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Citalopram is not an addictive substance. However, according to MedlinePlus, citalopram withdrawal symptoms may occur when taken off of this drug suddenly and if the dose is not decreased gradually.

How Long Do Citalopram Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Citalopram withdrawal symptoms may begin in a few days after stopping this medication and last for 1 to 2 weeks, although some people may experience these symptoms longer depending on their dose and duration on medication.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms will vary for every person. These symptoms for citalopram may include:

  • irritability
  • mood changes
  • dizziness
  • agitation
  • numbness
  • anxiety
  • tingling/electric shock-like sensations in the feet or hands
  • confusion
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • shaking
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • sweating

This may not be a complete list of withdrawal symptoms. You may experience other symptoms when taken off citalopram.


People who may experience citalopram withdrawal symptoms are those who stop taking this medication completely or abruptly without first consulting their medical provider. They will not have their dosage lowered gradually over time to successfully wean themselves from this drug to prevent or lessen symptoms of withdrawal.

Treatment Options

Treatment options will vary based on the types of withdrawal symptoms you may be experiencing when taken off citalopram. Speaking with your medical provider or a psychiatrist will allow a treatment and recovery plan to be developed based on your specific medical conditions and needs.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


Generic Name: Citalopram HBr

Brands: Celexa

Class: Antidepressant [Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)]

Availability: Prescription only

Molecular Formula: C20H22BrFN2O

Substance UNII: I1E9D14F36

What is Citalopram?

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) given as a prescription. It is the generic name of the trade name Celexa.

What is Citalopram Used For?

Citalopram is an antidepressant that is used to treat depression. When used as an antidepressant, it is designed to bring about better mental balance by improving a person’s mood by increasing the serotonin levels present in the brain.

During certain occasions, medical professionals may also prescribe this drug to treat other conditions such as alcoholism, eating disorders, social phobia (excessive interaction anxiety), panic disorders, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, according to MedlinePlus. This list of conditions that citalopram is prescribed for is not complete, as you should speak with a medical professional regarding additional uses. Since citalopram can be prescribed for conditions other than what it was originally approved for by the FDA, it is considered an off-label drug and has off-label uses.

How Does Citalopram Work?

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used to increase the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical created naturally by the body that helps with certain bodily functions, such as digestion and bowel movements. It is also believed that serotonin helps to regulate a person’s mood.

When serotonin levels are low, a person may experience a low mood and symptoms of depression. Citalopram prevents the nerve cells from reabsorbing the serotonin. By blocking this reabsorption, it helps to increase the levels of serotonin that are present for the brain. The higher serotonin levels available for the brain helps to improve the person’s mood.

How Long Does It Take for Citalopram to Work?

Citalopram can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks before a person starts to see noticeable results. It can be prescribed as a tablet or as a solution. It may be taken with or without food.

Do Not Use Citalopram If:

There are several situations where taking this medication may not be the right choice for a person.  According to the FDA, you should not use citalopram if having these conditions or experiencing these situations:

  • Taking MAOIs
  • After stopping treatment of MAOIs for 14 days
  • Concomitant use of pimozide
  • Having a hypersensitivity to citalopram or its inactive ingredients

Please understand that this list of contradictions may not be complete. There may possibly be other situations where starting the use of this drug is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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