While citalopram (brand name Celexa) is generally well-tolerated, there are some potential long-term side effects that can occur with its use. Some of the most common long-term side effects of citalopram include:
- Sexual problems: Citalopram can cause sexual side effects such as decreased libido, impotence, and difficulty achieving orgasm. These side effects can persist even after discontinuing the medication.
- Weight changes: Citalopram can cause weight changes, such as weight gain or loss, in some people. This side effect is usually mild, but in rare cases it can be significant.
- Dependence: Long-term use of citalopram can lead to physical and psychological dependence, particularly in people who have a history of substance abuse.
- Withdrawal symptoms: Discontinuing citalopram suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, headache, irritability, and flu-like symptoms. To minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms, citalopram should be gradually tapered off under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
- Persistent side effects: In some cases, citalopram can cause persistent side effects even after discontinuing the medication. For example, some people may experience persistent sexual dysfunction, weight changes, or cognitive problems.
- Increased risk of bone fractures: Long-term use of citalopram and other SSRIs has been associated with an increased risk of bone fractures, particularly in older women.
- Interference with other medications: Citalopram can interact with other medications and cause potentially serious side effects. For example, citalopram can interact with blood thinners and increase the risk of bleeding, or with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and cause serotonin syndrome.
It’s important to note that these long-term side effects are relatively rare and most people do not experience any serious side effects when taking citalopram for an extended period of time. However, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. Regular monitoring of your symptoms and medications can help to minimize the risk of long-term side effects when taking citalopram.