Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

Has anyone successfully come off citalopram?

(38 Posts)
duffybeatmetoit Sat 13-Aug-11 23:28:18

My DH has been on it for 3 years but has been wanting to come off it for over a year but not getting much support from GP - think it's all too easy just to issue a repeat prescription. We know several people on it but none have managed to come off it successfully and are beginning to think it will never happen. GP now suggesting I take it for menopausal symptoms but I don't want to end up on them permanently. DH says that one zombie in the family is more than enough. Has anyone got experience of actually getting off it and how did you do it?

DaveGrohlsgirl Sat 13-Aug-11 23:31:28

Yes me!!
I took citalopram the last time for 2 years.
Get your DH to go to the doctors to discuss reducing the amount he is taking.
It is perfectly possible to come off as long as it is managed carefully by the GP and the patient.
Good luck

Willowisp Sun 14-Aug-11 10:30:41

I did it too - took me 4 mths. I went from 40 to 20 to 10 to 5 mg. I experienced what felt like electric shocks in my head. I started taking 5 http, which you can buy from holland & Barrett - don't take them with ad's though, & I found them so much better.

Good luck for your Dh. I think AD's are evil, turned me into a zombie.

Willowisp Sun 14-Aug-11 10:31:15

5 htp, not http !

LawrieMarlow Sun 14-Aug-11 10:40:13

I came off citalopram about 18 months ago. The whole process probably took about 9 months, maybe longer. I was on 40mg, went down to 20mg quite quickly and then more slowly to 10mg and very slowly from that.

Without having had ADs I would quite possibly have killed myself so don't see them as bad. I did want to stop taking them though. When I did it too quickly I was back on them again in a few months which made me feel worse.

duffybeatmetoit Sun 14-Aug-11 18:54:34

Thanks everyone for that feedback. DH has to go back to the GP before long so I will share your information with him. Hopefully this time (he last tried in January) the GP won't come out with it being the wrong time of year to wean yourself off.

mummmypirate Mon 15-Aug-11 10:02:52

Hi all, I'm weaning myself off it at the moment. After 9 months on 40mg, 1 month at 30mg and now day 6 of 20mg. First reduction was straightforward but this recent one is harder - very, very light-headed. I guess I just have to ride it out. Those that managed it, how long did your withdrawal symptoms last? Good luck to your DH Duffy.

Willowisp Mon 15-Aug-11 10:15:22

I recall the withdrawal, ie electric shocks in my head, probably took 2 weeks. The 5htp that I took, stopped me from feeling down & gave the feeling of light at the end of the tunnel.

I don't think depression can ever truly go away though until you get to the root of the problem - therapy got me out of my darkness.

BustyStClaire Mon 15-Aug-11 16:37:09

I have been given these to help with my IBS, Doc made me aware they were AD, I saw her yesterday & she has doubled the dose to 40mg, I was ok with this until I stumbled upon this thread!! Am I going to be addicted? (And btw would the dose increase cause a headache)

Ormirian Mon 15-Aug-11 16:39:53

Stopped taking them 2 months ago after 3 years. It was dreadful but I knew it would be so I just stuck it out. Feeling about 90% OK now.

I had tried twice before. Once cold turkey and I have up because I didn't know how bad it would be. Second time I did it 'properly' but still ended up with the symptoms and mood swings just over a longer period of time. So I took the plunge this time.

Ormirian Mon 15-Aug-11 16:41:25

Incidentally my gp came out with the classic 'oh don't worry about coming off them too much! Some people stay on them for life' hmm

racingheart Mon 15-Aug-11 22:25:39


I was just going to post on this. I've read about people getting really emotional when they come off them - but that's why I went on them in the first place! So if that's what happens, how do you know the difference between just feeling bad again because you're back to square one, and a withdrawal symptom that will pass?

I'm thinking of coming off them, because whatever the doc says, they have had an impact on me physically. I'm 20lbs heavier over the last year, very sluggish and sleepy. Also, my ankles have started to swell up. But mentally, they've worked very well. I get severe depression and this drug has cured it better than any other meds I've tried.

Would love to hear from people who have come off it well, especially want to know - did you lose the weight you'd gained?

Ormirian Tue 16-Aug-11 09:59:43

"I'm 20lbs heavier over the last year, very sluggish and sleepy"

Yep! me too. I am like a fucking hibernating mammoth atm. I hate it sad So far no change in fact I am more sleepy but I am hoping it will improve. I could sleep on the central reservation of the M4 atm.

strawberry17 Tue 16-Aug-11 12:27:21

Cold turkey and alternate day thing are really bad ways to come off antidepressants, I've had years of experience of trying and failing to come off this medication and now suceeding by tapering slowly off liquid prozac. In my years of experience doctors are pretty rubbish at getting people off antidepressants which is why so many people give up when the find they can't get off them. I can really reccomend this book:

and I have also written a blog about this very subject:

Ormirian Tue 16-Aug-11 13:06:17

strawberry - many thanks for the recommendation and the link to your blog.

What makes me so cross is that no-one can give me a straight answer to 'how long will I have to put up with feeling like shit?'. This is the third time I have tried to stop taking cit and each time I have managed longer before running back to the drugs like a scalded cat. I've stuck it out now for 10 weeks approx - got over the initial head buzzes and dizziness, for the most part I am over the really dark moods and mood swings (TBH I was always a little unstable before I took them hence the need for them). But I am so so so tired - I have no energy, I could sleep all day and I have these huge dark circles under my eyes. Added to the fact I have put on about a stone since I started taking them, I am feeling quite horrible sad

I loved citalopram when I first took them as,unlike the seroxat I had used a few years before. I felt great on them and I had been in a very bad way beforehand. But I am having serious doubts about them now - should anyone be prescribing drugs in such huge numbers when they don't know what will happen when you stop taking them? I honestly wonder if anyone has researched it at all. I just want to know if there is an end in sight - DH is sympathetic (to a point) but I know if things don't improve he will start nagging me to see the GP and that will mean more fucking drugs!

BTW I appreciate all you say about cold turkey but this is where I am now and I don't want to throw away all the work I've done. I may have to of course but I don't want to.

Ormirian Tue 16-Aug-11 13:14:26

this is interesting Especially about the exhaustion.

strawberry17 Tue 16-Aug-11 13:40:51

I absolutely understand and have been where you are Omirion, I understand that you see it as a backward step going back on the citolopram, but I think what you are describing is definately withdrawals from coming off too fast. Doctors really don't understand (or have their heads in the sand) about the difficulties of coming off them. If you don't get any better, seriously consider going back on a liquid citolopram if it's available (if not switch to prozac) and taper slowly that way. It really can be a long game, and I know how disheartening it is to keep trying and failing. It is a head f***. Reading my blog may give you some pointers in the right direction.

strawberry17 Tue 16-Aug-11 13:46:51

This is my timeline sad
But it's working for me.

Ormirian Tue 16-Aug-11 13:49:39

Thanks strawberry.

I am certain my tiredness is a symptom. It has to be as I have never felt anything like this apart from in early pregnancy (and I am NOT pregnant). And you may be right that I need to accept I have to take a step back. But if I just knew how long this would take I would know how long I have to suffer and pace myself sad

castlesintheair Tue 16-Aug-11 13:55:04

I came off them quite slowly probably over a couple of months. I was only on quite a low dose to begin with and still had all the symptoms you describe Orm. For at least a year or more I felt like utter sh** and kept thinking I should go back on them but it was only DH that kept me going. Apart from being a happy zombie when I was on them I also gained about 2 stone and had zero sex drive so he was very keen for me to not go back! All I can say to anyone who is coming off citalopram is keep going if you can bear it. Nearly 3 years after I started withdrawing I feel better than I have for years. Although I did have some psycho-dynamic counselling and removed the "source" of much of my depression (which is a whole other thread!!) which has obviously helped. I also found that taking Relora which is a herbal remedy often mentioned on the anxiety threads on here helped me. Anything that is calming helps. I now take nothing, have nearly lost all the extra weight. Sex drive still a bit awol but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Ormirian Tue 16-Aug-11 14:52:47

castles - that is a positive story. Thanks

I was wondering if some sort of supplement would help. I've heard that omega oils are good. Never heard of relora - will have a google.

strawberry17 Tue 16-Aug-11 15:37:32

I use Omega fish oils they are really high strength, I think they do help, but for me in conjunction with withdrawing extremely slowly, tried them withdrawing fast and wasn't enough to counteract the withdrawals. God I sound like a voice of doom LOL

Ormirian Tue 16-Aug-11 15:40:56

Not the voice of doom. The voice of reality I suspect. However I am going to stick to my guns for now. I do feel so much better than I did to start with - just this horrible exhaustion.

castlesintheair Tue 16-Aug-11 17:27:04

I used to take handfuls of 'Kalms' which you can buy in Boots some days. I think they probably have the same herbs in them as relora. Yes, agree, Omega good, as is magnesium. Also, when I had some accupuncture in a desperate attempt to counteract the exhaustion, the lady recommended I take 5-HTP, a natural serotonin replacement. You can get all these things in Holland & Barrett or similar. I think it all had some effect, probably placebo, but undoubtedly time was the most effective. Good luck with it all. It's so awful - I used to despair that I'd ever gone on the bloody things in the first place!

racingheart Tue 16-Aug-11 19:38:07

I'd never heard of 5 HTP until this thread, so will definitely try that. Thanks for the tip.

Strawberry - why do you say alternate day thing is a bad way to come off ADs? It worked for me, last time, done very gradually over several months, and I had almost no side effects, like the ones people here are describing.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now