Sex Rx: Celexa and Your Sex Life
Citalopram is widely used in the United States. This medication is FDA approved for treatment of depression . Some doctors may prescribe citalopram to treat other psychiatric conditions also. While Celexa is effective in treating these major depression, it has been associated with sexual problems.
How Citalopram WorksCitalopram is one of a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications work by increasing the activity of the brain chemical serotonin, which helps regulate mood.
Other Drugs of This Class (SSRIs):
Possible Sexual Side Effects Associated with CitalopramMen or women may experience sexual side effects, such as:
- Decreased sexual desire
- Difficulty with sexual arousal
- Difficulty reaching orgasm or inability to reach orgasm
- Erection impairment in men
- Delayed ejaculation
How This Medication Can Affect Sexual FunctionIt is not yet clear how SSRIs affect sexual function. The effects are believed to be related to the increased level of serotonin, which may affect sexual reflex centers.
Treatment OptionsThere are a number of alternative treatment options available if you are dissatisfied with your sexual functioning while taking citalopram. But, it is important to talk with your doctor about your concerns first. Although it can be very difficult and embarrassing to discuss your sexual functioning, it is crucial that you communicate with your doctor about it. Never make any changes to your medication regimen or start taking new medications or herbal supplements without your doctor’s knowledge and approval. Here are some possibilities that you and your doctor may decide to have you try:
Wait It OutAs you adjust to your new medication, the sexual side effects may go away.
Decrease the DosageThis tactic may work, but carries the risk of a relapse of the depression. Never change your dosage without checking with your doctor first.
Switch MedicationsSince the medical response to SSRIs can vary among people, your doctor will consider the severity of your depression or disorder, as well as your response to the drug before switching to another medication. When switching is appropriate, some options include:
- Bupropion—This antidepressant medication does not affect serotonin. It is less likely than the commonly used SSRIs to cause sexual dysfunction and may actually have prosexual effects. Bupropion is used to treat major depressive disorder, and seasonal affective disorder . It is not recommended for people with eating disorders or seizure disorders .
- Nefazodone—This drug does affect serotonin, but not in the same way as SSRIs. It can be used to treat depression and cause fewer sexual side effects. One of its more troublesome adverse effects is sedation.
- Mirtazapine—This drug is similar to nefazodone in its effect on depression and sexual function. It can also cause sedation.