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Celexa Discontinuation Symptoms
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Celexa Discontinuation Symptoms

I am a 40 year old woman, and I have been off Celexa for almost one week now after having taken it for 3 years. When I first started Celexa, I was able to cope much better with some very difficult, life changing issues I was facing at the time, felt much calmer, and it helped tremendously with Pre Menstrual Irritablity.  I starting out at 10 mgs a day, and earlier this year my doctor increased the dose by another 5 mgs every other day because the Pre Menstrual irritability symptoms were coming back. Over the years I was surprised at how well I was coping with things which would have sent me over the edge prior to taking Celexa. I have stopped taking the meds due to the sexual side effects which are eating away at my 12 year relationship with my partner, even though my doctor told me that I was on a "baby dose" and that sexual side effects on this small dose were unlikely.  I had no idea what I was in for when I stopped taking the drug. Three days after stopping I went see my doctor for a scheduled visit and confessed about stopping the meds.I also described some symptoms I was having which I did not associate with stopping Celexa at the time, and she said that I it sounded like "discontinuation symptoms" which actually made me feel better because I thought I was having some kind of neurological event.  She suggested Wellbutrin, but would like me to try and stay off any meds for a month before introducing new meds. I feel like things have worsened over the past 3 days.  I feel like hell... I am cranky, anxious, and have these awful shock like symptoms that move from my chest to my face every time I turn my head. The other day at work I overreacted and yelled at my boss. Now I'm scared that it will get worse because I'm  reading about other people's discontinuation symptoms on the internet in postings like this. My doctor doesn't seem to be very well informed since she told me that Celexa disconintuation "wasn't bad, doesn't last long". I am wondering if things will worsen from here on in. Should I wait it out? Talk to my Doctor about re-introducing the Celexa for a taper program? Should I ask about going on Wellbutrin sooner rather than waiting? Get another psychopharm? I'm not sure what to do. Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you.
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You should ask your doctor about going back on Celexa, and tapering off gradually, and simultaneously starting wellbutrin.  that will give you the maximum benefit.
14 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry if I spelled your name wrong, to much hassel to go back and sign in.  I would like to tell you that your doctor should not have told you to quit celexa cold turkey.  I have been on paxil for about 4yrs. and have read alot about all this classification of drugs (ssri's) A taper off of it is the only way to quit. Depending on the ssri and your personal tolerence to lowering the dose it will vary. I would get a new doctor it possible. She doesn't seem to know enough about your med to help you. Is she a regular md or a psychiatrist?  I would go back on the former dose you were taking of celexa then find a doctor or do research on the internet about tapering off celexa. I know when i lower my dose of paxil to much or forget to take it I get creamed, feels like someone kicked me in the head, more depression and anxiey also. Paxil has a very short half life which means the time it takes to clear out of your system so depending on the ssri;s half life and I''m not sure about celexa's half life you have to adjust your taper according to the individual drugs half life. Usually the shorter the half live of a drug the slower the taper must be.  For instance prozac has such a long half life that it stays in your system so long that it is somewhat self tapering and much less likly to have as much discontinustion trouble. Paxil on the other hand has a half life of about 24hrs and must be tapered very slowly. So depending on the half life of celexa (a good doctor should kow this) you must adjust your taper to the drug and your tolerence. usually from what I have heard any time you reduce your dosage and then experience trouble you should go back the the dose you where stable at for three or four days or until you
feel stable then taper again at a slower rate.  You should get some advice from a professionl on a tapering plan. I the mean time I would go back to the dose I was on before, maybe not all at once if I had been on 20mg a day I would do 10mg or 15 the first few days as I have a problem going back up to quickly I hope this is helpfull to you.
a fellow suffer
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so glad I found this site.  The other night I  experienced a  "brain zap" and I thought I was dying or had a brain tumor.  When I went on the computer and typed in "feels like an electric current going through my brain"  I was brought to this and saw many letters of people withdrawing from ssri's and having "brain zaps".  I have been on tofranil for  14 yrs ( a tricylcic antidepressant)  It works with seratonin levels just like ssri's.  Iam on 75 mg. maintenance.  Whenever I have my period, my anxiety and depression are always worse, along with other strange, nervous feelings.  This month, I have the "zaps"  never had them before and Im really scared.  An md gives me my meds. and he is old and doesn't seem to know much about anti-depressants.  When I had 1 zap, I was teaching a class, 2nd time I was sleeping.  I am living in fear now of having another one.  What if I'm driving, eating?  Can these kill you.  Please help!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi
In regards to the zaps you are getting, I don't think they can harm you. I have had similar zaps when cutting down on Paxil to quickly. I don't think that you mentioned whether you have cut down your dosage on the med you take or not. If you have cut back
then my guess would be that you have tapered off to quickly. While the zaps can scare you I believe from everything I have read about them they aren't an indication of anything but reduceing your medication to much and to fast.  I have done much research on all aspects of depression and medication as I also suffer from anxiety and depression. I have a knowlegible shrink
and he can't explain them. I think one of the problems with depression and mental disturbence in general is that we all experience things differently. I find the whole approach to our problems by the medical community is that they are guessing most of the time about nearly everything that we as the sufferer's are experiencing. You probably would feel more comfortable if you had more confidence in the doctor you are seeing. It might be time to look for someone who you feel is better educated in the medications.  I also have heard that a medication might become inefficient after you are on it for a perion of time. It seems if I remember correctly you have been on the same medication for thirteen or fourteen years? That seems like a long time maybe there is somthing that would work better for you.
a fellow sufferer
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your response.  I am calling a doctor tomorrow (psychaitrist) to talk about the episodes I experienced.  I have to start allover again, as the psychiatrist I used to see moved to Arizona about 5 years ago and my reg. md has been giving me the anti depressant, but he is really not knowledgeable about it at all.  I feel somewhat reassured about what you said about the shock-like feelings being common.  From what I am reading on the posts it is quite common.  I didn't lower my med, but around pms time I'm supposed to up it from 75 to 100mgs and I haven't been doing that.  Maybe I have built an immunity since i hve been on for about 14 years.  From what i read about withdrawal, i don't know if I ever want to go off of it!!! Thanks again, and hope you're feeling well.  Judy
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm so glad I came by this post.  I went to see my doctor yesterday because I've hit the worst bout of depression in my life.  I went cold turkey 3 weeks ago with Celexa.  I just stopped coping.  I went to my doctor yesterday. I asked her specifically if my episode may be a result of stopping celexa and she doubted it. Now I doubt her ability.  I asked to be put on a different SSRI.  I wasn't sure that celexa was working. I was on 20 mg.  I tried 30 but I couldn't stomach it.  She recommended Effexor(?).  Since I knew nothing about it, I asked for Prozac instead.  She gave me a prescription for 20 mg. of Prozac. I've gained 25 lbs in the last 3 months from depression.  I'm afraid if I continue to gain I will spiral downwards even more.  Can celexa & prozac cause weight gain?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 42 and I am currently taking 100 mg of Luvox a day, and will be switching to Celexa starting Sunday. My dr. has advised me to start with 5mg of Celexa in the morning and 50 mg of Luvox at night to start the weaning of the Luvox and the introduction of the Celexa. My question is, is this a safe procedure...to have both prescriptions in my system at the same time? I really like my dr. but I am a bit nervous about making the switch this way.
Thanks for your help.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was on Paxil for just a month when I asked my doctor to switch me to Wellbutrin, which she agreed to do. I felt sleepy all day long and was already having horrible sexual problems. Now, after reading so much about withdrawal effects from Paxil, I just wonder if I'll have to go through it even though I spend just a month on a very small dose of it. I'm trying to taper it off, but even so I'm a little scared...
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been on Celexa 30mg once a day and Wellbutrin SR150 twice a day for a couple years.  I also have Xanax for periods of anxiety.  If I do not take my medication, I too have those weird feelings.  Once I get back on the medication, the symptoms go away.
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Avatar_n_tn
I was on Celexa for about a year and a half. after three weeks of the prescribed 20mg/day, I started to experience
MAJOR anxiety attacks while driveing, especially when on the intersate and appraoching a long, slight bend in the road, or if
there was a vehicle within 20 feet of me. It was so bad I had to pull over to gather my composure on many occasions.Other times
there was nowhere I could pull over, which only amplified the anxiety. I felt like I was going to pass out. I would try to count to 10, then to 20, and usually after 30 seconds or so it would go away until the next moment it occured.
This has continued even after discontinuation of this med,
and it has been over a year now. I changed jobs so I would not be on the interstate so often, yet whenever I am the anxiety returns. I NEVER had a problem driving previous to this, and I told my Dr. about it and he said it had nothing to do with the Celexa. I was prescribed this for the relief of compulsive thoughts and obsessive disorder. It helped a little in that area,
but not enough to warrant the side effects of constant bowl/digestion/stool issues as well as falling asleep at work,
I thought I was getting narcolepsy or something. I no longer fall asleep at my desk, and my digestion issues are cleared up.


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Avatar_n_tn
I WAS ON CELEXA FOR 3 MONTHS AND STOPPED COLD TURKEY ABOUT 2 WEEKS AGO......I SEEM TO BE VERY ANXIOUS AND NERVOUS AND I HAVE A CONSTANT RINGING IN MY EARS OR WHEN I MOVE MY HEAD I SEEM TO GET A NOISE IN MY EARS....DOES ANYONE EXPERIENCE THIS ALSO???? I DIDNT THINK CELEXA WAS HELPING --SO I QUIT...I REALLY DONT LIKE THE IDEA OF TAKING MEDS...THEY ARE JUST MORE CHEMICALS ADDED TO OUR BODIES....DOES ANYONE FEEL THE SAME???
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Avatar_n_tn
Having been on zoloft (and prozac once) for the last 8 years I got to a point where I just wanted to try going w/o meds for a while last summer. Did well the first month, second month was up and down, and the third month I was constantly angry, crying, or both. Went to  get meds and thought I'd try something different to see if I could get rid of the fatigue I feel on zoloft. Ended up on Celexa. I've never had anxiety attacks except after major life events until a couple of months after starting the celexa. Had two major anxiety attacks--started shaking, etc. to the point where I almost couldn't walk. Finally wondered if the problem was the med.s and looked up the side effects on the internet--anxiety was one of them. Went to my new internest and explained the problem and my concern about the anxiety. She told me all antidep. meds are the same, that it was anxiety (no kidding) and said she could put me on paxil "if the internet said it was OK." Needless to say, I never went back but, I did manage to convince her to put me back on zoloft. I went off the celexa over a two week period and, from what I've read in other peoples stories, seem to have gone off it too quickly. Was on 20mg and reduced to 10mg for a week then off completely for a week then back on the zoloft. I had the same zaps everyone describes for the entire week being off everything--across my chest, down my arms, and up into my jaw and throat--but they stopped almost immediately after starting the zoloft. Scarry but I'm glad to hear all your stories and that I wasn't going nuts or having heart problems. Thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
Last Thursday (9/13/07) I took 25mg of Celexa for the first time.  Prescribed by neurologist as a result of continuing headaches - scans have showed nothing wrong, so she felt my serotonin level was low and this would help.  6 hours later I was experiencing such horrible side effects or reaction (hot burning feeling INSIDE my body, rapid pulse, legs shaking,  heart beating hard, increasing blood pressure) that I had my husband take me to ER just in case I was heading for something serious.   ER Doc said they "see this all the time" with this medication.  After 2 hours of monitoring they sent me home.  Another "wave" of reaction hit during that night (approx. 12 hours after taking pill).  I reasoned that it would take 24 hours for this to totally pass.  But on Saturday I was still experiencing the same side effects, with lesser frequency.  I called the pharmicist.  She told me that this med has a "half life" of 36 HOURS and it takes 5-7 days to rid my system, even with just one pill!  It is now 4 days later and the side effects are pretty much gone but I'm so tired....probably due to the stress on my body during this time.  I am NOT taking any more - there has to be a better way!
But I've learned an important lesson --- to check out the "half lives" of new meds (never heard of this before) and the total amount of time to pass through the body.  This is probably a unique experience, but I want to share just in case.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Last Thursday (9/13/07) I took 25mg of Celexa for the first time.  Prescribed by neurologist as a result of continuing headaches - scans have showed nothing wrong, so she felt my serotonin level was low and this would help.  6 hours later I was experiencing such horrible side effects or reaction (hot burning feeling INSIDE my body, rapid pulse, legs shaking,  heart beating hard, increasing blood pressure) that I had my husband take me to ER just in case I was heading for something serious.   ER Doc said they "see this all the time" with this medication.  After 2 hours of monitoring they sent me home.  Another "wave" of reaction hit during that night (approx. 12 hours after taking pill).  I reasoned that it would take 24 hours for this to totally pass.  But on Saturday I was still experiencing the same side effects, with lesser frequency.  I called the pharmicist.  She told me that this med has a "half life" of 36 HOURS and it takes 5-7 days to rid my system, even with just one pill!  It is now 4 days later and the side effects are pretty much gone but I'm so tired....probably due to the stress on my body during this time.  I am NOT taking any more - there has to be a better way!
But I've learned an important lesson --- to check out the "half lives" of new meds (never heard of this before) and the total amount of time to pass through the body.  This is probably a unique experience, but I want to share just in case.  
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