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Skin Reaction To Citalopram


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#1 Nirasayk

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 07:07 PM

Pretty recently I was prescribed Citalopram...I took 10mg for 5 days, and then increased it to 20mg as advised. When I was still on 10mg, I noticed little red dots on my left hand and fingers, which slowly appeared on my right hand too. I got pretty itchy and then the day before I was due for my next GP appointment, I glanced in the mirror and realised why my elbows had been so itchy - they were really red and blotchy. I had similar blotches on my arms and legs from itching so much. My hands also started to hurt too - it was kind of like the feeling you get after carrying plastic shopping bags for ages.
The doctor took a look and decided I should stop taking Citalopram immediately (too early to have withdrawal effects apparently) in case it was something that wouldn't subside. He was hesitant to try another SSRI in case it was the same. He did mention my penicillin allergy when deciding what to try next but I don't know how relevant this is? He already knew about my allergy before he prescribed me Citalopram. As far as I know, that's the only medication I was allergic to.

I've started on Dosulepin now. 25mg, to be increased to 50g after a week.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced a similar/or any skin reaction while taking this medication as my doctor seemed pretty surprised at it..?

Thanks.

Edited by Nirasayk, 01 April 2007 - 07:08 PM.


#2 KeepingAwake

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 08:16 PM

I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience!! I haven't heard of anyone having this type of reaction to Citalopram before, but allergies are a very individual thing and it seems you had an allergic reaction to the citalopram.

It's tough to say if it was a binder or filler in the citalopram or one of the active ingredients that you responded to. I know when I switched from one antihistamine (yes, ironic I know) to it's generic, I had an allergic reaction to it. Turned out to be the dye that gave it its color.

If you have another rash, taking an antihistamine, like benadryl (diphenhydramine) can help you to sort out whether it's an allergic reaction. If the antihistamine helps, then it is likely an allergy.

I would keep a list of the ingredients of your citalopram prescription on file at your doctor's just in case you have a similar reaction to another medication. If you do, it will be easier to begin to sort out what ingredient is causing the issue. Your doc can then search for common ingredients in both medications.

Also, if you are wondering why you didn't have an immediate reaction to the citalopram:

Allergies are essentially an excessive immune response to an allergen. An allergen is a benign protein that your body thinks is an invader. The first time your body encounters the allergen, you don't have the allergic response. Your body is figuring out what this is. But your body identifies the allergen as a potentially 'super bad invader'. So the NEXT time you encounter it, your body over-reacts. It says I remember this and it is DEF CON 5!!! All systems to full power! And you get a rash, or a runny nose, or your throat closes up, etc.

Sorry that you had such a scare!

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#3 kstours

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 01:39 PM

Hi, Nirasayk. I'm on Lexapro and am allergic to Penicillin and haven't had any kind of reaction like you describe. I found this list of "inactive ingredients" in Citalopram that could be causing your reaction:

mannitol
microcrystalline cellulose
silica colloidal anhydrous
magnesium stearate
hypromellose
titanium dioxide (E171)
macrogol

I read Citalopram can sometimes make your skin sensitive to sunlight, which can cause a rash that's light-induced (not allergy induced). To be safe, though, it sounds like if you've shown a reaction to one SSRI, they recommend not using another drug in the SSRI class.
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#4 Nirasayk

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 02:37 PM

Keeping Awake-

Thank you, I'll take your advice on board in the unlucky event I should have a reaction to the Dosulepin. Haven't actually noticed any effects with this one though. My doctor definitely put it in my record that Citalopram caused such a reaction so hopefully I can avoid it in the future. It wasn't too bad...just kind of irritating...I'm a bit naive in that fashion, I was quite surprised when my doctor took me off it. God forbid I ever react to something in a more dangerous way, I probably won't even notice! :hearts:

Thanks a lot for the information, I'll remember it for the future just in case ^-^


kstours-

Thanks for the list, I'll have a look and see what's in the ingredients list for the Dosulepin.
My doctor didn't seem terribly excited about prescribing me that, but as you say, he didn't want the same thing happening on another SSRI.
The rash has totally faded now, there's just a bit of dry skin on one of my hands from where it was. So not too long-lived. Just a bit of inconvenient itchiness ^^;

Thanks again~

Nirasayk.

#5 lifesaver72

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 05:18 PM

I had the same reactions to Celexa along with Cymbalta and Zoloft. The rash was first, then swollen face, legs, eyes, tongue-sore and tingly as well. I had a horribly sore throat and the rash there also broke out around my urethra-and other tissues. The itching was terrible, antihistamines prevented recognizing the reaction at first, keeping it subdued for a time. I have been off all SSRI's for 2 days now and my skin peeling like a sunburn and is soft and smooth for the first time in months. My throat is no longer sore and my sinus drainage, sore tongue and throat are 85% improved.

Now I am only on Xanax, claritin, meclizine-for dizzines from my ear problems, and estrogen patch. What I will do for treatment if the depression returns I do not now. That is the terrifying part. Will keep you all updated on my progress and see if the allergy is the SSRI for sure or if there is a hidden condition involved. I just want to feel physically and mentally strong and healthy.

I went completely off my AD's from June 06 to February 07, and it is possible that restarting the meds-a second exposure -I had taken each of them at some in the previous 12 years-caused a more severe reaction-they type of allergy that gets worse over time.

I am betting there are more of these reactions than reported-many people may think they have severe sinus problems.

#6 felinity

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 08:03 AM

I have a persistent rash of tiny pimple-like bumps on my upper arms. They don't cause any type of discomfort but are as ugly as heck. I took 20 mg fluoxetine for several years and always had this rash on my arms. I didn't make the connection that it was the drug that caused it until I went off the prozac and it started to clear up. I had decided to see if I could function without an anti-depressant and was off it long enough for the withdrawal symptoms to subside, but then realized I couldn't emotionally handle it. But, I was happy about my arms looking good. So I called my doctor and asked to be prescribed something else, hoping I wouldn't experience a drug rash. He prescribed citalopram, 20 mg. The rash came back. So, my question is, (which I know is probably impossible to answer because everyone has different chemistry,) has anyone experienced this and does anyone know an anti-depressant that may be the least likely to cause skin reactions? Btw, my husband also recently started taking citalopram and he thinks it is giving him acne. Any thoughts, please?

#7 banana88

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 10:09 AM

Pretty recently I was prescribed Citalopram...I took 10mg for 5 days, and then increased it to 20mg as advised. When I was still on 10mg, I noticed little red dots on my left hand and fingers, which slowly appeared on my right hand too. I got pretty itchy and then the day before I was due for my next GP appointment, I glanced in the mirror and realised why my elbows had been so itchy - they were really red and blotchy. I had similar blotches on my arms and legs from itching so much. My hands also started to hurt too - it was kind of like the feeling you get after carrying plastic shopping bags for ages.
The doctor took a look and decided I should stop taking Citalopram immediately (too early to have withdrawal effects apparently) in case it was something that wouldn't subside. He was hesitant to try another SSRI in case it was the same. He did mention my penicillin allergy when deciding what to try next but I don't know how relevant this is? He already knew about my allergy before he prescribed me Citalopram. As far as I know, that's the only medication I was allergic to.

I've started on Dosulepin now. 25mg, to be increased to 50g after a week.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced a similar/or any skin reaction while taking this medication as my doctor seemed pretty surprised at it..?

Thanks.


I thought i was the only one... i just had been prescribed it, only it took 4 weeks to make me break out into a severly itchy rash.

#8 macca_313

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:19 PM

Thanks.[/quote] ive had the exact same with the itchyness on the hands etc...but even more i get it on my head and my face usually starts when ive been a little bit stressed butt he cipralex really made it worse i have it right this minute as i am writing this ,,,which i hope this reply makes sense lol im just new and im having pretty bad side effects from cipralex i was on the 5mg for as long and recently i upped it to 10 mg but enough is enough i really want to be free of medication .

Edited by macca_313, 21 January 2009 - 03:21 PM.


#9 macca_313

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 03:20 PM

ive had the exact same with the itchyness on the hands etc...but even more i get it on my head and my face usually starts when ive been a little bit stressed butt he cipralex really made it worse i have it right this minute as i am writing this ,,,which i hope this reply makes sense lol im just new and im having pretty bad side effects from cipralex i was on the 5mg for as long and recently i upped it to 10 mg but enough is enough i really want to be free of medication .

#10 Dalia_005

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:11 AM

I have a persistent rash of tiny pimple-like bumps on my upper arms. They don't cause any type of discomfort but are as ugly as heck. I took 20 mg fluoxetine for several years and always had this rash on my arms. I didn't make the connection that it was the drug that caused it until I went off the prozac and it started to clear up. I had decided to see if I could function without an anti-depressant and was off it long enough for the withdrawal symptoms to subside, but then realized I couldn't emotionally handle it. But, I was happy about my arms looking good. So I called my doctor and asked to be prescribed something else, hoping I wouldn't experience a drug rash. He prescribed citalopram, 20 mg. The rash came back. So, my question is, (which I know is probably impossible to answer because everyone has different chemistry,) has anyone experienced this and does anyone know an anti-depressant that may be the least likely to cause skin reactions? Btw, my husband also recently started taking citalopram and he thinks it is giving him acne. Any thoughts, please?



Hi, it's interesting that you mentioned your husband's medication giving him acne. I am under the impression that Celapram (Citalopram) has caused my acne rosacea to return too. This is basically the kind of acne that comes up in little red dots which get itchy - If you scratch them there is no puss, but dry skin which flakes off. Keeps getting irritated and itchy. Is it anything like that? I found it bizarre that even though I suffered from that skin condition years ago, just a couple of months after starting to take Celapram it has come back. Not sure what to do. I would see the doc and perhaps arrange an allergy test to see if its related to the medication he's taking. I am contemplating this option myself.

#11 jezebelseven

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 04:52 PM

I'm having what I can only assume is the same reaction to my Citalopram.

My history:

I started on Lexapro a little over a month ago. I wanted to stay on it but my insurance doesn't cover most of it so it's a little pricier than I expected, and had previously been on Celexa years ago. So my doctor thought we'd switch back to Celexa.

-I was on Lexapro for at least 3 weeks with no side effects or reaction.
-Switched to Citalopram about a week and a half ago. I thought about a week into it that it was making me itchy but eventually decided it was just allergies or dry skin as it tapered off.
-This last Sunday I got the start of a really bad chest+head cold. So I've had a few drugs in my system for that. Cough syrup + CVS Generic of Comtrex.
-First few days was fine, then Wednesday I suddenly developed what I thought were bug bites on my knees and elbows. I wrote them off as oddly placed bug bites.
-Thursday night I reached up to touch my head in bed and my husband pointed out the bumps now trailing up my arm. Crap. It all came together suddenly, that those weren't bug bites. I figured that since this was all happening in the last 24 hours it had to be the Comtrex because surely the Citalopram would've shown allergic reactions before? And the rep at CVS agreed. She instructed me to take a benadryl as well.
-So last night all I took was a benadryl, my Citalopram and my birth control pill.

Woke up this afternoon with another new outbreak of rashes. The old ones are fading but the new ones are in the same places plus a few new ones-- Legs are now covered in them, not just at the knee. Arms are covered in them. Hands have a few, my ears are covered in them, and I just noticed a few on my neck (which makes me nervous as I've had my throat swell up from Keflex and Penicillin before.). Some on my back.

So I'm going to make the jump and say this is my Citalopram causing all this. Otherwise I'm allergic to antihisamines (there was one in the comtrex, but its not the same active ingredient that is in benadryl...) Great. Assuming that the Lexapro didn't do this to me, I'd guess it's an inactive ingredient in the Celexa that I'm allergic to?

I'm keeping an eye on it in hopes it doesn't spread any further, as I really don't fancy a trip to the ER. I'm scared to take another benadryl just in case I am somehow allergic to it and not the citalopram. :/ And of course all this happens RIGHT AFTER my doctor's office is closed.

#12 lonleysindy

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 08:15 PM

Reading everyones replies here I am starting to think that might explain my horriable headaches that should be gone by now, all around my eyes are ichy and my actual eyes hurt, not behind them just the eyes. My face is breaking out in those big ole zits that never seem to come to a head just huge red bumps all over my face.

I am going to print this out for my doctor to read.

Edited by lonleysindy, 17 April 2009 - 08:16 PM.

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#13 KarenRB53

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:42 PM

Reading everyones replies here I am starting to think that might explain my horriable headaches that should be gone by now, all around my eyes are ichy and my actual eyes hurt, not behind them just the eyes. My face is breaking out in those big ole zits that never seem to come to a head just huge red bumps all over my face.

I am going to print this out for my doctor to read.



Hi: Just wondered if you did indeed bring this to your doctors attention. I'm having a bad time with my skin. I've been on Celexa for 5wks and last week it started...my face is sooooo dry and even the most natural skin moisturizer makes it sting when I put it on and I'm breaking out in red bumps on my face also. This happened when I took Lexapro...the same way actually...fine for first month and then my face broke out and I went to dermatologist who said it definitely could be an allergic reaction to the meds so my doctors said to taper off and then try the Celexa...which I did...and its starting all over.

#14 lonleysindy

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 08:50 PM

Hi karen,

i am now off of it and on effexor and seriqoul, my face is slowly clearing up and the dry itchiness is gone from my eyes. Also the headaches are gone.
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#15 Anastassia Florine

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 02:03 PM

I think Celexa may have made me break out. More than I already do, I mean. I'm not sure though.

#16 junila

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:11 AM

Pretty recently I was prescribed Citalopram...I took 10mg for 5 days, and then increased it to 20mg as advised. When I was still on 10mg, I noticed little red dots on my left hand and fingers, which slowly appeared on my right hand too. I got pretty itchy and then the day before I was due for my next GP appointment, I glanced in the mirror and realised why my elbows had been so itchy - they were really red and blotchy. I had similar blotches on my arms and legs from itching so much. My hands also started to hurt too - it was kind of like the feeling you get after carrying plastic shopping bags for ages.
The doctor took a look and decided I should stop taking Citalopram immediately (too early to have withdrawal effects apparently) in case it was something that wouldn't subside. He was hesitant to try another SSRI in case it was the same. He did mention my penicillin allergy when deciding what to try next but I don't know how relevant this is? He already knew about my allergy before he prescribed me Citalopram. As far as I know, that's the only medication I was allergic to.

I've started on Dosulepin now. 25mg, to be increased to 50g after a week.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced a similar/or any skin reaction while taking this medication as my doctor seemed pretty surprised at it..?

Thanks.



#17 junila

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:13 AM

I think Celexa made me itch at 40mgs.

#18 junila

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:17 AM

I seemed itchy at 30 mgs. I am getting a printout for my doctor also.

#19 breezin

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 08:43 AM

With Lexapro approx. 2% of people taking it get this side effect. Celexa is closely related to Lexapro.

Edited by breezin, 15 July 2009 - 08:52 AM.


#20 pwaters765

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 08:13 AM

I had the same reactions to Celexa along with Cymbalta and Zoloft. The rash was first, then swollen face, legs, eyes, tongue-sore and tingly as well. I had a horribly sore throat and the rash there also broke out around my urethra-and other tissues. The itching was terrible, antihistamines prevented recognizing the reaction at first, keeping it subdued for a time. I have been off all SSRI's for 2 days now and my skin peeling like a sunburn and is soft and smooth for the first time in months. My throat is no longer sore and my sinus drainage, sore tongue and throat are 85% improved.

Now I am only on Xanax, claritin, meclizine-for dizzines from my ear problems, and estrogen patch. What I will do for treatment if the depression returns I do not now. That is the terrifying part. Will keep you all updated on my progress and see if the allergy is the SSRI for sure or if there is a hidden condition involved. I just want to feel physically and mentally strong and healthy.

I went completely off my AD's from June 06 to February 07, and it is possible that restarting the meds-a second exposure -I had taken each of them at some in the previous 12 years-caused a more severe reaction-they type of allergy that gets worse over time.

I am betting there are more of these reactions than reported-many people may think they have severe sinus problems.


I have been on Celexa for five years without incident, however in Apr 2009 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and have gone through chemo, surgery and then radiation, while on chemo, developed a rash which remained throughout all treatments. Then, two weeks into radiation therapy my face, lips, eyes and sore throat developed. My thoughts were lymph node irritation from the rads, but ALL Docs say allergic reaction to Celexa (the only drug I was on at the time). I have since been weaned off and have not had a dose for two weeks, I still have swollen face, lips, the eyes are down a bit and the rash is better, but my question is how long does this med stay in your system, this is crazy, I feel like a crossover between Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, not to mention I'm off antidepressents which make it more magnified......If anyone has any input, I would greatly appreciate it.

#21 hauntedjammies

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Posted 17 May 2010 - 12:43 PM

I started citalopram last week and after 2 days, my palms started burning and itching, and I now have red spots on my face, neck, arms, hands, back. So, I've stopped it and sure hope this clears up FAST!




Pretty recently I was prescribed Citalopram...I took 10mg for 5 days, and then increased it to 20mg as advised. When I was still on 10mg, I noticed little red dots on my left hand and fingers, which slowly appeared on my right hand too. I got pretty itchy and then the day before I was due for my next GP appointment, I glanced in the mirror and realised why my elbows had been so itchy - they were really red and blotchy. I had similar blotches on my arms and legs from itching so much. My hands also started to hurt too - it was kind of like the feeling you get after carrying plastic shopping bags for ages.
The doctor took a look and decided I should stop taking Citalopram immediately (too early to have withdrawal effects apparently) in case it was something that wouldn't subside. He was hesitant to try another SSRI in case it was the same. He did mention my penicillin allergy when deciding what to try next but I don't know how relevant this is? He already knew about my allergy before he prescribed me Citalopram. As far as I know, that's the only medication I was allergic to.

I've started on Dosulepin now. 25mg, to be increased to 50g after a week.

I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced a similar/or any skin reaction while taking this medication as my doctor seemed pretty surprised at it..?

Thanks.



#22 spinner

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 09:02 PM

I recently started escitalopram (cipralex) about fivemonths ago and have been really happy with the drug but have had an itchiness on my forearms and shins. I can't tell if it is just dry skin since I started around the fall when things started to get cold and dry. I've tried moisturizing but it hasn't helped. I've also tried an antihistamine, first benadryl spray to the affected areas, and just recently my doctor gave me hydrazine (atarax) to take before bed because it is the worst in the morning and before bed but it hasn't really helped much. I keep scratching my forarms and shins until I have small bleeding bumps. Anyone had a similar experience and found something that helped? I'm basically just waiting to see if things improve in the spring.

#23 stephanesia

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 03:19 PM

I realize this is a super old forum, but, I figured I'd post my experience so far...
I am not sure if it is related still, but I started taking zoloft earlier this month for PTSD, GAD, and Panic Disorder. I was on the lowest dosage and having trouble with some side effects, including starting to get a weird itchy rash in my bikini like. I thought it might be ingrowns but it didn't really have the same look/feel. These then started to appear on my ankles as tiny raised bumps that were extremely itchy.
I went to see a dermatologist and was given a load of cremes and lotions to use.
As I used them I had switched to Citalopram to counteract some of my other dumb side effects. But as I took more of it (upping my dosage to 10 mg a day) they spread worse to my elbow pads (the outer part) all over my ankles, the tops of my feet, and the backs of my hands. By the end of the week they had risen to start up my behind, on my tailbone, and on my hips. I stopped taking the SSRI all together and after a day or so the bumps are fading from my elbows and becoming less itchy.
I did also see a dermatologist again and he said that it could very well be eczema/allergic reaction of some sort, or possibly scabies. So we are treating ourselves for scabies on top of possibly anything else. My ankle bumps are nearly completely heeled, as well as the ones on my feet and hands. Some of them look like blister scars. The ones on my tailbone were much worse this morning but they seem fine now. I am unsure what my reaction could be completely to, and I don't know how long it will be until the citalopram is entirely out of my system.
I stopped it Saturday morning.
Overall I felt better emotionally for awhile but maybe am having a harder time today. I feel flat and way more depressed than I have-- but it's also been a very very trying month. Anyway, is anyone still having experiences like these and how long was it before it went away? Do they sound similar? I took some pictures of what my dumb bumps looked like at one point.
I feel like I've also had dryer eyes and more stress sores in my mouth. Not on my lips like herpes, but on the insides on my gums. I'm not certain about this. It could just be happy coincidence.
I'm still occasionally taking my xanax and insomnia pills. I also have been taking propranolol for essential tremors.




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