How to get citalopram out of your system faster?

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “How to get citalopram out of your system faster?”. Citalopram is an antidepressant which is used to treat a variety of mental health related problems. 

This medication takes time to work and makes your body dependent on it. We will also talk about ways to get rid of the drug faster.

How to get citalopram out of your system faster?

There is no easy and faster way to get citalopram out of your system. The antidepressant will take its time to leave your body. The duration of your treatment plays an important role here because the longer the treatment duration, the longer it will take your body to adjust without citalopram. 

Citalopram is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It inhibits the reuptake of serotonin from the synaptic cleft by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). 

This results in increased serotonin activity to counteract the symptoms of depression, anxiety or any other mental health condition. However, this process takes time. Depression and anxiety do not progress overnight. Similarly there is no way to treat your mental health illness overnight. 

Antidepressants are meant to be taken for a long period of time and they slowly start to kick in. 

Now, you can imagine that a drug, which takes time to make changes in your body and your body becomes dependent on it eventually, will it be that easy to get it out of your system permanently? 

Even if you manage to get all the traces of citalopram out of your body, how will your body learn to survive without it overnight? I think that’s the real question. 

What are the consequences of getting citalopram out of your system faster?

When getting the drug out of your system comes into mind, the first step to do is to discontinue using it. Some people think that if they just stop using citalopram directly, it will take less time to get it out of your system as compared to people who taper it off slowly. 

Well, those people are tapering it down for a reason and should opt for that too. Citalopram is not that easy to discontinue. 

The rise in serotonin concentration can not only become dependent on this antidepressant, but your actual cells stop releasing this excitatory neurotransmitter without the presence of your antidepressant. 

This makes your body’s own physiological function of releasing serotonin insufficient. When you stop taking this antidepressant suddenly or over a short period of time, this makes your body deficient in serotonin. 

Your brain literally waits for the drug in order to release this chemical, but as you have stopped taking it, it doesn’t happen. Instead, your cells start craving serotonin and don’t take its deficiency too well. 

This makes you go through the disturbing symptoms associated with Citalopram-discontinuation syndrome. 

Citalopram-Discontinuation Syndrome occurs when you stop using citalopram after continuous treatment. This syndrome can take a dreadful turn if you have been taking this antidepressant for a long time.

The signs and symptoms associated with Citalopram-Discontinuation Syndrome include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Gastrointestinal side effects 
  • Headaches
  • Emotional stress or constant crying
  • Inability to concentrate or think clearly 
  • Forgetfulness 
  • Awkward behaviour 
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Fever with chills
  • Feeling suffocated with excessive sweating 
  • Insomnia or somnolence 
  • Nightmares

The above mentioned symptoms are the most common symptoms associated with sudden citalopram withdrawal. As stated earlier, it can take a deadly turn if you have been taking this antidepressant for a long period of time. 

It can lead to hospitalisation and it may cause a relapse of your mental health condition for which you have been taking citalopram. 

How to get citalopram out of your system safely?

Dose tapering is an important technique for the withdrawal of antidepressants, in a safe and effective manner. Antidepressants are known to produce dependence. 

As we know, SSRIs increase the availability of serotonin. So, if you abruptly stop taking it, your receptors which are dependent on it will start to have a major impact of serotonin deficiency.

This is why dose tapering is important. It is a safe and effective method to withdraw SSRIs. Your healthcare provider simply just reduces the dose of your antidepressant. 

It enables you to start taking medicine in lesser quantities without completely depriving your receptors of serotonin. After spending a week or two, the med is on its lowest possible dose and now it is considered safe for you to stop using it.

Instead of stopping it cold turkey, consult your healthcare provider. Your doctor gradually decreases the dose over the period of weeks, to ensure safe and effective withdrawal of citalopram and other SSRIs. 

Never stop your meds, especially those which produce addiction and tolerance, without your doctor’s approval, otherwise you will suffer from discontinuation syndrome.

Different factors affect the duration of your withdrawal symptoms. One of these factors include the half-life of the drug. Drugs with longer half lives produce withdrawal symptoms for a longer period of time. Half life of citalopram is 30-36 hours. 

Most people experience the first symptoms of withdrawal within one to three days after their last dose. Even if you taper off, you may still experience some symptoms. 

During days four to five, the symptoms may become more intense, depending on the dose you were on and the duration of your therapy. Some people experience dizziness, nausea, shakiness and fever. 

Your symptoms will gradually start to fade away in a week or two. It, too, depends on how your body reacts to this withdrawal. 

It is extremely important to follow your taper schedule vigilantly. It may take longer than you think it should, but it’s important to go slowly, so your brain has enough time to adjust the doses. 

Within a few weeks, it will be safe to stop using your med. Don’t mess up your taper schedule, if you wish to prevent discontinuation syndrome and the disturbing symptoms that come with it.

What is the importance of dose tapering?

Dose tapering is important in so many ways. It enables you to stop using your med safely and makes your body adjust with lower doses first before completely depriving it of the support that comes from citalopram. The importance of tapering your dose include:

Better tolerability 

The aim to achieve better tolerability of citalopram is one of the reasons why the dose is reduced. It is recommended to start your treatment from the lowest effective dose in order to ensure safety and Tolerability of citalopram. 

However, you can not stay on the lower dose as it is not usually sufficient enough to counteract the symptoms of your mental health condition. So the dose is eventually increased. This increased dose may not be tolerated by some of the people. 

Experts suggest that some people suffer from unusual side effects when their dose is escalated for the first time. Make sure you immediately report to your healthcare provider if you exhibit any sign of an allergic reaction or any unusual side effect when your dose is increased. 

Lesser side effects 

Your healthcare provider may reduce your citalopram dose if you suffer from increased side effects. This is because when a person is new to antidepressants, there is no way to predict how his or her body will react to these meds. 

Antidepressants increase the amount of excitatory neurotransmitters to counteract the symptoms of depression. Now this excessive neuronal activity makes people respond in different ways.

If your doctor notices that you’re presented with more side effects at a higher dose, he or she tones it down to give your body more time to adjust to this med at a lower dose. 

This effect is also seen when the dose is increased after a week or two of the treatment. Some people develop unusual and new side effects when their dose is increased for the first time. 

Safe withdrawal 

The biggest reason behind dose reduction is citalopram withdrawal. When it’s time to stop using this antidepressant, your doctor slowly starts to taper down your dose every 2 to 3 weeks. 

This time duration depends on a lot of factors including the duration of your treatment with citalopram, the dose from which you’re starting to taper off and the fact that how well you can do with decreased dose of citalopram. 


In this blog post, we have discussed how to get citalopram out of your system faster. Citalopram is an antidepressant which is used to treat a variety of mental health related problems. 

This medication takes time to work and makes your body dependent on it. There is no easy and faster way to get citalopram out of your system. The antidepressant will take its time to leave your body. 

The duration of your treatment plays an important role here because the longer the treatment duration, the longer it will take your body to adjust without citalopram. Make sure you properly follow your doctor’s assigned taper schedule if you wish to get off citalopram safely.

FAQs: how to get citalopram out of your system faster

How quickly does citalopram leave your system?

The half-life of citalopram is 30-35 hours, which means that it usually takes a day for the drug’s concentration to reduce to half the original amount. In another 30-35 hours, the drug’s concentration is further reduced to half of the remaining amount. 

What helps with withdrawal symptoms from citalopram?

  • Give your body time to adapt. Your body needs time to get used to the absence of medication. SSRIs are known to produce addiction and your body actually craves it. 
  • Diet is a crucial part of your lifestyle. It has the potential to make your life better or worse. Diet is one of the best ways to boost your serotonin. 
  • Exercise is a beneficial addition to your lifestyle. It helps you in so many ways. Make sure you workout at least 3 to 4 times a week. 
  • Research shows a close relationship between sunlight and serotonin levels in your body. Go for a walk in the morning or afternoon to boost your serotonin and to enhance your sleep quality. 
  • Drink plenty of water. Water clears out toxins from your body. Try making a detox water by adding your favourite fruits in it.
  • Psychotherapy can be useful for people battling with negative emotions. Such therapy can take all the negative energy in you and convert it into positive thoughts.

How long does it take to get antidepressants out of your system?

It depends on the half life of the antidepressant you are taking, after which your drug reduces to half. The process repeats until the drug is completely out of your system. 

Does your brain go back to normal after antidepressants?

Your brain does go back to normal after you stop using antidepressants, but it takes time and this time taken depends on the duration of your antidepressant therapy. It could take up to 10 months to go back to your normal serotonin levels, after long-term antidepressant therapy.

Can citalopram be taken intermittently?

Citalopram can be taken intermittently only when it is used for the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). In case of mental health illnesses, it should be taken daily and right on time in order to achieve the maximum therapeutic outcomes. 


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