Tapering off Citalopram

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Hello. I have been on Citalopram 20mg for the past 12 months. My doctor feels that it's time that I get off of it.

He suggested taking one 20mg pill every other day for 3 weeks. At that point, he wants me to go two days in between taking a 20 mg pill.

After 3 weeks of that regiment, he wants me to go 3 days between a 20 mg pill.

I have just finished my 3 week regiment of 1 pill every other day.

I must say that I feel "strange" since I've started the taper. I've been experiencing things such as heart palpitations, body shakes, strange feeling in head (kind of a dizzy feeling, but not overly severe), mild to moderate agitation, etc.

My questions are:

1) Is my doctor having me taper the correct way?

2) Are these "strange" things that I am going through physically due to the taper or are these things that I am experiencing not normal during a taper?

Thanks in advance!

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    The tapering from your doctor from everything I have been reading here for the last two years is not correct...reach out to katecogs she has experience on this forum ..to taper off the correct way..you are having withdrawals from the dose skipping..sorry your feeling this way..take care
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  • Posted


    Sorry but that's not the way to taper off.  You'll end up being really ill and I you're beginning to feel withdrawal symptoms.  Doing it like this you're depriving your brain of the constant level of meds which is the symptoms you're getting, plus you're doing way too quick.  You'll end up being really ill from withdrawal plus end up back in the anxiety trap again as you won't have allowed your body a gentle return to being meds free.  I spent a whole year coming off these and avoided withdrawal.

    I'm not a doctor but may I suggest you take my plan back to your doctor and ask him to help you follow it?

    I went from 20mg and reduced my meds by 5mg each time, spending about 1-2 months on each reduction.  This was a gradual decrease and allowed my body to slowly taper down.  Doing it this slow I didn't have any withdrawal at all this time around (I did the first time I came off some years earlier).

    So my taper was 20 / 15 / 10 / 5 / 2.5 / 1.25 / 0

    I bought a pill cutter / crusher and cut the 20mg tablet into 4 and did it that way.  The last 2 doses were too small to cut any further so I crushed them and took the powder like that.  Worked a treat.

    May I also add that it should be your decision to come off these meds if and when you feel its right - not your doctors.  You can stay on them for life if you need to.  There is nothing wrong with taking meds if you need to.

    Anyway - I seriously urge you to not skip days.  I think reinstate the 20mg every day again and wait for all these withdrawal symptoms to stop - this could take a month or so.  Only when the symptoms have stopped should you start to withdraw the proper way.  Please speak to your doctor though before reinstating.  I'm not a doctor but had 20 years experience of taking these meds.

    Hope that helps.  Sorry you're feeling like this.  It will stop though once you sort it.

    K x wink

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    • Posted


         Thank you so very much for the reply. To be completely honest, I asked my doctor if I could get off the Citalopram because it didn't help with my anxiety issues. I figured that if it was going to help, it surely would have helped by now (been on it for 12 months).

         I agree with you that a slower taper is the way to go. For whatever reason, my doctor didn't seem to think that a quicker taper would cause problems. I can tell you that it has caused all of the symptoms that I noted in my initial post. It's horrible!

         I do own a pill cutter, so butting the doses will not be a problem.

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    • Posted

      Hi AllianceMike

      Ah I see - well if after 12 months its not helped at all then a good idea to withdraw.  Have you considered swapping to a different SSRI - as know some people respond better to different ones.  There would be the need to cross taper though.

      Another thing to consider is that some people struggle if the dose is too high for them and they just get continuous side effects and anxiety.  Lowering often sorts this out.  

      But if you've decided to come off completely then I really would go for the slow withdrawal because you avoid withdrawal symptom (or lessen them greatly anyway), and its not such a shock to the body.

      Lots of doctors underestimate the power of these meds and the problem it causes if coming off too quick.  I sympathise with the symptoms as I had them the first time I came off meds - I thought it was slow, but obviously not slow enough.  The second time was a breeze.  

      But yes do try the pill cutter - and it would be best to let your doctor know too.  But wait until you're back to a good level and things have settled before trying again.

      Let us know how it goes xx

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  • Posted

    What I've learned is NO MORE than 5% every 2-4+ week's.

    Most doctor's are clueless with tapering and the minute you judge there decision, they don't like it. Plenty of proof from others out there that have done it. If you want resources or fact's, PM.

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