How can I minimize the side effects of Celexa in my child?

There are several ways you can help minimize your child's side effects from Celexa (citalopram), an antidepressant approved for treating depression in adults that is sometimes prescribed "off-label" to treat depression and other mental health issues in children. Here are steps to try:
  • Before your child starts Celexa, talk to his doctor about your family medical history and your child's history of mental and physical problems. Certain conditions may make side effects more likely.
  • Give your child's doctor a list of your child's medications (prescription and nonprescription) and dietary and herbal supplements. Some drugs and supplements may interact with Celexa, possibly causing side effects. Once your child begins taking Celexa, do not let him take any new medicine or supplement without checking with the doctor first.
  • Make sure your child takes Celexa according to the doctor's directions -- not more or less or more or less frequently than prescribed. Do not allow him to stop taking Celexa without talking to the doctor first. Stopping Celexa abruptly may lead to withdrawal symptoms.
  • Keep appointments with your child's doctor. The doctor may want to monitor him closely, especially at the beginning of treatment, to see how he responds to Celexa, to adjust the dose if necessary, to keep tabs on his growth (which may be affected by taking Celexa) and to watch for side effects.
Call your child's doctor at the first sign of side effects, which may include:
  • changes in mood or behavior (worsening depression, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, aggressive or violent behavior, extreme worry, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, agitation, restlessness or trouble falling or staying asleep)
  • symptoms of potential heart problems (chest pain, fast or slow heartbeat, difficulty breathing, dizziness or fainting)
  • symptoms of allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, rash, hives, blisters on the skin or swelling of the face, tongue, eyes and/or mouth)
  • fatigue or excessive drowsiness
  • seizures or convulsions
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • changes in appetite and/or weight
  • low salt levels in the blood (which may cause headache, weakness, unsteadiness, confusion or memory problems)
  • hallucinations or other changes in mental status
  • coordination problems or muscle twitching or stiffness
  • racing heartbeat
  • changes in blood pressure
  • sweating
  • fever
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.