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    Is Ashwagandha a suitable alternative for Citalopram?

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Posted on Mon, 30 May 2016 in Depression
Question: Hi I have been on Citalopram 20mg for several years. I feel fine whilst taking it but would prefer to stop. When I have tried to stop, very gradually, my symptoms worsen and I restart. I have heard that Ashwagandha may be a suitable alternative. How would I go about ceasing Citalopram and starting Ashwagandha please?
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Answered by Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe 10 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Consultation

Detailed Answer:
Hello, and thanks for your question.

There is no scientific evidence that ashwagandha, an herb, is any more effective than placebo. If you are suffering from depression, I would not recommend switching to ashwagandha, as there is no scientific evidence it works. However, to answer your question, if you want to taper off citalopram, you should decrease the dose by no more than 5mg every 4 weeks, monitoring closely for signs of withdrawal, and at that point begin taking a new medication. But again, this places you at high risk of relapse to depression, and I do not recommend this.

Please remember to rate and close this answer thread when you are finished and satisfied.

In the future, for continuity of care, I encourage you to contact me directly at my private link below. After you ask a direct question, it would be my pleasure to be your dedicated personal physician on this website. My name is Dr. Sheppe, and I am an XXXXXXX doctor working in New York City at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, ranked #1 for Psychiatry in the United States (tinyurl.com/psyrank). For a personalized comprehensive evaluation, treatment recommendations, and individual therapy, ask me at HealthCareMagic at this private link: tinyurl.com/DrSheppeAnswers
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Deepak
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Follow up: Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe 1 hour later
Thanks for the swift response. Would St Johns Wort be a viable alternative?
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Answered by Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe 3 hours later
Brief Answer:
Followup

Detailed Answer:
St. John's Wort does have evidence of efficacy compared to placebo for the treatment of some types of depression. However, be advised that it can significantly alter the blood levels of other medications you may be taking, a side effect not seen with prescription antidepressants. St. John's Wort is available over the counter, and is not regulated by government agencies, so you cannot be assured you are getting regular and proper doses even when following the instructions on the bottle. I still feel citalopram is the better choice for you, but St. John's Wort would be an alternative.

Please remember to rate and close this answer thread when you are finished and satisfied.

private link: tinyurl.com/DrSheppeAnswers
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Naveen Kumar
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Dr. Alexander H. Sheppe

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2014

Answered : 2242 Questions

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