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Avatar universal

Deciding between taking Citalopram or Effexor- advise please?


I've suffered from bouts of depression since childhood.  At the moment I'm going through a lot of life changes and feel like I need to take an anti-depressant for 3 to 6 months to get me through this time.

I was going to start on Effexor as my doctor says that is the best one, but having looked up the side effects from other users and I'm not too sure.  Also I tried to take it for a couple of days and felt quite strong side effects (although it was probably not long enough to really work out whether it suited me).

So he has given me Citalopram instead.  I was hoping I could get some advise from people to which one they would recomend?  I know it's different for everyone, but this effexor sounds like harsh withdrawal symtoms.  I was on fluxotine (I think it was called ) for a year five yeats ago, and it worked and I'm glad I took it during that period of my life as I needed something, i tapered off the drug and got no withdrawal symptoms.  My doctor does not prescribe this one any more as he says the amphetamine-like side effects are too strong.

I'm not very motivated at the moment and feel like I've kind of got a sedated mood anyway, so I was hoping that Citalopram wouldn't make me feel even more sleepy as I might not get out of bed! Also I'm scared of getting fat, I know this is stupid...but there you go.  Also I have been suffering from insomnia for about a year and a half, but I'm not working at the moment and I don't get insomnia.

Would be very greatful for any advise.

Thanks so much.
28 Responses
Avatar universal
I'd go for the citalopram if i were you - i've known a couple of people who've had a pretty bad time of it on effexor. Hope it goes well, X
Avatar universal
i am on Effexor XR and i havent had any bad side effects. I started out on 37.5mg a day and after a week moved to 75 mg a day... the only rough day i had was my 1st day on 75 mg. i felt very drugged.. but i adjusted rather quickly.. best wishes =-)
Avatar universal
i would try the wellbuturin sr before those.  i had a bad time trying to get on those and never did.  didn't had a hard time at all with the wellbuterin sr.  good luck!
Avatar universal
I don't know much about the side effects of citalopram but my husband is on effexor and had tried to come off it and when he cuts back he does feel it.  It does however help him with back pain and when he isn't on it he is in terrible pain.  I think the effexor made him cold and exact with little feelings behind his thoughts etc.  But his doctor has added another med and the two together have really started to bring back his feelings.  You want help but you don't want to not have any emotions.  The other medicine is Mirtazapine/remeron 15 mg.
Hope this helps.  
This may seem shallow but does anyone know if Citalopram causes weight gain?  I think it is totally stupid to make an antidepressant that puts weight on an already depressed person,
366488 tn?1198119471
Effexort works wonders but you can't miss a dose or you feel like a crack head who needs a fix. I call it the whooshes, where you turn your head and feel and hear a whoosh woosh woosh! But it really does fix your head!
Avatar universal
My sister is taking citalopram and this medication is working for her.  She has no side effects.  My niece is taking Effexor XR and this medication is working for her.  The only side effect is an increase in "sweating" when nervous.  The only way you will know what is best for your body is to try one.  I really think it is "six of one" and a "half dozen of the other".  If one doesn't work, then you try another.  Life really is too short to not feel well then there are options out there.  
Avatar universal
well, it is good to use Liquorice . It is known a very powerful antidepressent. It is especially good in stress relief. Take a  boiled decoction made of 2-5 g of dried root, three times a day. You will see the effect so soon.
Avatar universal
Citalopram is the only medication I've ever been on, and it's been great for me. Like you might know, Citalopram works on serotonin only, while Effexor works on more than one neurotransmitter. I've heard great experiences with Effexor too, but also, they say it's much, much more difficult to wean off of.

I agree that you should give it a try, either to one of those two or something else. Medication is good when used properly. Talk to your doctor and he/she will prescribe you the most suitable for you.
Avatar universal
I use citalopram and its been great. Gained a bit of weight but needed it. Not really any other side effects and I have been on it a year now.
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor XR 150 mg for a year and am currently going through the withdrawal process.  While I was on Effexor, I felt wonderful.  I do honestly think it's a drug that does what it states it will do.  The only problem I have with it is the withdrawal symptoms.  It's been 4 days since I've introduced any Effexor to my system and I feel like death!  Between the hyper feeling and the sleeplessness, not to mention the feelings of electric shocks in your head and the tingles in my hands, I don't know which is worse. I was glad (in a strange way) to see I'm not the only one who is having this kind of withdrawal problem but, had I known before I started taking it what the withdrawal would be like, I don't know I would have even started on it.
Avatar universal
i have took antidepressants on and off since i was 20. i am now 47. zoloft has worked with me well. the only thing is it is harsh on the stomach.keeps mine upset. i am now for the first time taking citalopram. i have been on it for only 3 days now. everyone is saying you gain weight? i am overweight now. why would my doctor prescribe me something if i am going to put on more weight? that's not thinking right is it? if i notice that i am putting on more weight i will have to change it i guess. have you gained weight? i haven't taken it long enough to know yet.

Avatar universal
please dont do effexer it was so hard for me to get off terible withdrawls lexie pro is much better.
Avatar universal
If you have a history of short-term antidepressant use, and you feel like this is a short-term difficulty, I don't know that Effexor is the best option. The withdrawal effects from effexor are well-documented. If you plan to discontinue the medication after 3 or 6 months, perhaps might want to try another one. If Prozac (fluoxetine?) worked for you before there's a chance it would work for you again. I think Celexa is in the same class as Prozac, but Celexa can cause increased jitteriness. I was on Celexa (citalopram) for about two days and I felt like I was having a heart-attack. As you said, it's different for everyone. A good doctor will take lots of stuff into account, including your history and your concerns (yes, even your concerns about weight gain. You should never be afraid to voice a worry and you are definitely not the only person who was ever depressed and still worried about weight gain.) If you're not feeling listened to or you feel like you're not being given enough say, you may want to consider a consultation (second opinion) with another doctor.

Good luck.

Avatar universal
I've been on Effexor XR 150 mg for 2 years. I recently read enough documentation to scare me into making a change to citalopram. I'm into my 3rd week of reducing the effexor and the withdrawls are wicked.I read it was in the top 15 of the worlds most dangerous drugs. I can hardly wait to start the citralopram. I have read tons of documentation that it is far better tolerated, and way easier to come off of. Search the net there are tons of web sites that compare the two. Citralopram wins hands down.
1192491 tn?1265035429
I have been on a mixture of several antidepressants and antidepressants with mood stabilzers.  I have been thru withdrawal from Effexor and it is brutal, however, worth it.  I have been in a deep depression for a few months and my p-doc has switched my meds several times lately.  I believe we have finally come up with the right mixture, 300 mg. Effexor, 20 mg. Celexa and 30 mg. Risperdal.  I am beginning to feel good and have strong hope that the effects will continue  to build.

I had took Celexa (40 mg.) only a few years back and it did not do much for me.  So, if you continue to suffer from depression, keep trying until you find the correct med for you...it's worth it.  

As far as weight gain, too early to tell, however, I really am not  aware of  an antidepressant that doesn't result in some weight gain, just another side effect...I started a high protien diet the day I started Celexa to try to starve off the weight gain.

Don't give up...there is hope and it just takes time to find the best one for you.
1192491 tn?1265035429
Hi, I have been on both separately and now I am taking them together, 300 mg. a day of Effexor and 20 mg. Celexa and 30 mg. of Risperdal  The Effexor by far is better to treat depression in my experence but it is a brutal withdrawal.  The Celexa alone did nothing for me but together I am responding very good.  If it were me, I would try the Celexa first and if that doesn't help go for the Effexor or on of the other antidepressants that are available till you find what works best for you.  Good luck, Jude
Avatar universal
I've been on Celexa for 7 years (40 mgs) and the worst side-effect for me is weight gain. Still, I would not let my experience scare you off because not everybody seems to gain weight on Celexa.

As far as minimizing depression, Celexa did the trick for me.

Before that, I was on Zoloft which also worked great for me for 5 yrs, but then it started not to work as well, so my Doc put me on Celexa instead.

The thing that I like about Celexa (for me) is that it doesn't make me dizzy or anything like that. Just tired.

Also, Celexa stays in your system for around 37 hours (I heard) but in a slower way, so the medicine seems to be spread out for longer periods, and thus (for me) it does not cause any weird side-effects.

Good luck
Avatar universal
oh, btw, CELAXA is just another name for the "citalopram" you had mentioned.
Avatar universal
My DR. Perscribed effxor for hot flashes.I am unable to take hormone therapy. I was on effexor for 3 months. I became dislocated from my body.the side effects were horrible, and when I tried to stop I was in a state that required the help of my entire famly. I would rather burn up than to induce myself with chemical mental illness.
Avatar universal
Effexor worked wonders for me, but I lost my insurance and can't afford it.  So I've been taking Lexapro, now I can't get samples of the Lexapro so I don't know what to take, thinking about Celexa?
Avatar universal
Effexor withdrawal made my withdrawal from lorazepam seem like a walk in the park. 8 months on over 3 months to get off not a very good trade off.
1912115 tn?1322147233
switched to effexor after long term Citalopram use. Dumb. Effexor has horrendous side effets from rashes to chills, nausea, agitation etc. Only been on Effexor for a very short time and switched back today, will see MD in the morning.

Avatar universal
I have been on Citalopram (40mg) for over a year now, and have seen no weight gain. I know that Elavil (Amnitryptiline) does cause significant weight gain, as I was on that for close to 5 years.
Avatar universal
I have been taking celexa (citalopram 40mg) for a year now. It was prescribed for hot flashes due to my hysterectomy, and the fact that I am a high cancer risk patient and can not take hormone replacement. I have experienced no side effects from this med at all, not even weight gain which seems common in quite a few patients, and it has worked quite well.

I also have chronic pain, due to being hit by a car several years ago. My doctor says that depression is one of the major symptoms of chronic pain and says he wants to take care of it before it happens. He recently added Effexor XR (Venlafaxine 37.5 mg) to the long list of medications I am currently on. I am a bit concerned about taking both the celexa and effexor together.

Much of the information I have located about these two medications being taken together has not been encouraging. I am also on Elevil and Ambien for insomnia, but am going to stop taking the Elevil, as it causes significant weight gain, and does not seem like a safe medication to take with the effexor.

I have seen one other person in this forum that is on the celexa/venlafaxine combo, and their comments are positive, but I would like to hear from other people, as well.

I have not started the venlafaxine as of yet because I am so nervous about combining the two. I want to follow my doctor's orders, but am concerned that this is not a safe combination. I know that the doctor would know better than me, but I just can't get it out of my mind.

So if there are any other people on this combo please let me know the results.

Avatar universal
I have serious body pain which has caused some depression.  I asked my doc adn she gave me Effexor.  I took half of a 75 mg pill.  By that afternoon I was in the hospital ER with my blood pressure at 195 / 115, horrible headache, sick to my stomach and my heart felt like it was in a race.  She has now prescribed generic Celexa and I am really worried the same thing will happen.   It scared the crap out of me not to mention I felt like heck and I don't want to go thru that again.Not sure I want to even try another anti depressant.
Avatar universal
I, personally, took Citalopram starting Feb/2012... in May I had 2 suicide attempts, within days of each other. Called my doc, got off that right away. I had a very bad reaction to it. I also gained 20lbs while on it... which did not help the depression at all!
Just my personal experience though.
16156158 tn?1445738875
In addition to major depression (and anxiety due to depression), I suffer from ADHD and am prescribed Adderall 30mg tablets 2x daily along with Effexor 100mg tablet and Clonopin 1mg tablet 3x daily. I began Effexor 100mg tablets twice a day roughly 3 months ago. The first week or two I was manic. Heart racing, sweats and insomnia exacerbated. I told my doctor and he said take one in the morning only. I trust him as he suffers from major depressive disorder like me. One did in fact work just fine. The Adderall I take for college (I’m on the 10 year plan. One bad decision or lack thereof after another slowed my academic, social et al progression). More than likely will continue Adderall once I have a career as it does quell my wondering mind. Moreover, Adderall helps my goal of graduating with a bachelors from a prestigious university this semester (finally!!!).
The Effexor 100mg tablet once a day has DONE WONDERS FOR MY LIFE. It took my mind and body a good month no longer feel the mania/high/jitters. I am stable with it now but still have that "black cloud" over my head since I was 4 or 5 (I'm a 28 year old man). Effexor, if you can stick to it for a week or two, let your body and mind adjust, it MAY work for you. Men, your best buddy “down there” may not stand to attention when called upon for the first month. One month of sexual abstinence served me well since my exgirlfriend’s sex drive was markedly higher than most women.
Currently, I am going through a stronger bout of depression due to our painful breakup and asked my doctor to give me something to complement the Effexor 100mg. An added boost to my energy since depression confines me to my bed; and long bouts (weeks, months and even years) continuous depression like mourning over this break up could have resurrected my old “hermit” ways. Therefore, he has prescribed me Celexa and I haven't filled it out at the pharmacy yet, and do not remember off hand what mg. Effexor and Celexa work differently. So, I am hoping this bombardment of neurochemicals will aid in my depression. My main goal is graduating college while staying clean off drugs.
ADDERALL does have a comedown once it wears off and sometimes can make it difficult to sleep. That’s where the Clonopins come in handy. Trazadone, helps me sleep as well. Most effective sleep concoction for myself is two OTC melatonin tablets, Trazadone and one 1mg Clonopin. I have trouble sleeping due to negative thoughts welcoming me at bedtime. In my recent past, I used drugs to self-medicate. Marijuana to Heroin. Formerly, heroin posed two win-win options: I could get real high OR I could die. Not so obvious to the depressive, that line of thinking epitomized delusional. Antidepressants coupled with a good support system, i.e. doctor you like, family/friends, venting on the internet or private journal, etc. currently allows this purge of my experience with depression written sober.
CLONOPINS/Xanax I have taken continuously for a year plus and sometimes would go a month without having any. As a former heroin user, benzos do not have strong sedative effects. Not to mention I have generalized anxiety disorder, and anxiety rears its face whether I’m on many drugs, prescribed or otherwise, or sober. Never experienced benzo withdrawal however. BENZO WITHDRAWAL is a documented, potentially FATAL condition. So, don’t stop cold turkey. I just got lucky I guess. Truthfully, prior to my antidepressant Effexor and abusing drugs to cope, death never a deterrent. On some days, it still isn’t. Perhaps we who battle depression have an innate death wish. A death wish actively pursued by attempting suicide or passively allowed by mindful negligence. Examples of passively allowing suicide: popping one too many pills, combining alcohol WITH ANYTHING, turning to street drugs, not wearing a seatbelt on a snow covered, icy day where black ice layers the road as if the demons of depression taunt you with 4 lanes of high speed, blaze of glory potential death: A darker form of the “yellow brick road” where death not home intended destination… you get the gist.
EFFEXOR, when I stopped taking it for two days, crying spells and overwhelming depression overcame me. I will never do that again. At least with an Adderall comedown, you’re not praying for a benevolent bullet from an all knowing sniper to relieve you. And Adderall comedowns intense, especially if binged on and the medication abused. I’ve had my 2 day binges cramming for exams because I procrastinated. Depression does that to us too; it places a voice in our head, “Who cares about accomplishing x, y and z. Death eminent for us all and probability that God’s surefire go-to remedy for life and all its woes is death, sadly visiting many depressives sooner than the “Normals.”
Know that we have abnormal brains, most likely born with and manifests from psychological/physical trauma or drug abuse. Know that the “Normals” appear to have less to deal with so their triumphs and successes seem trivial to the depressive. Know they possess only the ability to look at life and problems naivety fostered by infrequent sadness like mourning as opposed to clinical depression. Know that we may appear or in fact be pessimists at times, we serve as voices of caution and well thought out reason to “Normals” blindly leaping into situations. Their youthful ignorance a constant companion, our adherence to step back and consider the bad unwavering. Know that we are not alone. You are not alone. Inconceivable losses to the “Normals” possibly commonplace to us. But unlike them, we take it on the jaw, wipe the sweat off our chests and march forward. For there may not be a worse day than today, a statement, proved by our continuing existence, wholeheartedly false.  
15319066 tn?1463495105
yes i had the same experience, not sure if i want to ever deal with this again after coming off, but depression is almost life debilitating right now for me. Cant socialize, not even go to church ,so whats the trade off you have to wonder!
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