How long does Citalopram stay in your system (A brief guide)

In this guide, we will discuss how long does Citalopram stays in your system, what Citalopram is, side effects and additional considerations. 

How long does Citalopram/Celexa stay in your system?

Citalopram/Celexa can stay in your system for up to 10-14 days, if you have been taking it for a while, but when someone has just started taking citalopram, it will usually stay in your system for only about 35 hours. How long a drug stays in one’s system depends on its half-life, and the half-life of citalopram is around 35 hours.

Celexa is the brand name for Citalopram, which is an antidepressant prescribed for various mental disorders.

However, others suggest this depends on many factors such as how much and how often you have taken the drug, your metabolic rate, your age and overall health, body mass, etc.

It is believed the half-life is around 35 hours meaning it takes 35 hours for the body to get rid of the 50% of the drug.

If the factors mentioned are taken into consideration, then it is considered that the drug takes 7 days to get out of your system (but it can take longer). 

In contrast, the addictionresource.com indicated that the half-life is about 30% longer compared to other antidepressants on average.

There is why one of the major citalopram benefits is the prolonged effects of the body systems.

According to addictionresource.com, they also agree that Celexa’s half-life is approximately 35 hours.

It means that when a new dose of citalopram is not delivered, it takes around 35 hours for half of it to be removed from the person’s system.

This way, the concentration of citalopram in the body falls below 1% in approximately 8 days.

The feelings when the drug wears off may sometimes be unpleasant.

SSRI medication, in particular, short half-lives, may result in a withdrawal syndrome. This is considered one of Citalopram’s side effects.

There is a high probability of manifesting relapses for anxiety and depression, as well as possible flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and restlessness.

The half-life of Citalopram determines how long does it stay in your body, mostly.

It is believed that on average, as we discussed initially, Citalopram leaves the body within 10-14 days after the last dose was taken.

However, it doesn’t mean that there are no traces left in the body. There could be traces in the hair follicle, blood, urine, and saliva at the same rate. 

In the case of hair follicles and urine, the remainder of the substance can stay for a long time after the effects of the medication ceases.

Hence, Citalopram can still be detected by specific means after it’s cleared from the blood circulatory system.


How Long Does Celexa Stay In Blood?

It is said that Celexa 40 mg tablets, have a peak blood level that occurs in about 4 hours after intake.

In addition, traces of the drug can be detected in the circulatory system from 4 to 5 days after the last dose was ingested.

How Long Does Celexa Stay In Urine?

After the last dose intake, up to 50% of Citalopram can still be detected in the urinary tract system 9-10 days later.

If someone is preparing for a drug screening, it is important to inform the person performing the test known about your treatment with Celexa, since citalopram, being amphetamine, has a low potential for showing up on urine tests.

How Long Does Celexa Stay In Saliva?

Citalopram can be detected in the saliva approx. 8 days after the last tablet was ingested. 

How Long Does Celexa Stay In Hair?

According to addictionsourcer.com “hair growth is powered by blood, and it is natural that hair follicles absorb any substances that are present in the bloodstream.

Most medications can stay in the hair for up to 90 days.”

Are there any factors that can slow down/speed up the removal Of Citalopram From The Body?

There are some factors that can interfere with the time that it takes for Citalopram to get out of a person’s system.

It is considered that the half-life of Citalopram is only one of the many factors.

In addition, someone’s age, weight, and lifestyle can influence the rate at which the medicine is removed from the system.

Additional factors that influence the duration of the removal of citalopram are metabolism and for how long and how often the person takes Citalopram.

“For instance, the drug will remain in the circulatory system for longer if the patient has a slow metabolism. Similarly, elderly and sick individuals will experience the prolonged effects of Celexa. Large body mass extends the period during which citalopram stays in the system as well. Therefore, drinking a lot of water and working out are some of the natural ways of how to get out Celexa from the system faster (addictionsource.com).”

However, it is important to consider that after the full elimination period, 80% has been eliminated through the liver and the remainder 20% by the kidney.

But, for the elderly or someone with hepatic or renal failure, it can take longer. 

What is Citalopram?

Citalopram (Celexa, brand name) “is considered a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRIs, used to treat depression by helping regulate imbalanced levels of serotonin in the brain. The drug is most commonly taken in pill form, though liquid varieties may also be available to some patients (therecoveryvillage.com).”

How long, how much, the time the drug should be taken and side effects can all vary from one person to the other as it is the case with any medication.

However,  it is important that medical professionals carefully consider all of these factors when designing a medication regimen for their patients.

Key facts

According to the NHS: 

  • It usually takes 4 to 6 weeks for citalopram to work.
  • Side effects such as tiredness, dry mouth and sweating are common. They’re usually mild and go away after a couple of weeks.
  • If you and your doctor decide to take you off citalopram, your doctor may recommend reducing your dose gradually to help prevent extra side effects.
  • Citalopram is called by the brand name Cipramil.

Who can and can’t take citalopram?

This drug can be taken by adults and children over the age of 12 years.

However, always check with your doctor before starting to take citalopram:

  • If you have had an allergic reaction to the main component, Citalopram, or any other allergic reactions to other medicines in the past. 
  • If you have heart disease or problems since Citalopram can change your heartbeat rhythm. 
  • If you have ever taken other medicines to treat depression, this is because some rarely used antidepressants can interact with citalopram to cause very high blood pressure, even after the treatment has been discontinued for weeks. 
  • If you are trying to become pregnant, already pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you have glaucoma since Citalopram can increase the pressure in your eye
  • If you have epilepsy or are having electroconvulsive treatment, since citalopram may increase your risk of having a seizure

Having diabetes while taking Citalopram, can make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar stable.

It is recommended to monitor your blood sugar more often for the first few weeks of treatment with citalopram and adjust your diabetes treatment if necessary.

How much do I have to take?

This varies and depends on your doctor’s instructions.

However, Citalopram tablets come in different strengths ranging from 10mg to 40mg and the usual dose of citalopram is 20mg a day in adults.

But it may be started at a lower dose and increased to a maximum dose of 40mg a day.

If you’re over the age of 65 or have liver problems, the maximum recommended dose is 20mg a day and the usual dose of citalopram in children is 10mg a day, but this may be increased to 40mg a day. 

With liquid drops of citalopram, 4 drops are equivalent to a 10mg tablet.

What happens if I forget to take it?

There is nothing to worry about if you occasionally forget to take a dose, just remember to take your next dose the next day at the usual time.

Never double dose to make up for the one you forgot.

If you forget your doses most of the time, try setting up an alarm so you can have a reminder at the same time.

You could also ask a friend or a relative to help to remind you to take your medicine. 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Why is this blog about How long does Citalopram stay in your system, important?

When you are under a medication treatment, it is important to know all the information you can about the drug you are taking.

Staying informed can prevent many uncomfortable and frustrating situations. 

Here we discussed how long approximately can take Citalopram to be eliminated or removed from your body but, the estimated time can vary depending on several factors like your age, weight, medical condition, among others.

However, even if it gets eliminated from your system, there are traces that remain in hair follicles or saliva. 

Please feel free to comment in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How long does Citalopram stay in your system

What happens when you stop taking citalopram?

If you stop taking Citalopram, you can experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, nausea, feeling dizzy, vomiting, nightmares, headaches or paresthesias (prickling, tingling sensations on the skin).

It is recommended to talk to your doctor first before stopping the treatment suddenly. 

How long does citalopram take to wear off?

Citalopram is believed to be very effective and there are no reports as to after how long the effects start to wear off.

As long as you take it continuously the effect should be the same, even after years of treatment.

What is the half-life of citalopram?

It is believed that the half-life of Citalopram is 35 hours and 80% is cleared by the liver and the reminding 20% by the kidneys.

However, this can vary if the person taking Citalopram has kidney or liver problems. 

Will citalopram show up in a drug test?

Technically it can be detected, however, drug tests are performed to detect certain substances in a person’s body and antidepressants are normally not included in the list.

It means that there needs to be a specific “antidepressant drug test” to detect Citalopram. 

Can you lose weight on citalopram?

Citalopram can cause you to lose weight when first starting the treatment.

However, long term you can notice you have gained some weight, mostly because your appetite returns. 

Recommended reading

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

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