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Old 06.11.2015, 19:41
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Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

The OH was recently prescribed these, but they've knocked him for a loop with so many side effects he stopped taking them after 3 days. He's still feeling the effects days later. Has anyone else tried these and what success or otherwise have you had with them.
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Old 06.11.2015, 21:04
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

As with all antidepressants, side effects can be quite strong at the beginning, and decrease then disappear with time. You need at least 3 weeks to start noticing the benefits from an antidepressant.

I'm not taking this one but another one from the same group, by the way.
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Old 06.11.2015, 21:11
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

A couple of people in my family have been on it with no problems for several years. They take 20 mg/day.

It's possible that 20mg is too high a dose for your husband to start with. I've never taken it, so I can't say for sure, but when i started taking zoloft, i had a lot of trouble with my stomach and a lot of trouble staying awake. I just halved my dose and stayed there for a week or so. My psych put me on zoloft because i could start out at a low dose and move up.

I know that citalopram is one of these one size fits all things, though. Has your OH talked to his doctor?

When this stuff works it's great.....just doesn't work for everyone. Hope he feels better soon.
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Old 06.11.2015, 21:32
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

Thank you both.

Doctor said around 10 days for him to start feeling the benefits, but the side effects didn't let him get that far. Waiting for them to wear off and then he may try again on a half dose (10mg) and see if he can tolerate that.
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Old 06.11.2015, 21:40
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

At the beginning, I felt very bad. I persisted and I can say the benefits are very high. I have no ocd symptoms since I take this. It has been a very long time now. I tried to reduce the mg. thinking I should get off them but the symptoms came back so so badly...

I have to take them for life. I don't feel any symptoms from the pills, nor from the syndrome. I can have a normal life and no one can even imagine that I have this.

Hang in there! It will take a few days/weeks and get so much better.
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Old 06.11.2015, 23:23
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

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Thank you both.

Doctor said around 10 days for him to start feeling the benefits, but the side effects didn't let him get that far. Waiting for them to wear off and then he may try again on a half dose (10mg) and see if he can tolerate that.

He might even have to start at 5. I think i started at 1/8 my current dose. But it's really been worth it.
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Old 06.11.2015, 23:45
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

Previous answers all good, but an interesting point worth bearing in mind is that something like 75% of people who, having been using one SSRI without it really doing the job, are then switched to another, find that the replacement works much better.

So this demonstrates not only that all SSRIs are not equal in their efficacy, bit also suggests that side effects can be mitigated against by switching to another which a doctor may think of as nearly equivalent.

I've used citalopram in the past, but they failed to work well enough for some problems that stayed a couple of years back, so I was switched to an SNRI, which can help with the other main neurotransmitters as well as the seratonin.

Made a huge difference for me.
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Old 07.11.2015, 00:19
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

Did you make up the 75% too?
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Old 07.11.2015, 10:10
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

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Did you make up the 75% too?
I thought that saying "something like" made that pretty clear; didn't you?

I'm paraphrasing what I've heard from doctors (one expert in particular), and they too would not be able to quote precise numbers, as these things are derived from population studies which can never be that precise.
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Old 07.11.2015, 14:38
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

My first ever antidepressant was Citalopram. I also had to stop taking it after 3 days. I slept all the time, in the most uncomfortable positions - I would go and sit down in an arm chair and wake up five hours later feeling very stiff, would go to the bathroom and have a drink then I'd fall asleep again.

My GP (this was in the UK), didn't try reducing the dosage or anything, they just put me on something else.

I was later told (by a friend in the UK whose husband worked in psychotherapy) that in the UK Citalropram is nearly always prescribed initially for depression, because it's the cheapest antidepressant. I have to say personal experience bore this out - I have since known several people in the UK to be prescribed antidepressants, and they all started out on Citalopram and then had to switch to something else due to the side-effects.

Although of course antidepressants take a while to kick in, my experience is that it can take some time to find the 'right' antidepressant for an individual condition.

I've lost count of all the antidepressants they've tried on me. I've been on antidepressants since 2005, and it's only really been in the last few years that we seem to have found a combination of treatments which works for me. My psychiatrist (who has sadly moved to Geneva) was very good at explaining to me why she wanted to make a change and what the treatment she wanted to try was supposed to tackle. For example, I now take 300mg of Trittico (among other things), which is an antidepressant which focusses particularly on the anxiety symptoms, and also has a useful side effect of helping prevent migraines, which I suffer from. My neurologist had gone through all of the other preventative treatments and wanted to try an antidepressant, and at the same time my psychiatrist wanted to change my treatment, so this is a good solution for me.
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Old 07.11.2015, 16:00
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

Thank you everyone. We have to think about it before he tries again. When the effects hit him on the third day they basically made him unable to function at work pretty much as he got confused and couldn't concentrate on what he was doing. Add to that the insomnia, headache and excrutiating back pain and that was just too much. Simply couldn't/didn't want to take them any more. As he also has a 150km round trip driving to/from the office that's not the sort of state he wants to be in.

May try some herbal/homeopathic stuff instead too. Nux vomeca is supposed to be good for relieving stress and he also picked up some Bachs stress pills today when we were over in Pontarliar. So may give one of them a go and see if they help without giving him the side effects.

Don't really want him to have to take anti-depressants for the rest of his life. He's already on medication for other things and we know he'll have to start taking other pills for another neurological problem eventually too. I always worry that too many pills just make things worse.
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Old 07.11.2015, 18:42
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

I have taken it with No problems until stopping when I got the weirdest 'brain zaps' and giddiness. I also took escitolapram (a specific form of citalopram) which meant I could take half the dose and get the same biological effect - my psych put me on this instead of citalopram when I suffered from the (well known) side effects of these antidepressants.
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Old 07.11.2015, 20:15
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

I have taken citalopram for a period on two occasions. I didn't have any side effect. But I stopped taking It too fast and experiences dizziness and woo feelings.
However my father was prescribed it and it made his hyper, unable to sleep and suffering hallucinations. This was after a very short period of time. If I remember rightly almost immediately after taking it. He stopped taking it after a period of a Day or two and was fine.
It sounds like it's not the right drug for your husband and he should go back to his doctor and ask for something else.
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Old 07.11.2015, 21:08
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects

Is he being supervised by a psychiatrist? Effects on sleep is one of the main problems (although it may be a desired effect for some)....

I would be worried about taking it when he needs to drive that far... Definitely don't combine it with alcohol and driving or operating machinery.

Usually it is given with a very small dose to start (quarter or half a tablet)... It is quite effective but a bit like a sledgehammer... Works but also has side effects...

Either way, he should not be stopping/starting without proper supervision... And regular checkups...rather than stopping immediately, in my opinion he should have checked with the doctor what options he has to step down to a lower dose and see how it goes, or to take another option.

He should not self-medicate or mix herbals with the prescribed meds.. Some herbals also have powerful effects and can cause their own range of problems. Do not assume because it's 'herbal' or 'natural' it will be less dangerous/effective. Herbals can also have inconsistent dosage whereas the pure form of the drug should give and extremely consistent dosage.

The doctor 'in theory' should have talked him through the side effects and possible options. Two of my friends had very nasty side effects when stopping these sorts of medications suddenly for their own reasons, they need to be taken seriously.

The mainstream evidence is that depression should be treated with a combination of some sort of 'talking' therapy and medication. Medication should not be taken lightly and it is his choice whether to take it or not.

However, having lost so far three friends to depression and anxiety that eventually led to suicide, I would say it's not something to be taken lightly, and important that you consider the medication just as you would any other...important treatment for significant illness. Even if you don't like 'the idea' of him taking medication, you might need to think about how you will support him either way...if he does need long-term medication it would be good if you could be supportive of that...and understand the reasons why and what you expect from the treatment..

Depression in my understanding and experience is a physiological/brain chemistry reaction to long-term and severe stress. It is not controlled by conscious choice, although we can make some lifestyle choices that can make it better or worse...

and I definitely recommend this is done in consultation with a psychiatrist/psychotherapist who has an intimate understanding of the way the medications work...even if the first point of call is the 'house doctor'...
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Old 07.11.2015, 21:26
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

Yep. The first two-three weeks are pretty awful, but they really are worth persevering. How much is because of the chemical changes in your brain and how much is the psychological effect (I am on ADs so should feel better) I don't know.
Also, everytime your dose in increased or decreased or stopped there are commonly side-effects. This is normal.
Btw, good for him for starting and getting help!
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Old 07.11.2015, 21:40
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects

[QUOTE

and I definitely recommend this is done in consultation with a psychiatrist/psychotherapist who has an intimate understanding of the way the medications work...even if the first point of call is the 'house doctor'...[/QUOTE]

Agree. The side effects you have described for OH don't seem OK. Personally, there can be many reasons for it not being the right prescription. In my case several years ago, it was caught for example that I have RLS (restless legs syndrome- RLS), which just made the initial anti-depressant prescription useless, as it would only aggravate RLS. So, basically I didn't sleep - not great in dealing with reactive depression.

With good psychiatric support, was able to identify which anti-depressants helped.
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Old 08.11.2015, 09:02
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

No, no psychiatrist involved at present. Maybe something else we need to consider.

Certainly not mixing the herbal with the citalopram, it will be one or the other. Just want to see if the herbal will help instead. He has used herbal remedies before for other things with good results so hoping they may work this time too.
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Old 08.11.2015, 12:40
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

Sorry to hear about your husband's difficulties, Medea. And as completely cliché as it sounds, I would like to stress to both you and him that you are definitely not alone in this.

I was originally going to send this as a PM, but decided to stick my neck out and post it here in order to make this information available to more people.

There is a very large and very, very comprehensive online forum called www.crazyboards.org with sub forums on all sorts of illnesses (depression, OCD, social phobias, bipolar, schizphrenia, and more). Lots of subforums are there about managing multiple medications at once, dealing with relationship issues arising from illness, the benefits of therapy vs. medication etc. etc. etc.. Perhaps you'd be able to find more useful information there beyond what you'd gather from the (admittedly small) EF community.

As to seeing a psychiatrist: why not? A GP has very little actual experience in diagnosing and managing psychiatric problems. As you have seen yourself and others here have confirmed, their default first reaction seems to be to prescribe the cheapest and most common anti-depressant, and then "wait and see what happens". From what I understand, many people with a range of psychiatric illnesses who present themselves to their GP are almost always initially diagnosed as being depressed and prescribed anti-depressants. In reality, they might have anxiety, or bipolar disorder, be on the edge of a burnout, or suffer from host of other issues. But a GP sees someone in distress, calls them depressed, and then sends them on their merry (or I guess not so merry) way. It's not due to negligence or laziness, but most GPs simply aren't qualified to make a proper differential diagnosis, and aren't up-to date on psychiatric medications or treatment options. EDIT: They also have NO TIME. GPs are stretched to the limit in the healthcare system, and there's a limit to what they can do in a 10-15 minute time period.

I think a psychiatrist might be a good option to consider if you'd like a better diagnosis, a doctor who has time to listen, as well as understand from their own clinical experience both the pros and cons of various medications. They would also have an idea if the problems result from a chemical imbalance, or from external events (stressful job, feeling socially isolated due to language barriers, etc.). Treatment might be time off work, home visits from a social worker, Ayurvedic massage (for real!), referral to a support group for people with the same problems, or of course medication. The system here does seem to try to find the root of the problem and treat the person globally, as opposed to just prescribing a few pills.

H.

Last edited by HeatherM; 08.11.2015 at 16:56. Reason: Added bit sticking up for GPs. They do a great job.
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Old 09.11.2015, 10:29
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

Hang in there and keep trying to find something that works, you aren't alone as about 50% will have it or be facing it in a close relative.

I had written a long post and lost it, but Swisspea and HeatherM both nailed it. To add emphasis, if it helps:

1. Do get a Psychiatrist and ongoing close supervision of meds. Doctor/GP doesn't quite cut it (there are exceptions).

2. some doctors forgot/don't know to increase dose gradually to the full 20mg per day (yours did, good, but still...). This is to manage any intolerance (which is not uncommon on Citalopram). They should have warned of the danger of sudden cessation of any SSRI. Oh and ongoing effects is due to its half life of around 36hrs (dont quote me) means it may take a week or so to flush fully from your system.

3. # 2 lends support to 1. But when there is a lot of stress, we don't retain it so well. So don't necessarily blame the doctor...

4. Citalopram is an SSRI used for depression, and also helps with OCD, anxiety. It can also result in a big improvement in the back pain (one leads to other). It - and all SSRIs - has side effects - most common is dry mouth and sexual dysfunctions of various kinds (none good).

5. yes, lots of good forums out there, and shit ones. Ideal is to find one well moderated by actual doctors/professionals. Well moderated ones include this one - although supportive it is also critical of drugs, although not quite anti. http://survivingantidepressants.org/ - the name is a clue.

6. they are right when they say do more than just expect the drug to solve it all. exercise, sleep, diet, good social support, therapy, laughter, a healthy routine, it all helps, a lot. We are not just chemistry.

6. ... but Brain chemistry is delicate. So, pay attention in general if you are on the generic or original and any differences you experience and keep you doctor informed. Occasionally generics aren't up to scratch (active ingredients the same, but the other compounds and even they way the tabs are pressed and coated has an effect) ...Interested readers can check out the Wellbutrin / Bupropion in 300mg strength, and FDA guesstimates. shudder.

So yeah, do your reading, get a good doctor./Psychiatrist
Do be willing to change your life around a little if you want different results. You know the saying.

And SSRIs like Citalopram are old. The newer antidepressants act on both the Serotonin AND dopamine systems, and are getting better, but are still hit and miss unfortunately.

Its a difficult journey, and I wish you both well. Avante!

Last edited by alemap; 09.11.2015 at 10:44. Reason: typos! and factual error on a detail i missed - the doctor did start on low dose
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Old 09.11.2015, 12:24
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Re: Citalopram - anyone used it/suffered from side effects?

Thanks HeatherM - I checked out www.crazyboards.org - its hilairous - love it!
Who knew there is support out there that is great at taking the piss ? :-)

In it is a good reminder to get out those lights, and check sleeping habits - for those who experience that sluggish horrible winter feeling called S.A.D.

...late autumn for me is the Bear time, I get sleepier and hungrier - I feel like a bear ready to go into hibernation. At work, it seems about 1/4 to 1/3 of people seem to report some additional sluggishness around this time of year (based on chats around the coffee machine which gets increasingly more visits), but mostly sub-clinical I suspect

Fortunately I have picked up a few good swiss habits, like going up into the mountains and sunshine to get above the perpetual Zurich fog. as well as the fun of skiing, its a great reminder how glorious life is in this mountain state!

In the meantime, I am not minding the unusually sunny Autumn we're having. yes another glorious day out there!

Last edited by alemap; 09.11.2015 at 12:25. Reason: typo
 




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