Can Citalopram cause numbness and tingling? (3+ research studies revealed the truth)

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In this blog post, we are going to talk about the potential numbness and tingling sensations caused by citalopram. It is an antidepressant which is used to treat a variety of mental health related problems. 

However, this antidepressant can cause multiple side effects ranging from mild to severe. This blog will cover its numbness and tingling sensation and what could be done to get rid of it. 

Can Citalopram cause numbness and tingling? 

Yes, citalopram can cause numbness and tingling sensation. People using citalopram have reported this side effect and defined it as a  pins-and-needles sensation, with or without redness and burning. Some people have also experienced facial and genital paresthesia. 

What does research suggest? 

One study concluded that Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are indeed associated with numbness and tingling sensation. The same study also revealed that citalopram can cause numbing sensation in male and female genitals.  

This side effect was reported by many people, and in some cases, it resulted in citalopram withdrawal. One team of researchers studied the relationship between citalopram and numbness. 

The team studied these effects on a group of people, men and women, and concluded that citalopram induced numbness and tingling sensation is more common in women, mostly 40-50 years old. 

This side effect tends to develop with more than one month of citalopram use. One study found that citalopram is capable of producing numbness and tingling sensation on your face, but this one is rarely reported. 

Another study concluded that numbness and tingling sensation is more common in people withdrawing citalopram. It more commonly occurs to people who’re stopping citalopram as compared to those who continue to take it. 

Another study revealed that a group of people complained about experiencing numbness and tingling sensation in their arms and legs, just after using citalopram for 10 days and some have experienced numbness in their joints, specifically knee joints. 

How to get rid of citalopram induced numbness and tingling sensation? 

It typically takes 2-4 weeks for citalopram induced side effects to subside. Your numbness and tingling will start to fade away on its own once your body adjusts to the medication. Your doctor might recommend you to hang in there and give your body enough time to get used to the med. 

If your numbness and tingling sensation is severe, especially in lower extremities and you feel heavy or find it difficult to walk around, talk to your healthcare provider. 

Either your dose is too high or citalopram is just not the right choice of antidepressant for you. There are a few things you can try on your own to help relieve the effects of paresthesia. 

Make sure your side effects are manageable and not severe, because severe side effects require immediate medical attention. A few things that can help you out with your numbness include:

Massage

Massaging is one of the best ways to increase blood circulation. Try massaging with warm oil on the affected area followed by a warm press. This will increase blood circulation which can take some of your numbness away. 

Rest

If you experience numbness and tingling sensation, especially in your lower extremities, make sure you stay rested. If it’s difficult to move or your legs feel too heavy to walk around, avoid unnecessary movement and stay rested. If it’s too severe, contact your healthcare provider. 

Exercise 

Exercise is also one of the best ways to increase blood circulation. Opt for low intensity, relaxing exercises like yoga or pilates. Increased amount of blood circulation helps to relieve numbness and tingling sensation. 

Don’t panic 

Try to avoid panicking if you feel numbness. Stress can often make your side effects more heightened. Try to stay calm and it’s bothering you, talk to your doctor. Mild tingling usually goes away within 3 to 4 weeks of treatment. 

Healthy diet 

Make sure you add plenty of good, nutritious foods in your diet. Good diet helps you a lot in boosting your immunity, which helps you recover, fight against infection, repair your damaged cells and replace worn out cells. 

Avoid alcohol 

Your healthy lifestyle requires you to cut back on alcohol. Alcohol is known to contain toxic substances which can damage your nerve cells and cause numbness all on its own. Make sure you avoid alcohol, especially when you’re battling with antidepressant induced side effects. 

Maintain a good posture 

Postural changes can cause or make your existing numbness even worse. Try stretching to fix your bad posture. Keep your back as straight as you can while sitting or walking. 

What other underlying health conditions can cause numbness and tingling sensation? 

There are a few underlying health conditions which can silently contribute to your citalopram induced numbness and tingling sensation. These include:

Diabetes mellitus 

Unmanaged diabetes can silently cause nerve damage, a condition often called diabetic neuropathy. This can contribute to your numbness and tingling sensation. Make sure you keep your blood glucose level within the normal range to avoid further complications. 

Sciatica 

Sciatica is well known for causing numbness and tingling sensation in your lower back and legs. Make sure you rule that out in case of experiencing numbness in lower extremities with pain 

Alcoholism

Excessive alcohol intake can result in nerve damage. Experts revealed that too much alcohol consumption is linked with vitamin B complex deficiency, which leads to potential nerve damage. 

Make sure you cut back on alcohol as alcoholism is indeed a disease in itself, which can also make your other health conditions worse. 

Benign or malignant tumors

Certain kinds of tumors are associated with nerve damage. This can also lead to the numbness and tingling sensation. Make sure you talk to your doctor and rule out the possibility of any tumor inside your body. 

What other medications can cause numbness and tingling sensation? 

Certain medications can cause the same exact side effect. Sometimes, the combination of medications end up causing synergistic side effects. Make sure your meds are compatible with one another, even your over-the-counter drugs. 

According to a research article, following medications can cause numbness and tingling sensation:

  • Chemotherapeutic or anticancer drugs, including vinca alkaloids (Vincristine and vinblastine), taxanes (pacitaxel and docetaxel), thalidomide etc. 
  • Psychotropic drugs, including other antidepressants, anxiolytics and illicit substances like marijuana, amphetamines etc. 
  • Anticonvulsants, including carbamazepine, sodium valproate etc. 
  • Antibiotics, including fluoroquinolones like ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin etc. 
  • Cardiovascular drugs, including antihypertensives and drugs to lower cholesterol levels. 

When to call your doctor

Call your healthcare provider if:

  • Your numbness and tingling sensation does not go away, even after 5 to 6 weeks of treatment. 
  • You find it difficult to walk or feel heaviness in your lower extremities 
  • You experience numbness in your joints along with burning sensation. 
  • You experience facial numbness 
  • You experience skin allergy, which could include Stevens-Johnson syndrome. You might notice red, swollen, or blistered skin, with or without fever. 
  • You experience symptoms like confusion, agitation, inability to understand. This could indicate low sodium levels in your body 
  • You are in your third trimester or a nursing mother on citalopram. 

What are the additional side effects of citalopram? 

Common side effects of citalopram include:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea or Constipation 
  • Acid reflux or heartburn 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight gain or loss 
  • Excessive sweating or night sweating (nocturnal/night hyperhidrosis) 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Polydipsia or excessive thirst
  • Tremors 
  • Muscle twitching and pain
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Excessive tiredness or fatigue 
  • Insomnia or inability to fall asleep 
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Dysmenorrhea or heavy periods
  • Flu like symptoms including irritation in eyes and runny nose
  • Loss of libido in both male and females. Males may suffer from inability to ejaculate, while females may suffer from inability to have an orgasm. 

Citalopram is also associated with some serious side effects, which may include:

  • Allergic reaction associated with symptoms like redness of skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, blue-purple patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations 
  • Nose bleeds
  • Severe headache
  • Arrhythmia or abnormal heartbeats
  • Impaired memory and concentration 
  • Convulsions 
  • Swelling or tenderness in different parts of the body.

Conclusion 

In this blog, we discussed citalopram induced numbness and tingling sensation. It is a side effect that can develop just after using citalopram for 10 to 12 days. Studies indicated that this side effect is more common in women as compared to men. 

Citalopram can cause numbness and tingling in your lower and upper extremities, face, joints, and genitals. Studies have also revealed that this sensation is pretty common in patients who withdraw from citalopram. 

Make sure you consult your healthcare provider if your numbness sensation is severe. In such conditions, your doctor might tone down the dose or taper off citalopram if it’s not the right choice of antidepressant for you. 

Mild sensation will begin to fade away on its own, once your body adjusts to the medication. Either way, it is not advised to stop your antidepressant without your doctor’s approval. 

FAQs: citalopram numbness, tingling

Can citalopram cause numbness and tingling?

Yes, citalopram can cause numbness and tingling sensation. People using citalopram have reported side effects like numbing and tingling or pins-and-needles sensation, with or without redness and burning sensation. Some people have also experienced facial and genital paresthesia. 

When do citalopram side effects go away?

Citalopram induced side effects usually begin to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of your treatment, but it is different for everyone. Some people tolerate citalopram pretty well and recover from side effects within a few days, while some people struggle with side effects for a long time. 

Can citalopram affect your nerves?

Yes, citalopram can affect your nerves through serotonergic pathways. Make sure you inform your healthcare provider if you have any pre-existing nerve problems. 

What is the best antidepressant for neuropathy?

Researchers have revealed that duloxetine, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), is the best antidepressant for neuropathy. 

How do you calm down neuropathy?

  • Exercise and stretching
  • Maintain your blood sugar level within normal range
  • Cut back on alcohol 
  • Stop smoking 
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle 
  • Get a proper diagnosis 
  • Physiotherapy 

How do you know if you have neuropathy?

Neuropathy is associated with symptoms like numbness, tingling or pins-and-needles sensation, burning, pain etc. Consult your healthcare provider and get a proper diagnosis. 

References 

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