If you have depression, your doctor might suggest Celexa as a treatment option for you. Celexa is a prescription drug used to treat depression in adults ages 18 years and over. It comes as a tablet that you swallow.

Celexa is part of a group of drugs called antidepressants. It is also part of a smaller group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

The active ingredient in Celexa is citalopram. An active ingredient is what makes a drug work. Citalopram is also the generic version of Celexa. Generics are exact copies of the active drug in the brand-name medication.

This article describes the dosages of Celexa, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Celexa, see this in-depth article.

Note: This article covers Celexa’s usual dosages, which are provided by the drugmaker. But when taking Celexa, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.

The information below is about Celexa’s usual dosages.

Note: This table highlights the basics of Celexa’s dosage. It lists Celexa’s strengths in milligrams (mg). Be sure to read on for more detail.

Celexa formCelexa strengthsCelexa starting dosageCelexa dosage range
tablet• 10 mg
• 20 mg
• 40 mg
20 mg once per day20 mg to 40 mg once per day

What is the form of Celexa?

Celexa comes as a tablet that you swallow.

What strengths do Celexa tablets come in?

Celexa tablets come in the following strengths:

  • 10 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 40 mg

These tablets may be scored, which means they have a line through the middle. In some cases, this line is used as a guide to cut a pill in half. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before trying this.

What are the usual dosages of Celexa?

Your doctor will likely start by prescribing you a low dosage of Celexa. They may adjust it over time to reach the right amount for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the lowest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The information below describes dosages that are commonly recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for depression

Your doctor will usually start your dosage for depression at 20 mg once per day.

After a week, your doctor may begin to increase your dosage. The goal is to reach a therapeutic dose. This is the dosage that provides the desired effect, such as fewer or less severe symptoms. There’s no recommended “normal” or average dose to reach therapeutic levels. Your doctor will prescribe a dosage that meets your individual needs.

The recommended maximum dose per day for depression treatment is 40 mg. Higher doses than this may increase the risk of side effects. (To learn more about Celexa’s side effects, read this article.)

For some groups of people, the highest dosage prescribed may be different than the recommended maximum dosage. To learn more, see the “Dosage adjustments” section below.

What’s the dosage of Celexa for children?

Celexa is sometimes prescribed off-label for children. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for. The Celexa doses for children are often lower than doses for adults.

If your child’s doctor prescribes Celexa, they’ll choose a dosage based on their knowledge and experience. The dosage will depend on your child’s age and the condition being treated. For example, dosages are sometimes different for children in the age range of 7 to 11 years.

Celexa has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children. So if your child’s doctor prescribes Celexa, they’ll usually monitor your child closely. For details, see “Boxed warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults” at the top of this article.

Is Celexa taken long term?

Yes, Celexa is usually taken as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.

If you’re interested in stopping Celexa, talk with your doctor first. They’ll prescribe you a taper schedule to slowly reduce your dosage. This may decrease the risk of certain side effects. To learn more about stopping Celexa, see the “Celexa and withdrawal” section below.

Dosage adjustments

Your doctor may continue prescribing you Celexa’s starting dose (20 mg per day) if you:

  • are age 60 years or older
  • take certain medications that interact with Celexa (for more details, see this article)
  • break down Celexa more slowly in your body (this may be determined by a genetic test)
  • have liver problems, which may affect how your body breaks down Celexa

Your doctor may lower your Celexa dosage if you have side effects when taking higher dosages. To learn more about Celexa’s side effects, read this article.

The dosage of Celexa you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • the kind and severity of the condition you’re taking the drug to treat
  • your age
  • other conditions you may have (see “Dosage adjustments” just above)

Before prescribing Celexa, your doctor may ask whether you’ve experienced episodes of mania. This is because Celexa may cause mania, especially in people with bipolar disorder. Mania is a condition that causes an unusually elevated mood (euphoria), hyperactivity, and possibly delusions. And bipolar disorder is a condition that causes periods of mania or depression.

Your doctor may not recommend Celexa for you if you have a history (or family history) of manic episodes.

Your doctor may also ask whether you’re taking any medications that are known to interact with Celexa. For more information about Celexa’s interactions, see this article.

You’ll usually take a Celexa tablet by swallowing it. You can take it with or without food.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Celexa, see this article.

If you have trouble swallowing tablets, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.

Accessible drug containers and labels

If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to supply Celexa in an easy-open container. They may also have tips to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.

If you miss a Celexa dose, take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s nearly time for your next dose, take the next dose as scheduled. Do not take two doses at once.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Celexa on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Do not take more Celexa than your doctor prescribes. This can lead to serious side effects. To learn more about Celexa’s side effects, read this article.

Symptoms of overdose

Celexa overdose symptoms can include:

What to do in case you take too much Celexa

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Celexa. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

Stopping Celexa too quickly may cause discontinuation syndrome. With this condition, you experience a group of symptoms after stopping antidepressants, such as Celexa.

Discontinuation syndrome is different from withdrawal symptoms that occur after stopping opiates, a group of drugs different from the one Celexa belongs to. (Withdrawal is a set of symptoms that can occur when you stop taking a drug your body has become dependent on.)

Symptoms of discontinuation syndrome include:

If you and your doctor decide that you need to stop taking Celexa, they’ll give you a taper schedule. This is a slow lowering of your dosage. A taper schedule helps avoid discontinuation syndrome.

For more information about safely stopping Celexa or reducing your dosage, talk with your doctor.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drugmaker. If your doctor recommends Celexa for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Celexa without your doctor’s recommendation. Only take Celexa exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage. (To review the recommended dosages, see the “What is Celexa’s dosage?” section above.)

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • What are some possible reasons why my dosage might stay at 20 milligrams (mg) per day?
  • Would prescribing a lower dosage of Celexa reduce my risk of side effects?
  • How slowly do I need to reduce my Celexa dosage to avoid discontinuation syndrome? (For details, see the “Celexa and withdrawal” section above.)
  • If I start taking another medication, will you change my Celexa dosage?

To learn more about Celexa, see these articles:

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.