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New To Celexa: How Long Do You Have To Be On It?


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3 replies to this topic

#1 HRiddle

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 10:04 PM

Hi everyone,

My psychiatrist keeps wanting to put me on Celexa but until now I have always refused because I know some people who have been taking it forever and I'm really afraid of starting this whole business. If it's a short-term thing, and I can stop taking it when I'm cured of depression and I won't need it again to feel better, then that's fine. But from what I heard and seen, some people have been on it for many years and they seem to depend on it for feeling happy. I understand that withdraw symptoms exist and that can be reduced by reducing your dosage gradually over time, but that's not what I'm concerned about...I just want to know how long you have to be on this medication and what your life will be after you stop. Apparently my insurance won't cover the entire cost of this drug and after I'm out of the university it will be more expensive to find prescribers and buy the meds, and I'm not even sure if I will be able to afford it long term.

Also, I'm worried about all the side effect, esp. weight gain and how it messes with your thinking abilities and memory. I just don't see how this would be a good thing to try.....I know psychiatrists have their interests to prescribe antidepressants so I want to think twice before plunging into this drug..

Advice Appreciated, thanks!!

Edited by HRiddle, 01 December 2011 - 10:06 PM.

"How can I sleep, when I don't know whether I live or dream?
How can I weep, when I don't know if the pain I feel is real?"

#2 Ferdy

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 10:43 PM

Hi everyone,

My psychiatrist keeps wanting to put me on Celexa but until now I have always refused because I know some people who have been taking it forever and I'm really afraid of starting this whole business. If it's a short-term thing, and I can stop taking it when I'm cured of depression and I won't need it again to feel better, then that's fine. But from what I heard and seen, some people have been on it for many years and they seem to depend on it for feeling happy. I understand that withdraw symptoms exist and that can be reduced by reducing your dosage gradually over time, but that's not what I'm concerned about...I just want to know how long you have to be on this medication and what your life will be after you stop. Apparently my insurance won't cover the entire cost of this drug and after I'm out of the university it will be more expensive to find prescribers and buy the meds, and I'm not even sure if I will be able to afford it long term.

Also, I'm worried about all the side effect, esp. weight gain and how it messes with your thinking abilities and memory. I just don't see how this would be a good thing to try.....I know psychiatrists have their interests to prescribe antidepressants so I want to think twice before plunging into this drug..

Advice Appreciated, thanks!!


Hmmm. Let's start with "how long". 6 months is generally considered a "course" for folks put on antidepressants---then you are reevaluated by the doctor based on response to the therapy. If he/she determines your depression is in remission, then the drug is tapered and stopped, then you are reevaluated again at your next visit. If still in remission, you're good to go on without drug therapy. If he/she determines that your depression has returned or is returning, then another course will be restarted. So, it really all depends on how you respond to the initial course. Some, if not most people don't have to stay on AD's for the rest of their lives. But some do. I'm one of them.

Next, there are certain antidepressants that are more weight neutral than others. Celexa is in the middle ground---some people gain and some don't. The worst of the SSRI's is generally regarded as Paxil, and the ones that usually result in weight loss are Prozac and Zoloft. Remember, this is IN GENERAL. People respnd differently to different ones.

Last, the doctor really has no incentive to prescribe you Celexa---it's a generic drug and has been for several years. Doctors are usually persuaded by drug reps to prescribe the latest and greatest drugs that are still under patent. Since cost is a factor in your situation, Celexa is one of the cheapest AD's there is---it's on the big chain deparment stores pharmacies $4 drug list--a 30 day supply. If you get a 90 day supply, it's $10.

There's really nothing to be overly concerned about---the SSRI's are some of the safest drugs there are---with long established track records for the older ones like Celexa.

Hope this answers most of your concerns, let us know----
DX: Treatment resistant unipolar MDD, GAD, PD w/severe agoraphobia, hypertension, pre-diabetes

CURRENT BRAIN MEDS: 30mg/day Remeron, 3mg/day Klonopin, 20mg/day Prozac

CURRENT NECK DOWN MEDS: 25mg/day Atenolol (Beta blocker), 100/25/day Hyzaar, 850mg/day Metformin

PRIOR MEDS: All the SSRI's (mostly intolerable) except for Lexapro--kinda---and now Prozac--(jury's still out), all the SNRI's (completely intolerable), Trazadone (caused severe hypotension), Gabapentin (ineffective), Hydroyzine (ineffective), BuSpar (probably the nastiest drug I've ever taken, thought I had taken poison), Seroquel, Abilify

#3 HRiddle

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 12:38 AM

Thank you so much! This is really helpful...I have to think it over then. I'm glad to know that at least it is cheap enough. I'm taking Xanax as needed for panic attacks and that is expensive, but since I only take 1 tablet occasionally it's not a big concern. I thought it would be about the same price for a daily, long-term drug like Celexa. I see you point about not needing to worry too much. I guess it's just because I have never committed to a long-term antidepressant before and it feels like such a big deal..
"How can I sleep, when I don't know whether I live or dream?
How can I weep, when I don't know if the pain I feel is real?"

#4 lukn4hope

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Posted 02 December 2011 - 10:48 PM

I think that it depends on the nature of your depression. If you are just going through a depressive episode, then as Ferdy pointed out, you will probably be ok after a few months. But for people like me who suffer from depression all their lives, we need to be on it long-term.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. The information provided by me is intended purely for entertainment purposes.




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