Sexual side effects after discontinuing Citalopram

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I was on Celexa/Citalopram for close to 20 years (since my late teens). Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to go off the medication, and over the course of several months I gradually decreased my dosase (the dosage I was taking was 40mgs). Today marks 14 weeks that I've been off the drug completely, and since going off of it, I've been experiencing significant premature ejaculation with not even the slightest bit of improvement as time has gone on. Obviously this is causing me a great deal of distress and I'm starting to worry that it's never going to go back to normal. Additionally, since I was on the drug for so long, I really don't know what "normal" is supposed to be. I have no real reference to use as to what it was like before I started taking Citalopram. If anyone who has had a similar experience could offer any insight I'd greatly appreciate it.

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  • Posted

    this isn't my personal experience but all side effects should eventually clear up after coming off citalopram the question is when. it will clear up eventually but being on them for 20 years it might take a while to go back to normal

    it could just be that citalopram made it possible to last longer so to speak. it did for me when I was on it.

    if it doesn't clear up talk to your doctor. I know someone who had the same problem and ended up staying on a very low dose for maintenance for a while to help.

    good luck hopefully it clears up soon.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your insight. When I first brought this to my doctor's attention after about 5 weeks of being off the drug, he mentioned going back on a low dosage if the problem persisted beyond 8 weeks (which it has). That's not exactly the answer I was looking for, as the whole point of this has been to not take mood altering drugs anymore, but I'm starting to reach my wits end and may have to entertain that idea now.

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  • Posted

    I was on Celexa for many years.......starting in my 30's. I was about 50 when I decided I wanted to stop taking them. I went pretty much cold turkey. I do not recommend this. You are smart to wean yourself very, very slowly. You've been taking this medication even while your brain was still developing.

    It was agonizing coming off Celexa. I felt every emotion in an extremely raw way. I also had the sexual side effect similar to you. I could not achieve an orgasm for almost 8 months. Then, after a while, the opposite happened. I experienced PGAD.

    I thought I was going crazy until I did a search on the Internet and found out more about this disorder. It was a real nightmare for me for about 2 years.....on and off. It's been 5 years now since I've been off the meds and the sexual side effects are gone.

    I am still pretty moody and get irritable very easily as Celexa numbed this for so long. I've had to learn how to control my moods, anxiety, and depression in new ways. But, I had to get off the meds.......as I think after so many years, my body felt toxic from taking them.

    I suggest that you wean exceedingly slowly from Celexa. You may greatly lessen the withdrawal syndrome by doing this. Like a previous poster said, everyone's brain is different and you will be back to "normal" in time.

    There is hope........my orgasms have been better than ever now...without PGAD and Celexa.

    This is an awkward topic to discuss, but I wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that it does get better.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with me, Karen. Part of me is tempted to go back on the drug at a lower dosage to see if there's any improvement with my situation, but the last thing I want is to be a slave to mood altering drugs, and that's exactly why I decided to stop taking Celexa to begin with. The other problem is that I'm also experiencing some pretty bad insomnia that has also coincided with discontinuing Celexa. I couldn't tell you the last time I slept for more than what feels like 4-5 hours in a night. Between the sleeping difficulties and the premature ejaculation, it feels like what was supposed to be a remedy for depression is now causing more depression and anxiety than I've ever had with or without it. It's extremely frustrating.

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  • Posted

    Jonathan,

    I do feel badly for you. It is very difficult to cope in this world nowadays......especially when you are prone to anxiety and depression. Then to add insomnia and withdrawal symptoms......it can feel impossible to get through the a day.....or a week. The suffering is real. I do not think that there is an easy way around it. But, by researching and asking advice, you may learn helpful ways to ease your "side effects". Obviously, what works for one person may not work for you. Like, for a while, exercise made my PGAD symptoms worse. Normally exercise is my go-to for my anxiety and depression.

    Not being able to sleep must be torture for you at times. Try and go easy and gentle on yourself. Take care of your needs while you go through this. Do not feel badly if you have to take a very low dose of Celexa to ease the withdrawal symptoms. I have read about many people say that weaning VERY slowly can help immensely. I was stubborn and refused to go back to the meds. I may have saved myself some really, really tough days had I weaned.

    It is so individual. I'm sorry you are suffering. Do you think that Celexa helped you as a young man with your anxiety and depression? Just curious to hear if it worked well for you and what your opinion is about giving it to teenagers.

    It may be difficult for you to know what your "normal" is supposed to be at this stage of your life.

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    • Posted

      Honestly, I really don't know how well it worked. Perhaps I'm not perceptive enough to recognize whether or not the meds improved anything because part of me feels like I was hastily given mood altering drugs simply for being a moody teenager at times. In the years since, I've experienced depression here and there for a host of reasons (failed relationships, for an example), but I was never really convinced that the meds made a difference one way or another, although my mother swore she could see a difference in my mood. I'm generally in a good mood, but like anyone else, sometimes life gets you down, and during times when that happened over the years, Celexa certainly wasn't stopping me from feeling it. I've been without it for over three months now, and as far as my mood goes, I feel no different than when I was taking the meds. The only thing that's affecting my mood is the lower quality of life I'm experiencing since discontinuing.

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