatives and trying to clear my mind....stop thinking. Start living 😉
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    • Posted

      Well done Gillian for working so hard at helping yourself, it's a hard road but one very well worth treading.  When I find myself getting overwhelmed by a flood of issues, I try to find something to do that isn't too difficult but will distract me just enough that my mind moves on into more positive territory.  Previously I either had complete paralysis and did nothing at all or tried to 'build rome in a day' by starting some massive unachievable project in a fit of euphoria - both extremes and both wrong of me. Now I pick something like watering the house plants or tidying my underwear drawer - small tasks that take 10 minutes or so but just enough diversion to make me forget my stupor.  Keep at it Gillian, it can and does get better. xx
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    • Posted

      Thanks for your post Gillian.

      I hope the St. John's wart is helping you.

      Great advice from Loxie. Small tasks day by day.

      I think as women we try and achieve too much all at once. As you say " try and build Rome in a day" it's unrealistic and totally unachievable and only adds to our frustration and worry.

      I find a good walk in the fresh air, or a super hard gym class helps clear the air for me. Playing the radio and laughing at the presenters helps too as sometimes it's the silence and lack of activity in our lives that for me, allows the negative thoughts to creep in. I need stimulation so I go to the gym (well haven't been for a couple of months as I've been so ill) 3 mornings a week, I work one day a week with a beautiful bunch of people who make me laugh and remember what it's like to live in the moment, I have 4 wonderful kids that remind me of how lucky I am, how hard parenting can be smile and a great supportive husband and extended family to help keep me in check from time to time as my anxiety usually comes in waves. I can be fine for 6 months and then all of a sudden like most, something triggers it off. I suffer from health anxiety which can be easily triggered by a simple visit to the drs.

      Anyway, thank you for your post. Do you have a good counsellor? I have had 3 in past years that I have not quite connected with but have recently in the last 6 months found a fabulous one who I can really relate too and feel comfortable with. I've been told it's not always the first one you see that is meant for you and so true. I have found by talking to someone out of the family unit has been good. It's taken the pressure off my husband and family who at times become upset and frustrated as they are at a loss at how to help or fix it so talking to someone else has defiantly helped my relationships. I find writing down my thoughts when they come to be an amazing way to look over them at the end of the day and surprisingly, quite a huge relief and quite comical even smile did I really think that and think that that would happen??? Good luck Gillian  with everything. Maybe give these things a go. Always here for a chat. All the best x

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  • Posted

    And hi to Loxie too.lots of good points there and things am doing....ur so right small steps. Even if it is only the  underwear drawer! Right off to boxing class....
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