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Coming off citalopram. :(

I've been on 20mg citalopram now for just over a year. I decided to come off about 3 weeks ago as I had

started to feel so much better, which I put down to a combination of counselling and the drug which really did do wonders for my depression. I actually hadn't realised quite how bad it was till I started taking citalopram and I felt normal!

I've come off it properly, one every 2 days, then half every 2, then quarter every 2/3 days. The whole process took about 3/4 months. Now I'm on nothing. The physical withdrawl hasn't been too bad. I've been dizzy and kinda sick for the first week or so and that's starting to go now. However I've been feeling awful emotionally. I feel just as bad as I did before I started the medication, worse even! I feel incompetent at my job and I've even started wondering if it's right for me, I'm a teacher and I've always loved my job. I'm becoming paranoid about my relationship and tearful at the slightest thing.

I feel very depressed and unstable if that makes sense. I almost feel suicidal. Is this normal?? I really need some reassurance that I won't need to be on this for the rest of my life. sad

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1213 Replies

  • Roma V

    I had been taking Cit 20 for just over 8 months and then on to the lower dosage of 10mg In Jan. Actually stopped taking Cit towards the end of May and then a few weeks later noticed I was getting a little short tempered with various things. Don't know if this was due to a lack of sleep. Then last week I started getting tearful.

    Went to my GP and explained what was going on. I am now back on Cit 10mg. for a few months. I had wondered if stopping the Cit 10 all of a sudden started the tears and short tempers, but the GP said I had done the right thing as the 10mg is the lowest of dosages.

    Before I started Cit 10 the first time round, the GP told me if I was to take Cit 20 every other day I would probably feel worse as that would give me an "up" one day and "down" the next. Hence going on to the lower dose. Do you think that could that be happening to you by what you said in your message about "coming off it properly".

    It may be an good idea to have a talk with you doctor as soon as possible.

    Remember you are not alone!!

    Good luck and take care


    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Roma V

  • pietaker

    I've been on Cit for abut 6 months and just came to the end of my pack and decided I felt a lot better and that I could just come off it straight away and get on with my life.

    But it hasn't been so easy, it in fact feels like I have gone backwards, Especially in the evenings I feel tearful and very alone, which for the past few months hasn't been the case! I keep meaning to go back to the doctors but it feels good to think I've come off it, the fact I was on it in the first place sanderns me. Which has now turned into a bit vicious circle!

    Do you think cutting down is a good idea? I feel what i have before was perfect! Though i know i can't rely on it forever!


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  • Sarahdee

    I was only citralapram 20mg fro a year, I hated being on them ive always been a strong minded person and didnt really want to go on them in the first place but they did work for me and got me out of a hole!!

    I decided 8 weeks ago that I was in a good place and just stopped taking them (yes any doctor would tell you this is the worst thing you could do) but I just needed to do it. My husband has been incredibly supportive and we threw them in the bin together. Well I had two - three weeks of absolute hell, irritable, dizzyness, itching and sleepless night but I got through it. It has now been 8 weeks since I stopped taking them and I can honestly say its the best thing ive ever done not only am I happier, I feel more in control actually have some energy and some emotions back.

    Now i've just got to loose the 18lbs I put on wile taking it.

    Its not easy and you can't do it on your own but I DID IT!!!!!!! :-)

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Sarahdee

  • Roma V

    Hi Sarahdee,

    It's good to hear that you are now ok, since stopping Cit.20.

    I stopped taking Cit.10 at the end of July and this time I don't remember any side effects. Obviously I wasn't quite ready the first time. My doctor has supported me all the way and I took on board what she advised.

    The only thing now is to lose the 2st I put on and I do think that was due to taking Cit. I developed a rather sweet tooth sad and I would often dip in the Chocolate spread (Nutella) jar and have a few heaped teaspoons. Now I am not bothered!!!

    Citalopram has done it's job to get me back to the person I was before getting ill.

    I am due to see the doctor fairly soon, just for a review and a chat. Thankfully she is a caring doctor!

    Coming off Cit. can be done, but I think it needs to be done gradually!!

    Wishing you well.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Roma V

  • Andydoc1

    Hiya everyone , have been on cit 10 mg for 5 weeks very little time I know ,but I have gained a stone , I haven't eaten any more or exercised less , but I feel a lot better in myself and really wan to try and stop takin this stuff ...... I know there can be side effects but as I've only been on it a short time does anyone think its gonna cause problems ?thanks

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Andydoc1

  • johnnymm1

    Hi guys. A few years ago I was on venlafaxine for a year following divorce and redundancy. I started getting my life on track and came off the drug for a year. I then started a Uni course (I'm 39), and started getting very anxious - that was a Sept 2011. At that time I started taking 20mg Citalopram. A few months ago I had a low period and my doctor increased my citalopram level to 40mg.

    It's now coming up to exam time and my memory is shocking. Even when in mid sentence I can forget what I was going to say, let alone study for an exam (2nd year sociology - I want to help people with mental health issues). Also when I look at a computer screen I start going into a trance and my vision goes blurry. Another thing that is getting me down is the weight I've put on since taking citalopram - about 2.5st. My doctor doesn't agree that my academic performance and weight are related to citalopram.

    I have had enough and want to come off the drug completely. I am beginning to think it is making my life worse!

    It is now Dec 10th and my exams start Jan 15th. Although I want to stop citalopram to help my memory, I am worried that the side effects of stopping it will interrupt my studying - Ahhh.

    Any suggestions welcomed and good luck to every one

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  • charisma

    Its quite a difficult thing to come off citalopram. Most doctors would disagree telling you they are not addictive. But they are, in as much as your brain becomes accustomed to having the drug. I have been on this drug for nearly 16 years and have tried on various occasions to stop taking them. The doctors tell you 'take one every other day' then 'one every 3 days' etc., etc., but this is totally wrong. I read a really interesting book about the seretonin syndrome..............which is the symptoms you get when you reduce or stop. Basically the best way to do it is to cut it down so slowly that it will take you months, not weeks to do. I'm, thinking about doing it soon myself. Start by shaving (with a knife or blade of some kind) a tiny amount off the tablet for at least two weeks (trying to ensure you shave off the same amount each time), then after two weeks shave off a little more, and so on until you have no tablet left. This should go on some time to make your brain get used to not having the chemical it has been used to having. I'm talking months here. That way, unless you do it too soon, you shouldnt notice too many effects. The emotional instability, anxiety etc., are typical symptoms of coming off the drug too quickly. Also I suffered from 'brain zaps' mainly during the night. A horrible feeling in your head but apparently not in any way dangerous. Citalopram is a superb drug............but most people would rather not be taking it for years on end. I do still suffer with anxiety (especially health anxiety!) but I dont feel I am depressed and havent been for years, but I felt for a while the drug had a hold on me. However as I said before I am going to give it a go again using the aforementioned can be done!! But anyone out there who only takes the drug for a few weeks or months shouldnt consider coming off it too soon as normally you would need to be on it at least 6 months to a year to get the full effect. I put on weight too by the way - about a stone and a half and thats another thing the doctor is wrong about. I was told it wasnt the citalopram causing the weight gain!! Good luck to everyone!!!

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  • HIPT

    If you struggle to come off citalopram, it can be helpful to switch to fluoxetine initially (they have a similar mode of action), and then withdraw from those instead, as the withdrawal symptoms are much less pronounced for most people. Discuss this option with your GP.

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  • anonymous33

    Hi, I have been taking Citalopram for around 3 years now since having terrible anxiety and nightmares when my dad was dying in hospital. The tablets really helped but as time has gone on, I have noticed that I have memory loss and depression issues to name others. I am also a total nightmare to live with and am withdrawing from society and social environments. Not to mention the additional weight gain and paranoia.

    I have had a few attempts at stopping the tablets but each time I seem to plummet into desparation and/or get terrible eyeball rolling and dizziness/nausea. I have come to the conclusion that these tablets are pure evil and I so desperately want to come off them to return to normality.

    Is there anyone out there who would like to do this with me and be a 'weaning' buddy to provide support and to be able to talk and share how we are feeling over the weaning off process? I currently take 20mg but the doc has prescribed 20mg/10mg alternate tablets...I want to to go down to 10mg and 5mg and then none in the next 2-3 months.....


    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to anonymous33

  • Whatever

    I have been on 40mg Citalopram since August 2008 after being off work with stress. I hadn't realised just how awful I had been feeling until I started these and an added bonus was that it also treated my IBS.

    I have tried to cut down a few times but my IBS flares up again and I start getting short tempered because my tolerance is reduced.

    I really don't want to spend the rest of my life on this medication as I believe it has reduced my immunity (I now catch colds that I never did before, I'm 53) and I can't believe that long term use does not have any side effects.

    Having read on this sight about fluoxetine I am going to speak to my GP about it. I find it a bit scarey being on 40mg as so many people seem to be struggling to come off half that dose.

    I'll let you know what the GP says about fluoxetine.

    Good luck to everybody in their attempt to reduce/come off Citalopram.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to Whatever

  • hybabycakes

    I Googled coming off citalopram looking for advice and I came across flossie 221's post about someone to come off it with and I think that's a brilliant idea. I've been on the pesky drug for 7 years and I hate it. I started lowering my dose last week and I'm well up for going thru it with someone else. my email is xxx if anyone wants to get in touch.

    Emis Moderator comment: I have removed the email address as we do not publish these. If you want to get in touch directly please use the private messaging service.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to hybabycakes

  • linnyM1978

    Hi, I am having an awful time coming off the demon drug. I have been on it for 18 months, and feel that my

    depression is better and have decided to come off. I have tried this twice and both times have suffered dizziness, a spaced out feeling and been really low with a banging headache. The first time I tried I went from 20 mg to 10 mg and I felt awful after a week of doing it. This time I have tried to have 20 mg one day and 10 mg the next - again a week following this I have been awful - really tearful and everything is hopeless. How can I get off these tablets? Can you get off them? Whenever I speak to my GP he says that they are non addictive and I shouldnt be having any problems.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to linnyM1978

  • sam67

    Hi all,

    I've been on citilopram for about 5 years and take it for severe PMT. Due to complete lack of sex drive amongst other side affects I decided to stop taking it a couple of months ago. My doctor told me to cut down exactly how you have all described which initially went well. I am now in my second week of taking nothing and have never felt worse in my life.

    I am suffering from nausea, dizziness, bouts of tearfulness, fatigue and loads more symptoms that I'm struggling to cope with on a day to day basis.

    If soemone was to say that I had a wek to go of feeling like this I could cope but if its going to persist for months then I'm not sure what to do.

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to sam67

  • johnnymm1

    Hey guys. Hang in there. That's me off the devil drug that is citalopram. I feel loads better since my last post in December. The brain fog has gone, but still got a while to go with the weight it caused. It can be done. Stick in there and my thoughts are with you all. Cheers, John

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  • sazzyfrank

    I have been on Cit for about 6 years 10mg. the great news is it made me feel great took away all that angst and low mood. BUT I have gained about 2 stone and its made my IBS terrible. its wierd because i always saw Cit as a cure and would look for other reasons why i was getting bigger, having bad stomach. it was only when I started a serious diet and had lost nothing after 4 weeks (while my daughter on same diet lost ten pounds) that i started to research reasons. Theres no question its this horrible little drug and i am furious that my doctor never thought to see if Cit was a cause. over many many forums the same theme is coming thru, doctors fobbing off patients that Cit doesnt cause weight gain and there should be no withdrawal symptoms. there are thousands of patients out there contradicting this and doctors should get more educated if they are going to dish this nasty drug out. starting my slow withdrawal, so far ok but im sure i will crash soon. will update xxxx

    _ 0 votes F Report Share < reply to sazzyfrank

  • linnyM1978

    Hi Sazzyfrank, the weight gain is awful isnt it. I eat less now than before I started on the tabs and I am noticing that I am gradually gaining. I mentioned it to my GP who just said unfortunately it is a side effect. I can't wait to get off the demon drug. How are you getting on with your withdrawal?

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  • sazzyfrank

    hi linnyM. have no symptons so far on withdrawal but have taken half a tablet today as sudden stopping is not great apparently. plus the big crash can come a few days after stopping so im not assuming ok!. plan is to take half a tab every 3days for a week or so. but im also supplementing with vit E, omega oil and have ordered Clarocet, which is a good herbal alternative i understand and JNK which is mainly to kick start your liver function to get weight moving, apparently that may be why we put on weight, as liver slows right down. this is after extensive research on the internet as i am desperate to lose th weight. will let you know how it goes!

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  • Escapee

    Hello peeps, I've just joined to post in this thread. I have been on 20, then 30 mgs for a year, and my doctor and I decided that it may be the wrong thing to be taking about two weeks ago. He prescribed Sertraline, which I was to take a small initial dose of having stopped Citalopram. I noticed immediately that I felt much better, and because the Sertraline dose is taken in the morning, I forgot to take it on a couple of mornings last week, and took it at midday. It didn't knock me out as much as the Cit, but i felt more lethargic on it than off it. On the fifth day I felt fine, forgot to take the Sert, and at midday decided not to take it at all. Early days yet, but I've had no side effects that I can identify, feel loads better than I did, and I'm looking forward to life without the chemical cosh that has suppressed me for so long. I may turn into the incredible hulk in a few days, but I'm looking forward to finding out. We may all be different, and the reasons for being on the stuff in the first place will vary hugely. Our reactions to cold turkey may not be uniform either.

    Good luck all of you. I'll keep an eye on myself and this thread, to see if I have anything more to add.

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