DESCRIPTION / DEFINITIONS: Celexa® (citalopram hydrobromide) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

ABUSE: Celexa is a drug prescribed for the treatment of depression.

ADDICTION / DEPENDENCE: Half life and metabolism, Black Box Warning.

SIDE EFFECTS: Respiratory depression (see list below).

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea (see list below).

TREATMENT: Medical detoxification.



Celexa® (citalopram hydrobromide) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (“SSRI”). Although there are no medical tests to determine if a person has insufficient serotonin, SSRI drugs like Celexa increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. According to its label, “The mechanism of action of citalopram HBr as an antidepressant is presumed to be linked to potentiation of serotonergic activity in the central nervous system.”



Celexa is a drug prescribed for the treatment of depression.





The biological half life of a substance is the time it takes for a drug to lose half of its pharmacologic activity. This is significant because it affects how soon withdrawal symptoms may appear.

The half life of Celexa is 35 hours.

Celexa is mainly metabolized through the P450 pathway in the liver and the enzymes primarily handling the metabolism are CYP3A4 and CYP2C19.

The CYP enzymes are the major enzymes involved in drug metabolism, and since many drugs may increase or decrease the activity of various CYP isozymes, this is a major source of adverse drug interactions, since changes in CYP enzyme activity may affect the metabolism and clearance of various drugs. For example, if one drug inhibits the CYP-mediated metabolism of another drug, the second drug may accumulate within the body to toxic levels, possibly causing an overdose.



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that some drugs pose very serious risks and have required these drugs have what is called a black box warning. Celexa has a black box warning. Here is the warning.

WARNING: Suicidality and Antidepressant DrugsAntidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of Celexa or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Celexa is not approved for use in pediatric patients.

(See WARNINGS: Clinical Worsening and Suicide Risk, PRECAUTIONS: Information for Patients, and PRECAUTIONS: Pediatric Use.)



The following information is taken from the Celexa label:

  • abnormal coordination
  • abnormal gait
  • abnormal glucose tolerance
  • acne
  • acute renal failure
  • aggravated depression
  • aggressive reaction
  • alcohol intolerance
  • allergic reaction
  • alopecia (loss of hair)
  • Amenorrhea (menstruation not happening)
  • amnesia
  • anemia
  • angina pectoris (chest pains)
  • apathy
  • Arthritis
  • asthma
  • ataxia (lack of muscle control)
  • breast enlargement
  • breast pain
  • bronchitis
  • bursitis
  • cardiac arrest
  • cardiac failure
  • cataract
  • catatonic reaction
  • cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
  • chest pain
  • coagulation disorder
  • colitis
  • confusion
  • conjunctivitis (redness in the eye)
  • coughing
  • decreased weight
  • dehydration
  • delirium
  • delusion
  • depersonalization
  • depression
  • dermatitis (skin irritation)
  • diverticulitis
  • drug dependence
  • dry eyes
  • duodenal ulcer
  • dysphagia (swallowing difficulty)
  • dyspnea (breathing difficulty)
  • eczema
  • edema
  • eructation (belching)
  • euphoria
  • extrasystoles (contraction of heart chamber)
  • eye pain
  • flatulence
  • flushing
  • gastric ulcer
  • gastritis
  • gastroenteritis (stomach and intestinal upset)
  • gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux)
  • gastrointestinal hemorrhage
  • gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)
  • glaucoma
  • goiter (enlarged thyroid)
  • grand mal convulsions
  • gynecomastia (enlarged men’s breasts)
  • hallucination
  • hayfever
  • hemolytic anemia
  • hemorrhoids
  • hepatitis
  • hiccups
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • hypertonia (excessive tension)
  • hypoglycemia
  • hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • hypothyroidism (low thyroid)
  • impaired concentration
  • increased appetite
  • increased libido
  • increased weight.
  • influenza-like symptoms
  • involuntary muscle contractions
  • jaundice
  • laryngitis
  • leg cramps
  • leukocytosis (increase in white blood cells)
  • lymphadenopathy (lymph node disease)
  • migraine
  • muscle weakness
  • myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • myocardial ischemia (loss of oxygen to heart)
  • neuralgia
  • obesity
  • osteoporosis (bone disease)
  • pancreatitis
  • panic reaction
  • paranoid reaction
  • paresthesia (tingling or burning sensation)
  • phlebitis
  • pneumonia
  • polyuria (excessive urine)
  • postural hypotension (low blood pressure when standing)
  • priapism (penis erection problem)
  • pruritus (intensive itchiness)
  • psychosis
  • psychotic depression
  • pulmonary embolism (blood blockage in lungs)
  • purpura (purple blotches)
  • rash
  • rectal hemorrhage
  • renal pain
  • saliva increased
  • serotonin syndrome
  • skeletal pain
  • skin discoloration
  • spontaneous abortion
  • stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth)
  • stupor
  • suicide attempt
  • syncope (fainting)
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • taste perversion
  • teeth grinding
  • thirst
  • thrombosis (blood clots)
  • tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • urinary incontinence
  • urinary retention
  • vaginal hemorrhage
  • vertigo



Celexa is a highly addictive drug. Users of Celexa for a time are likely to become either dependent on or addicted to the drug. If someone is dependent on a drug they will experience withdrawal symptoms. They normally continue taking the drug because they don’t want to experience withdrawal symptoms. Here are some of the Celexa withdrawal symptoms:

  • agitation
  • confusion
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • dreams, including vivid dreams
  • drowsiness
  • electric shock-like sensations
  • fatigue/malaise
  • feelings of being hot or cold
  • feelings of unreality
  • flatulence
  • flu-like feelings
  • headache
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • muscle spasms
  • nausea
  • other strange tingling or painful sensations
  • sweating
  • tremor



Withdrawal from Celexa should only be done under the care of a health practitioner. The safest way is to withdraw at an inpatient medical detox facility with a protocol that includes hydration, vitamins and supplements for biological balancing. Call us to talk to a Novus Detox Advisor.