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What causes numbness outside the right leg, lips and right hand?

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Posted on Mon, 22 Aug 2016
Question: I am experiencing a numbness on the outside of my right leg just above the knee. The area of small and has increased in size by 3 fold over the past 2 weeks. Today my lips are numb (like when Novocain begins to wear off) and I am having a slight numbness/tingling in my right hand (specifically my thumb) that just began an hour ago.
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (37 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

It is true that Citalopram can produce paresthesias, abnormal sensations, it is a rare side effect though, I wouldn't call it that likely. However I think that 80 mg dosage is too high, it is not recommended beyond 40 mg, it only increases risk of side effects without any added benefit.

As to the numbness you describe....I must say it is a little bizzarre, in the sense that the territories you describe do not correspond to an anatomic location of the brain or spine. If there was a brain lesion of any type it causes numbness which includes the whole side, or at least the whole limb, not only the thumb or only the area above the knee. If we were to consider a spinal cord compression that shouldn't involve the lips (and again would affect the whole limb). If a peripheral nerve issue was considered it would be unlikely to involve separate nerves all on the same side at the same time, would involve the whole half of the face as well not only the lips.

So I do not believe there is any lesion of the nervous system to be worried. If the sensation persists I would advise some routine cheap blood tests to screen for metabolic or hormonal abnormalities which can also cause such symptoms (though the distribution wouldn't be typical for them either), tests such as blood sugar, liver and kidney function, electrolyte panel, thyroid function.
However for the moment I am more inclined to believe that anxiety may be playing a role, at least for some of the symptoms and I would modify the citalopram dose.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3674 Questions

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What causes numbness outside the right leg, lips and right hand?

Brief Answer: Read below. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. It is true that Citalopram can produce paresthesias, abnormal sensations, it is a rare side effect though, I wouldn't call it that likely. However I think that 80 mg dosage is too high, it is not recommended beyond 40 mg, it only increases risk of side effects without any added benefit. As to the numbness you describe....I must say it is a little bizzarre, in the sense that the territories you describe do not correspond to an anatomic location of the brain or spine. If there was a brain lesion of any type it causes numbness which includes the whole side, or at least the whole limb, not only the thumb or only the area above the knee. If we were to consider a spinal cord compression that shouldn't involve the lips (and again would affect the whole limb). If a peripheral nerve issue was considered it would be unlikely to involve separate nerves all on the same side at the same time, would involve the whole half of the face as well not only the lips. So I do not believe there is any lesion of the nervous system to be worried. If the sensation persists I would advise some routine cheap blood tests to screen for metabolic or hormonal abnormalities which can also cause such symptoms (though the distribution wouldn't be typical for them either), tests such as blood sugar, liver and kidney function, electrolyte panel, thyroid function. However for the moment I am more inclined to believe that anxiety may be playing a role, at least for some of the symptoms and I would modify the citalopram dose. I remain at your disposal for other questions.