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Avatar universal

Celexa and Lexapro

Hello. I started taking Celexa after trying other depression medication during the past three years. Most of the other medication (effexor, Prozac, Zoloft) produce side effects which I did not care for. My doctor and I finally gave Celexa a try. I was taking low dosages (10mg daily) of Celexa and I was doing fine. A few months back my doctor suggested I try Lexapro. I have found that most of the bad side effects of Celexa have been eliminated with this new and so far wonderful medication, I am currently taking 10mg Lexapro daily. My question is: What can I expect to feel when leaving the medication (long term use). Also, is there any danger to this medication that we know of, how does it differentiate from Celexa. It has been prescribed for my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after 9/11 and a car accident we suffered a year ago.

Thank you.

16 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
Lexapro is derived from Celexa and has the same positive effect at a lower dose without side effects.  It is suppose to help even more with Anxiety.  There should be no delay in its effect and no withdrawal effects from Celexa.
Avatar universal

Avatar universal
I am new to this board and an adult woman that was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 years ago - probably have been about 20 years.  Still trying to find the right meds for me;  I began Lexapro 20 mg in October and took only less than 3 weeks. I tried it to help with obsessing (about death, etc.)  It did stop the obsessing. But it took what little motivation I had left (I was depressed).  I lost all feelings good and bad and just did not care about anything.  I completely let myself and my house go!  Only other med at that time was Wellbutrin (about 2 years) which keeps me awake but that is about all.  Anyway - while taking Lexapro - I began having leg aches at night.  Would awake around 3:00 am hurting. Now I'm on Lamictal 75 (seems to help some - but I am aching all over day and night (except no headache).  Has anyone heard of this side effect in either med?  I'm desperate for help.  Thanks!
Avatar universal

Just left you all the links, copied and pasted, but the message didn't take (error message) so here's how to find out about the drugs for yourself.  

Go to


(This site is neither for or against the drugs, it is merely the listed documentation on the drugs)

Once there, do a search on

1) Lexapro (which is also known as Celexa, and is an SSRI)

2) Lamictal ( which is also known as Lamotrigine and is an anti-convulsant)

3) Wellbutrin (also known as BUPROPION and ZYBAN and is in the aminoketone class of antidepressants).

DON'T STOP TAKING ANY/ALL OF THE ABOVE COLD TURKEY.  All have a warning to wean off gradually.

And here's a Bipolar support site:

If you are still on Lexapro (Celexa) or suspect you have withdrawal from it, then you might want to go to this site where there's information on it:

And from that site you will see links to how to quit from medications, definition of mental disorder, through to looking for a new physician, etc.  

I hope the above helps :)
Avatar universal
LEXAPRO (CELEXA) Special Warning:


"Following is a list of WHO terms that reflect treatment-emergent adverse events, as defined in the introduction to the ADVERSE REACTIONS section, reported by the 999 patients treated with Lexapro
Avatar universal
Thanks for the info - Yes - it did include limbs aching, Carpal tunnel which I had under control (not now) and of course the memory loss for the Lexapro.  Most people who post think that it is great and I was so hoping that it would be for me - not.

I am going to call my psy. tomorrow about the pains and memory loss now that I am on Lamictal - it is helping with the depression.
Avatar universal
You're very welcome re the information :)  

It might be helpful to also speak to your local pharmacist and ask for his/her advice, some are very good caring people.

I'm really sorry that Lexapro didn't work for you.  And whatever the outcome of your talk to the doc and/or pharmacist, please remember that it is very important to WEAN off any of these medications, NEVER go cold turkey.  

All the very best :)
Avatar universal
Hello, I was hoping someone might be able to help or relate. I have been taking Celexa for about 6 weeks, I suffer from stomach problems but have noticed a sever increase in my attacks. I belive I suffer from IBS but have not been diagnosed, since starting the Celexa I have had nonstop pain in my stomach and back. When I first started the meds i was taking it at night but would wake up in pain. So I started taking it during the day and no changes occurred. Unfortunately I suffer from severe anxieties over death and this pain is only making things worse for me. I dont know what to do and I am so hoping someone else has a similar story. I have started to ween myself from it but I am trying to come right off and have become severly nauseas. Any advice and is that normal.
Avatar universal
Wish I could help you - but my main problems were short term memory loss, total loss of motivation and legs aching and I did stop cold turkey  and was okay - was on 20 mg.  Then went to Lamictal as a mood stabilizer - things went from bad to worse with side effects - think I develped the rash on Sunday am so I just completely stopped it 75mg (Dr. agreed with me on that one). But the Lamical helped to lift the depression, helped my social skills and made me very assertive.  So after getting straightened out - I may try it again but even more slowly.  I really did a number on my memory and confusion.  Anyone else with experience with Lamictal?  

Oh - I too am a self-diagnosed IBS - have been about 8 years. take Immodium most every day - especially if going out to eat.  But the Lexapro did not give me any additional stomach problems.  And if that isn't enough - had my first anxiety attack Sunday PM - had the Rescue come out and then another on Monday at work.  I just chewed up Xanax - 100mg and it finally helped.  Hope you feel better soon!
Avatar universal
I've just been reading some of the postings.  I feel bad for all of you and myself experiencing side effects from medications.  I have just recently tried Celexa and Wellbutrin (celexa first for 3 weeks then added wellbutrin) I have never been so sick as I have for the past 2 months suffering some of the same side affects I'm reading about here. I suffer from  major depression and had been on Effexor for 2yrs. and felt fine on this. However I have a problem with hair loss from most any of these medications. Since I'm very sensitive this is probably a allergic reaction.  

I've done alot of research and testing of some medications alone or combined.  The most interesting thing I've learned is that we are all different and all of us will respond differently to these medications, however I think if we actually feel worse on something it's probably not gonna be the medication for us--given at least two weeks of testing.  

Keep in mind the side affects may not be from the medication alone but an interaction from something else including another medication, prescription or over the counter, food and even yes...vitamin therapy.  I would also like to mention that symptoms like digestive problems, joint pain, headaches etc. can be side affects from medications but they may also be symptoms of not enough medication or even the depression itself.
I'm currently not taking anything except L-Tryptophan (an amino acid) which is a precursor to seretonin. I feel ok, but I don't think the depression is active right now and I'm scared to death of a relapse because it will take Effexor (which I know will work) about 3-4 weeks to kick in.
Avatar universal
I went to the doctor yesturday and she has put me on Lexapro.
I dont consider mysef to be majorly depressed -maybe mild/moderate but she had put me on 20mg per day of lexapro!is this a high amount??Are the side effects bad??i start on them tommorow.
I appreciate any advice!Thanksxx
Avatar universal
Hello:  I am new to this forum and have just been prescribed Lexapro, but I am concerned about the side effects - I see that they are supposed to be less than Celexa.  However, has anyone experience hair loss from Lexapro, I have from Prozac and am terrifed to try another anti-depressant although I know I really need it.  Please someone help. Thanks.
Avatar universal
Hello:  I am new to this forum and have just been prescribed Lexapro, but I am concerned about the side effects - I see that they are supposed to be less than Celexa.  However, has anyone experience hair loss from Lexapro, I have from Prozac and am terrifed to try another anti-depressant although I know I really need it.  Please someone help. Thanks.
Avatar universal
I just thought I'd post my comments about Lexapro.  I had depression for years.  It was mostly well controlled with meds.  Imiprimine, then Paxil, then Zoloft over long-term.  This is dating back 15 or so years.  

Last fall I was feeling so well I came off Zoloft.  Still felt well all through the holidays and Winter which are usually tough times.  This spring one day it was like a floodgate opened and all of a sudden I had a drastic change.  Head hurt alot, bad mood, anxiety.  I went back on Zoloft.  It helped a little, but not much.  It really felt like it stopped working.

My doctor gave me some samples of Lexapro to try and see how I would do with it.  I took the first one last night. 10 mg.  What happened was pretty bad.  First I felt wierd tingling all over.  Then my legs became hard to move, and were really shaky.  My tongue felt really wierd too.  Somehow in my state I got dressed and woke a neighbor who is a psych. nurse.  She told me what was going on seemed to be a allergic reaction that sometimes happens, called EPS, extra-peripheral stimulation.  The long nerve fibres shake and vibrate and it is hard to walk.  You think you are dying.  

Benadryl has quieted this down quite a bit.  Right now my doctor is figuring out our next course of action.  It obviously is not Lexapro.  He's never heard of this type of reaction between SSRI's.  It was about 10 hours since the last Zoloft that didn't seem to do anything.  

There's nothing to say at this point I don't have something else going on, but all indications that I'm healthy.  Obviously we're going to look at things closely and probably run tests to rule out other factors.  

I don't want to scare anyone from getting appropriate treatment.  This is just my unique personal experience from a new drug.  

Good luck everyone;

Avatar universal
Unfortunately if you Enzyme P450 is out of wack then you do not metabolize the antidepressants well. All the Doctor would have to do give you a simple enzyme test for the P450. Most insert mention that the drug is metabolized by the P450. Most European races and Asia races have low p450 enzyme activety and so they do no metabolize the drugs well which can lead to a toxic situation and all the side-effects. With the high consumption of sugary products which most races do not metabolize well this can lead to diabetes, hypoglycemia, infection and others. My family after years of anxiety and depression found that we are reactive or fasting hypoglycemics and that was cause the anxiety.
Stay off sugar and we stay of the meds. Now we just enjoy the adrenaline rush for what it is and just realize that the mind was only reacting to the high adrenaline.

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Conquering Anxiety, Depression and Fatigue Without Drugs - the Role of Hypoglycemia
by Professor Joel H. Levitt
The Anxiety & Hypoglycemia Relief Institute
web-page: http://www.travelersonline.com/anxiety/

(For questions regarding anxiety & hypoglycemia and New York City
classes, contact Prof. Joel H. Levitt ***@****)

Stress is often blamed as the root cause for anxiety, depression and fatigue, but, although stress can make any problem worse, the source of such problems is often physical in nature. And hypoglycemia is one of the major physical causes.

This article covers the following:

What is Hypoglycemia? - the cause of hypoglycemia and its effects.

Typical Hypoglycemia Symptoms - the wide range of mental, emotional and physical symptoms.

Testing for Hypoglycemia - standard medical testing and why it is often unreliable.

The Solution to Hypoglycemia - a list of dietary and nutrient recommendations, with special notes and cautions.

Recommended Reading - books and other references that will give you a more complete understanding.

What is Hypoglycemia?

First of all, let's be clear on one major point - hypoglycemia is not a "disease" in that you either have it or don't, it is a condition, and, in most cases, it is fully reversible.

Some types of hypoglycemia are caused by a tumor or other physical damage to a gland. However, that is rare, and not the focus of this article. The more common type of hypoglycemia - called "functional," "reactive," or "fasting" - is your body's reaction to what you put in it.

Hypoglycemia is the body's inability to properly regulate blood sugar levels, causing the level of sugar in the blood to be too low or to fall too rapidly.

Blood sugar, in the form of glucose, is the basic fuel for all brain operation and physical activity, including muscular. If the available fuel is too inadequate, any marginal physical or mental system may start to shut down. In addition, the glandular imbalances that result, as the glands struggle to regulate the sugar level, cause their own symptoms - especially high adrenaline, which is usually perceived as anxiety or panic, but, in some cases, can lead to violence. (Am I saying this has something to do with domestic violence and street crime? YES! And there is expert congressional testimony to back this up.)

Here is a typical pattern:

1. You eat or drink excess sugar (the average American consumes well over 100 lbs/yr.).

2. The body releases insulin to put sugar into storage, but the insulin response is excessive (due to ADAPTATION and/or chromium deficiency).

3. About 2 hours later so much sugar has been put into storage that there is not enough left in the blood, and you get a low-blood-sugar emergency.

Symptoms such as weakness and mental fog begin.

4. The body responds to the emergency by dumping adrenaline into the system.

More symptoms follow from the high adrenaline, such as racing heart, anxiety, etc., etc., etc..

5. The roller coaster rises and falls in critical hormones, causing an unbalance in all the hormones and often resulting in ongoing symptoms.

Many Americans have hypoglycemia to a greater or less degree. The symptoms comprise a remarkably long list and range from mild discomfort to being completely incapacitated.

Typical Hypoglycemia Symptoms

Following is a list of symptoms I've drawn from multiple sources, plus my own observations. The list is long because symptoms result not only directly from low blood glucose but also from the glandular imbalances that result, especially high adrenaline. Only one or two symptoms may be present, but most often, you will find several.

Note that although I've listed mental and physical symptoms separately, they often overlap.

Mental Symptoms

Anxiety - ranging from constant worry to panic attacks.

Phobias - claustrophobia, agoraphobia, acrophobia, and so on. This is anxiety tied to a particular issue.




Depression - especially with females

Violent outbursts - especially with males

Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

Forgetfulness - this may just be choline/inositol deficiency.

Inability to concentrate

Unsocial, Asocial, Anti-Social behavior

Crying spells

Nightmares & night terrors - terror can continue after you wake up. It is especially indicative of hypoglycemia if you wake in a cold sweat, if the terror continues, if there is pressure on the chest, or if you are unable to breathe.

Physical Symptoms

Headaches - especially if a meal is missed.

Tachycardia - racing pulse due to high adrenaline.

Fatigue, weakness, "rubbery" legs.

Tremor or trembling of arm, leg, or whole body (outside or inside)

Twitching, jerking, or cramping of a leg muscle - cramping may be just calcium or magnesium deficiency or food allergy response.

Waking after 2-3 hrs sleep

Tinnitus - ringing in the ear, due to high insulin in about 70 % of tinnitus cases.

Abnormal weight - too high or too low.

Compulsive craving for sweets, colas, coffee, alcohol

Lack of appetite

A diagnosis of "mitral valve prolapse"  

Crawling sensations on skin


Blurred vision

Smothering spells - gasping for breath

Red blotches on skin or circular arcs of red skin

Lack of sexual drive

Chest pain - severe, but EKG normal.

Can't tolerate bright light or loud sounds

Joint pains

Another clue is that the symptoms are usually worse in the early morning after waking, and get better after being up and around a full day.

It's a remarkably long list and for very good reasons!

Many of the above symptoms can be found in the standard PDR
(Physician's Desk Reference) as the typical expected side effects
for a NORMAL HEALTHY person given an injection of adrenaline
(alternate name epinephrine).

Why should anyone not injected with adrenaline have such symptoms? To understand what is going on, we have to understand how humans have been designed to survive emergencies. Suppose you meet a tiger on the road. What happens? Immediately an emergency situation is detected and the adrenal gland dumps adrenaline. The adrenaline prepares you for vigorous
muscular activity. It brings sugar out of storage for muscular action. It raises the heart rate so your blood circulates faster and turns off digestion. You are now prepared for FIGHT or FLIGHT.

Some people will fight, their adrenaline response will be ANGER, most people will run, their adrenaline response is felt as FEAR.

In most cases, the simplest WORKING DEFINITION OF ANXIETY is the way you perceive HIGH ADRENALINE. If adrenaline is moderately high for too long a time, people feel anxious and wonder why. This is called "free-floating " anxiety.

If, on the other hand, adrenaline shoots up to a very high value rapidly, and
then decreases rapidly, the anxiety is brief but intense. This is called a "panic attack." If you regularly pick a particular thing to tie the anxiety to, such as high places, that's called a "phobia." What's the problem? What's wrong with the life-saving response to a tiger on the road?

The human body, because it's a wonderful self-adjusting system has a mechanism called ADAPTATION. If you repeatedly have emergencies the body learns to dump larger and larger amounts of adrenaline at the slightest hint of an emergency. The adrenal gland puts out about 60 different hormones- repeated requests for adrenaline dumps will affect all the others.

A hair-trigger adrenaline response is not what you want in modern life. What happens in modern life is that several times a day many people have low-blood-sugar emergencies. This leads to adrenaline dumping and ANXIETY, it also leads to hormonal imbalances.

NORMAL SUGAR PROCESSING: Eat food including sugar; pancreas
releases insulin; insulin puts excess sugar into storage for use later.

"REACTIVE HYPOGLYCEMIC" PROCESSING: Consume excessive sugar food
or beverage; pancreas dumps excess insulin (remember ADAPTION);
About two hours later blood sugar crashes to emergency level; adrenal
gland dumps excess adrenaline (remember ADAPTION); RESULT=ANXIETY

The saving grace is that hypoglycemia, even early-stage diabetes when the pancreas starts to give up, is fully reversible with diet and nutritional supplements.

Testing for Hypoglycemia

Standard medical testing for hypoglycemia is the Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT). The person being tested is required to fast for 12 hours, then have a drink with a super-high sugar content - a disaster plan for someone with hypoglycemia. The blood is then tested every 30 minutes, for 6 hours. Unfortunately, the test is unreliable as it is frequently done in an inadequate way or is misinterpreted.

The most frequent problems with the GTT are:

The test is run for less than 6 hours - a 3 -hour test certainly can't catch a drop at the 5.5 hour point).

The test measures glucose level but fails to measure insulin and adrenaline - your blood sugar may be holding up because your adrenal gland is dumping huge amounts of adrenaline. Glucose alone can't tell the full story.

The symptoms are not carefully observed during the test - the classic story is of a man who went for his test, drank the sugar solution, became violent, and smashed the furniture in the waiting room. Upon leaving, he was given a bill for the furniture, and a test stamped "normal!" His glucose level didn't go below the level that lab used as an absolute criterion! If you become violent during the test, or faint, or break out in a cold sweat and start shaking you have FAILED the test REGARDLESS of the NUMBERS!

The rate of drop in blood sugar is ignored - the lowest glucose level is important, but the rate of drop is just as important. Falling too rapidly from high-normal to low-normal represents poor regulation and will give symptoms.

Because of the above testing problems, hypoglycemia is best diagnosed by its symptoms.

The Solution to Hypoglycemia

To reverse the condition, the glands must be allowed to recover. This is done by eliminating all foods and beverages that deliver sugar rapidly. Thus the cure for "low blood sugar" is to AVOID sugar and simple carbohydrates, like white wheat flour, that convert rapidly into sugar.

Stress, of course, makes all problems worse. And if you can eliminate all stress - fine. But, realistically, it is much easier to simply control what you consume.

My recommendations for handling hypoglycemia consist of diet, and nutritional supplements. There are also excellent full-length books available in the Recommended Books list at the end of this article. I especially recommend books 1 and 2.

Dietary Recommendations
Best foods to eat
raw vegetables
raw mixed salad greens
seeds and nuts (not peanuts)

Next best
cooked vegetables
cooked greens (Collard greens, Mustard greens, Spinach etc.)
organic eggs (hardboiled for safety)
organic beefliver
organic beef
whole grains (one at a time)

Best snack
carry seeds & nuts.

Best beverages
Freshly made vegetable juices. Most hypoglycemics should probably limit carrots in juice form to about 1/day or less, as a sweetener for other veggies.

Spring or filtered water.

Herbal tea - from one or two herbs, not "naturally flavored" blends.

Worst food ingredients

The packaging for some foods can be misleading. For example, many packages will say "Sugar Free." However, if you read the ingredients, you will find types of sweeteners just as harmful. Therefore, it is important to read all labels carefully.

Hypoglycemics should avoid the following:

Sugar - this includes sucrose, fructose, raw sugar (sugar + dirt), brown sugar (sugar, dyed brown), corn syrup, "dried cane juice", "raisin juice" etc., molasses, malt, malted barley, even maple syrup and honey.

Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils - including vegetable shortening and margarine. These are hormone imbalancers.

White wheat flour and white rice - nutrients that prevent heart disease & cancer are removed from these products to give longer shelf life. Fiber is also removed, therefore the starch rapidly converts to sugar.

Peanuts & Corn - high mold sources which tax the immune system.

Special Notes and Cautions About Diet

The above list represents my personal current opinion, and is periodically modified. Consideration was given both to the influence on sugar metabolism, and on general health. Many foods not listed above as best or worst can be eaten in moderation, assuming of course that you are not allergic to them. Additionally, the following factors need to be observed

Organic Foods
If you can't get "organic" foods, use non-organic foods less often.

If you are a vegetarian, of course eliminate animal foods. The vegetarian route requires more knowledge and more work; but I currently believe that, in the long run, it gives the best health in most cases - for hypoglycemics as well as "normals."

Food Allergies
Food allergy and reactive hypoglycemia frequently go hand in hand. If you are allergic to one or more of the best foods, then they are not acceptable for you.

Individual food allergies must be carefully considered with any restrictive diet. For example, a grain-based diet can be a disaster for someone with grain allergies, even if the carbohydrate level can be tolerated. Another example is eggs, which are a common allergen.

To find out what you are allergic to is a gradual process of learning which involves primarily selective elimination, for at least 5 days, with careful observation of symptoms.

Likes and Dislikes
I also believe that you must be reasonably comfortable with your food choices to assimilate the food properly, i.e. foods you hate won't make a good diet for you.

Beware of Liquids Containing Sugar
Liquids containing sugar deliver sugar to the body too rapidly. In addition to obvious disasters such as sodas, colas, sweetened coffee (a double whammy if caffeine is present), and alcohol (behaves like liquid sugar), you should also AVOID FRUIT JUICES (an exception is grapefruit which can usually be tolerated in moderation, perhaps 4 oz./day)

AVOID SKIM MILK. Milk would be O.K. for hypoglycemics, but a harmful enzyme, Xanthine Oxidase, makes it a bad choice for all. Consider instead organic yogurt, from whole milk, NOT skim or low-fat. The harmful enzyme Xanthine Oxidase is de-activated when yogurt and cheeses are made.

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners have been a major American health disaster, especially aspartame, and should not even be considered as a substitute for sugar. They make recovery for hypoglycemics much more difficult and are a major health hazard.
Nutrient Recommendations
The most important of the supplements are high level vitamin C - which is the primary support for the adrenal gland - and a good multiple formula containing chromium.

Vitamin C
The best type of vitamin C, and the easiest to take in my opinion, is POWDERED Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid).

I recommend Allergy Research (Willner stock # 10004), or Freeda (C PWD "Dull"- Willner stock # 14267, 4 oz & # 14268 16 oz).

Solgar Vitamin C Crystals do not dissolve as well but are still effective, and widely available.

The dosage depends on how serious your symptoms are. A general guideline for most people having uncomfortable symptoms would be 10 grams (10,000 milligrams) per day. A level teaspoon of powder or crystals gives about 4 grams, a heaping teaspoon 5 grams. Therefore two heaping teaspoons per day would give 10 grams. This should be split into two or more servings at different times during the day, preferably with meals. If you are not used to these levels, start with less and work up over a few days. An extra teaspoon can always be taken if you start to feel bad - indigestion, a headache, dizzy, a panic attack starting, etc.

Avatar universal
<a href="http://www.onlinepharmacyprescription.com">
onlinepharmacyprescription.com</a> is a great place to search for prescription medicine online.
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