The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug known as Celexa in 1998. Celexa is responsible for a number of side effects, ranging from nausea to irregular heartbeat. Citalopram is the generic name for this drug and it is one of many selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) prescribed for a variety of mental disorders. Citalopram was originally intended for use in people with major depression, but it is also used off-label for several other conditions. There is quite a bit of controversy related to the medication’s effectiveness. Some studies show that the drug is often used in patients that don’t stand to benefit from its usage. This has led to many patients suffering from adverse complications while receiving no relief from their condition.

HOW DOES CITALOPRAM WORK IN THE BODY?

SSRIs like citalopram work on a number of serotonin receptors in the brain, increasing the level of serotonin by blocking reabsorption of the neurotransmitter. Serotonin is extremely important for many of the body’s functions and can be found throughout the body, including the gastrointestinal system, the nervous system, and the cardiovascular system. Neurologists believe it has a large impact on emotion and well-being, so it can help improve mood in large enough concentrations. However, because serotonin is integral to so many processes in the body, altering its concentration can cause a huge number of complications with little predictability beforehand.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON CELEXA SIDE EFFECTS THAT PATIENTS HAVE HAD TO DEAL WITH?

Most SSRIs, including citalopram, can cause major sexual complications, like sexual dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, genital anesthesia, or loss of interest in sex. Even after citalopram is discontinued, these complications can remain. In some cases, they may be permanent. Citalopram can also weaken bones by preventing apoptosis in bone cells. Apoptosis is responsible for removing diseased cells from the body, so this bone fragility results from dead or dying cells gathering in bone tissue.

Citalopram can also cause motor or behavioral problems, such as tremors, uncontrollable shaking, anxiety or emotional disturbance. In rare cases, patients may hallucinate or suffer from extreme disorientation.

The most worrisome complication linked to citalopram, though, is its tendency to cause irregular heartbeats. In 2011, the FDA released information that confirmed this link, stating that higher doses of citalopram could result in a prolonged QT interval. The QT interval is the time the heart takes to complete an electrical cycle, and any disruption to this cycle can cause major problems, including sudden heart failure. In many cases, prolonged QT syndrome goes undetected until it results in major heart problems. In light of this information, the FDA believes any doses in excess of 40 milligrams a day should be considered a major risk to patients.

WHAT SHOULD A PATIENT DO IF THEY SUFFER FROM ANY CELEXA SIDE EFFECTS?

Anyone who takes citalopram and experiences major complications should consider speaking to an experienced Celexa lawyer. There may be the possibility of filing a suit against the drug’s manufacturers to help with medical treatments and other expenses.