Pregnancy

What Is Celexa and Is It Safe During Pregnancy?

What is Celexa and is it Safe During Pregnancy?

Key Takeaways

  • Celexa is a drug that belongs to the most widely-prescribed class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs.
  • Whether or not Celexa is safe for consumption during pregnancy is a call that should be made by the treating doctor after considering the various associated risks of the patient.
  • If your depression symptoms can be managed by methods of treatment other than medications like counseling and therapy, they must be given first preference over antidepressant drugs.

Anxiety and depression are medical conditions associated with the brain. While the complexities of these conditions are highly intense, in simple language, they are referred to as chemical imbalances in the brain. The most common medications used when it comes to the treatment of depression and anxiety are antidepressants, which are a class of drugs found effective in correcting the imbalances associated with these mental conditions. There are various classes of antidepressants available, and what your doctor suggests for you would completely depend on the root cause of your depression.

The most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants is the reuptake inhibitors class of drugs that prevent the nerve cells from being reabsorbed after they are released by the brain to transmit certain messages between nerve cells. In other words, reuptake inhibitors help in keeping higher levels of neurotransmitters in the brain to improve the level of communication in the brain and make the brain circuits stronger to improve the moods.

There are three types of reuptake inhibitors that target various neurotransmitters. They include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs).

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are the most common type of antidepressant prescribed for the most number of cases. They are helpful in treating symptoms of depression and anxiety from moderate to chronic levels. These classes of antidepressants are considered safe for consumption and their levels of side effects are much lesser as compared to the other classes of antidepressants.

So if you are feeling depressed, then you need to seek medical consultation. The doctor may prescribe SSRIs to help you combat your current condition or suggest some counseling to better understand the root cause of your depression and anxiety.

How do SSRIs help?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) help in easing the symptoms of depression by enhancing the levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the neurotransmitters found in the brain that enables transfer of messages among the brain cells. SSRIs are known as selective since they only target the serotonin neurotransmitters of the brain and not any others. SSRIs are also found helpful in treating symptoms of anxiety.

This should result in improved mood swings and should generally leave you feeling good about yourself. Similarly, your doctor may also ask you to consider adding some superfoods into your regular diet as they are known to improve the levels of serotonin in your brain.

Celexa: Everything You Should Know

Celexa is also known by its generic name, citalopram. This drug belongs to the antidepressant class of drugs, which impacts the neurotransmitters and the way they transfer messages in the brain. Neurotransmitters are in simple words, the communication network formed by the brain, and an imbalance of these chemical neurotransmitters is often thought to be the underlying cause of depression.

Citalopram primarily works on one type of neurotransmitter in the brain known as serotonin. Citalopram or Celexa helps in preventing the reabsorption of serotonin by the brain cells after it is released. Since depression causes an uptake or a process in which released neurotransmitters are removed causing a termination of their actions, this drug helps by increasing the serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain that continue the action of transmitting messages in the brain.

Celexa belongs to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which contain other active ingredients such as fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline. Citalopram is a safe drug for the conditions it is prescribed. However, it must only be consumed under medical advice. The drug was duly approved and accredited safe for usage by the FDA in July 1998.

This drug enables you to effectively combat your feelings of depression and anxiety as it targets serotonin levels in your brain. It helps increase your serotonin levels as it has been determined that a drop in the serotonin levels is often the root cause for most cases of depression and anxiety. The issue is that most antidepressants often come with various side effects and that’s something that you would have to go through with your doctor. In general, this drug does lessen the debilitating effects of depression by increasing the serotonin levels in your brain.

Celexa Is Prescribed for a Number of Conditions 

Celexa (citalopram) is recommended for a number of ailments, particularly for the management of disorders like depression and other forms of mental illnesses such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Most of these disorders are associated with low serotonin levels, which is why Celexa is often prescribed for such conditions. PTSD can be quite debilitating and this drug is often used to help calm the patient down and to enable the patient to relax by flooding his brain with increased serotonin levels.

Possible Side Effects of Celexa

Like other types of antidepressant drugs, Celexa can also have side effects for some people. Although the medication is considered absolutely safe, some unwanted effects could come up with a few people. As long as the side effects are under control, there is no need to worry. However, if the side effects last longer than normal or begin to worsen, it is important to discuss your situation with your treating doctor.

More importantly, you need to be completely upfront with your doctor regarding the medications that you are allergic to as it can have a bearing on your current treatment for depression. In case you are not sure, you can always have your doctor conduct a full panel allergy test as it should help make the situation clearer. Some of the common side effects of this medication include:

Other common side effects can also include:

  • Inability to control temper: You may also find that you tend to get more emotional and angry with a marked inability to control your temper while taking this drug. 
  • Agitation: You may find yourself experiencing increased agitation over simple issues while taking this medication. 
  • Confusion: You might experience increased disorientation and confusion while on this drug. 
  • Cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, and indigestion: Celexa is also thought to cause increased abdominal discomforts as one of its side effects. 
  • Loss of memory: If you find that you are experiencing loss of memory due to this drug, then you need to go in for a medical consultation right away. Report the side effect to your doctor for proper relief. The doctor may change your medication if required.
  • Sexual problems like lack of sexual desire or erectile dysfunction: One of the associated side effects of the drug happens to be a loss of libido and/or erectile dysfunction. 
  • Stuffy nose: You could develop a stuffy nose on account of being infected with a cold. However, if the symptoms are persistent, then it could be due to taking Celexa. 
  • Dizziness: If you are experiencing dizziness after taking this drug, then it means that you are sensitive to the drug or there is another issue that is causing the problem. Consult your doctor if you keep feeling dizzy while taking the drug.
  • Weight loss: This drug is also known to cause you to experience weight loss as well.

On occasion, a patient may experience rare side effects such as bleeding, persistent cough, low sodium levels, and certain movement disorders.

Depression and Pregnancy

Although pregnancy can be one of the happiest times in a woman's life, for other women, the feeling is not so pleasant. In most cases, depression in pregnancy may not be treated seriously and most women just shove it off as just another hormonal imbalance. This assumption can have a serious impact on the mother and the baby inside her. Untreated depression can have some grave impacts causing pregnant women to turn to smoking, drinking, not paying attention to diet, and sometimes, having suicidal tendencies.

Depression in pregnant women might lead to a lack in appropriately taking care of themselves and their unborn baby. If you are unsure about your symptoms and your reactions, it is important to reach out for expert help to assist you in dealing with the issue. A consultation with a doctor may lead to the diagnosis of depression as the cause of your behavior. Medications along with other methods of treatment may be prescribed to help in dealing with the condition better.

Are antidepressants safe in pregnancy?

While it has been a topic of much debate, it is a decision that is best made after understanding your medical situation and weighing the risks against the benefits. If you were on antidepressants before your pregnancy, it could be a tough call whether you should continue or stop such medications. While untreated depression could cause behavioral complexities in the expecting mother, antidepressants could pose certain health risks for the baby in your womb. A number of women continue with their antidepressant medications to keep up their moods.

A number of studies have indicated that babies born to mothers who were consuming antidepressants during their pregnancy are more prone to early life health problems. Babies whose moms were consuming SSRIs like Celexa were more prone to developing problems like restlessness, irritability, and shivering, compared to the other babies whose mothers were not on these drugs.

There are some controversial theories, which state that Celexa or any other antidepressants must be withdrawn during the third trimester. However, it carries a risk of postpartum depression, which is why it remains a debatable issue. Certain studies have also indicated that the use of citalopram could cause a rare but chronic lung issue in the newborn baby, especially when the medication is consumed in the last trimester of pregnancy.

The decision to continue or stop the antidepressant must not be decided individually, but should only be decided in consultation with the treating doctor. If your depression symptoms can be managed by methods of treatments other than medications like counseling and therapy, they must be given first preference over antidepressant drugs.