SSRIs are a type of antidepressant that raise the amount of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a hormone that helps control your mood. You feel happy, calm, and focused when your serotonin levels are normal.
Similarities and Differences
The FDA has approved both medications to treat major depressive disorder. Lexapro can also treat generalized anxiety disorder. Researchers haven’t found one drug to be more effective than the other.
Side Effects and Cautions
Your mental state may unexpectedly change as you take Celexa or Lexapro. You could have suicidal thoughts as you start your prescription or when your dose goes up or down. Signs that you need to talk to your doctor immediately include:
Celexa and Lexapro also share these common side effects:
- Feeling anxious, sleepy, weak, or dizzy
- Trouble sleeping
- Sexual problems
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Constipation or diarrhea
Researchers haven’t studied whether Celexa and Lexapro are addictive, but studies done in animals show the risk for abuse is low. But stopping antidepressants suddenly can be risky in people who take them for more than 6 weeks. You may have side effects like mood changes, dizziness, and anxiety if you suddenly stop taking your medication. You should talk to your doctor first if you want to stop using either medication. Your doctor will lower your dose over time.
Both Celexa and Lexapro have several “off-label” uses. This is when a doctor gives you a drug for a condition other than what the FDA has approved it to treat.
Who Shouldn’t Take Celexa or Lexapro?
You shouldn’t take Celexa or Lexapro if you:
- Are allergic to any of the ingredients
- Take another type of antidepressant called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Stopped taking a MAOI less than 2 weeks ago. You also shouldn’t start taking an MAOI within 2 weeks of stopping Celexa/Lexapro.
- Take Pimozide (Orap)
Celexa isn’t recommended for people who have:
Interactions With Celexa and Lexapro
Before you start your prescription, you should also tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, or herbs you take. The items below could have a bad interaction with Celexa or Lexapro:
The chemical structure of Celexa and Lexapro is so similar that you shouldn’t take the two drugs together.
You should also tell your doctor about any health conditions you have or issues you’ve had recently, such as:
- Liver, kidney, or heart problems
- Seizures or convulsions
- Bipolar disorder or mania
- Low sodium levels in your blood
- Had a stroke
- High blood pressure
- Have or had bleeding issues
Young adults under 24, teens, and children usually shouldn’t take antidepressants because studies show the drugs may especially raise suicidal thoughts and actions in these groups. But clinical trials show that Lexapro is safe for adolescents ages 12 to 17 who have major depressive disorder.
If you have thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) immediately.