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    Can Citalopram be taken in place of Venlafaxine?

Posted on Mon, 10 Jul 2017 in Mental Health
Question: I would like to know all about the SSRI, Citalopram. I have been on Venlafaxine since it first came on the market, about 37 yrs ago, with a few temporary switches to other antidepressants. Now at age 74, I continue to take Venlafaxine 75 mg qid plu Bupropion ER/SR 150 mg tid. I very recently went to the Behavioral Health Unit for the Aging Adult of Strong Hosp (Roch, NY). A psychiatric NP reviewed my meds and was concerned for the high dosages of both drugs, considering my age. He suggested weaning me off the Venlafaxine and replacing it with the Citalopram. I very much like the shared decision-making and the conservative approach of handling the change: Starting with going to 3 doses of the Venlafaxine and adding I/2 tablet of the Citalopram 10 mg tablets for 2 wks, followed by increasing to the whole 10 mg tablets for 2 wks. This all sounds reasonable to me, and now am 6 days into the initial regimen with no ill effects. I am a retired MSRN, who no longer has access to current PDRs, etc. and just want to know more about the new (to me) medication I'm taking. And any thoughts on the medicine change---both choice of drug and method of transition. Thank you!
Answered by Dr. Seikhoo Bishnoi 39 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Citalopram is safe to use

Detailed Answer:
Hello thanks for asking from Icliniq.com

I can understand your concern. I agree with your doctor's decision to change to Citalopram from Venlafaxine considering your age. Citalopram is a SSRI drug and is relatively safe to use compared to Venlafaxine.

Cross tapering as you have been advised is best method to shift the drug. Gradual reduction of dose of Venlafaxine and simultaneous increase in dose of Citalopram is best in such situation. Since you are fine with this regimen so I don't think you will develop any side effects in future.

Citalopram in some individuals in high dose might result in reduction of heart rate and rarely QT prolongation. So you can talk with your doctor and get ECG done which will rule out any cardiac issue with Citalopram.

Citalopram is relatively safer but has side effects like nausea, dizziness, vomiting, gastric upset especially in first few days of starting the treatment. With time these side effects go by own.

Thanks and Take care
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Seikhoo Bishnoi


Practicing since :2007

Answered : 5181 Questions


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