Celexa Vs. Prozac


Anxiety and depression are common disorders in the US, with 3.1% of people battling generalized anxiety and 7.1% struggling with depression. The most effective treatment for anxiety and depression is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which are often prescribed by mental health practitioners.

Prozac (Fluoxetine) and Celexa (Citalopram) are among the most well-known SSRI antidepressant medications that treat anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. These medications are usually prescribed with psychotherapy. Both medications have been approved by FDA.

About Celexa and Prozac

What is Celexa?

Celexa is among the most common medication prescribed to treat depression among adults. It is usually taken orally every day, and it starts improving the mood within two weeks of taking it. However, it might take longer for many to fully experience the benefits of this medication. It works by increasing serotonin levels, which is a chemical that is responsible for mood regulation.

It is integral to inform your healthcare provider if you currently take or have ever taken the following medications before you start Celexa:

  • Cimetidine
  • Heart problems medicines
  • Medicines for the treatment of treat thought, psychotic, anxiety, or mood disorders, including antipsychotics, amphetamines, SNRIs, SSRIs, lithium, or tricyclics
  • Medicines that reduce the levels of magnesium or potassium in the body
  • Over-the-counter supplements, like St. John's Wort or tryptophan
  • Tramadol
  • Triptans

It is also integral to inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:

  • Bipolar disorder or mania
  • Bleeding problems
  • Heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • History of a stroke
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Low sodium levels in your blood
  • Seizures or convulsions

What conditions is Celexa approved to treat?

It has also been approved to treat depression among adults. It is also used to treat the following off the label:

  • Binge eating disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)

How does Celexa work for Depression?

This antidepressant works for depression by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is the hormone that impacts your mood, metabolism, and sleep. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to anxiety and depression. Celexa help in enhancing serotonin levels. You will notice an improvement in your appetite, energy, and sleep within the first two weeks. This is an integral sign that the medication is working. You will further experience an improvement in the lack of activities and depressed mood within six to eight weeks.

What is Prozac?

Prozac is a medication that is used to treat multiple mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and OCD. It is taken once orally every day and is available in liquid and tablet form. It takes around one to two months to fully experience the benefits of this antidepressant.

It is integral to inform your healthcare provider if you have ever had the following conditions before you start Prozac:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
  • Epilepsy or seizures
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Sexual problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or drug abuse
  • Urination problems

What conditions is Prozac approved to treat?

This medication has been approved by FDA for depression, binge eating, OCD, panic disorder, bipolar depression, and bulimia. Prozac is also used to treat the following off the label:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neurocardiogenic syncope
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Migraine headaches
  • Premature ejaculation

How does Prozac work for Depression?

Just like Celexa, Prozac enhances the levels of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin can have a major impact on your emotions, sleep, and mood. This medication has lower side effects as compared to other antidepressants.


How effective are Celexa and Prozac for treating Depression?

Both these medications have been found to be effective in the treatment of depression. One study showed there wasn’t any major difference between both these antidepressants when it comes to treating depression.

Another study found that both Celexa and Prozac are equally effective in enhancing the quality of sleep among patients with major depressive disorder.

However, the success of any antidepressant medication can vary based on each individual and their unique conditions. Celexa comes in oral and tablet forms, while Prozac comes in oral, capsule, and tablet forms.

While Celexa and Prozac are both SSRI medications, available in both generic and brand forms, Celexa has only been approved for adults. Prozac, on the other hand, has been approved to treat depression among children over eight years and to treat OCD among children over seven years.

Side Effects

What are the most common side effects of Celexa?

Some of the common side effects of this medication include:

  • Constipation
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Impotence
  • Increased urination or sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Sneezing or sore throat
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight changes

Are there any potential serious side effects of Celexa?

Celexa may cause serious side effects including:

  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bleeding or bruising easily
  • Low sodium level in blood
  • Mania or hypomania
  • Seizures
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Suicidal behaviors and thoughts in young adults and children
  • Withdrawal symptoms

* If you experience any of these serious side effects, seek medical help immediately

It is also possible to overdose on Celexa. Some of the common symptoms of Celexa overdose include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Muscle twitches
  • Poor coordination
  • Restlessness

Are there the most common side effects of Prozac?

Prozac might cause mild side effects, like:

  • Constipation
  • Appetite fluctuation
  • Decreased sex drive or sexual dysfunction
  • Cold symptoms, like a stuffy nose
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • High blood pressure
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea

Are there any potential serious side effects of Prozac?

Some patients might experience serious side effects, including:

  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Allergic reactions, skin rash
  • Blood sugar control problems
  • Activation of mania/hypomania
  • Suicidal behaviors and thoughts
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Seizures
  • Low sodium levels
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Impaired motor skills, thinking, and judgment
  • Vision problems

* If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical help immediately

It is also possible to overdose on Prozac; in rare cases, an overdose can be fatal. Some common symptoms of Prozac overdose include:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Rapid, involuntary eye movements
  • Drowsiness
  • Fast heart rate increase

When taken with alcohol, additional difficulties might be experienced with:

  • Balance and coordination
  • Speaking
  • Breathing

Contraindications and Interactions

Warnings and general precautions for Celexa and Prozac

Prozac and Celexa have a black box warning for suicidality, which is the strongest warning highlighted by the FDA. Young adults, adolescents, and children taking antidepressants have a higher risk of suicidal behavior and thoughts. It is integral that all patients taking antidepressant medications are monitored carefully.

Both these medications should not be taken with alcohol as it could result in extreme drowsiness and other severe complications.

Both medications should not be taken together in any situation as they are duplicate therapy that could cause life-threatening conditions known as serotonin syndrome. It is a condition where the body starts producing a high amount of serotonin. The warning signs include agitation, high blood pressure, heart rhythm changes, seizures, and hallucinations. It is crucial to have a two-week washout period before taking one of these medications after the other.

Withdrawal symptoms might occur when you discontinue either of these medications. The most common symptom is agitation. It is integral to note that these medications should never be stopped abruptly and must be slowly tapered.

Another warning associated with Prozac and Celexa is severe hyponatremia, which might cause symptoms like unsteadiness, weakness, confusion, memory impairment, difficulty concentrating, and headache. Celexa and Prozac might result in ventricular arrhythmia and QT prolongation that could prove life-threatening. In rare cases, there have also been reports of allergic reactions that have proved fatal.

Both these antidepressants must only be taken during pregnancy if there is a higher benefit for the mother than the risk for the child.

Contraindications and important interactions for Celexa and Prozac



Both drugs are SSRIs and have similar contraindications. It is integral not to use any Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) within 14 days of using both of these medications. This could enhance the serotonin syndrome risk. Migraine medications, like sumatriptan and other antidepressants must not be taken with Prozac or Celexa. Cough suppressant dextromethorphan, typically in cold and cough products, must also be avoided.

Drug/Medication Interactions


  • Ziprasidone
  • Tranylcypromine
  • Toloxatone
  • Thioridazine
  • Terfenadine
  • Sparfloxacin
  • Selegiline
  • Rasagiline
  • Procarbazine
  • Posaconazole
  • Piperaquine
  • Pimozide
  • Phenelzine
  • Pargyline
  • Nialamide
  • Nelfinavir
  • Moclobemide
  • Metoclopramide
  • Methylene Blue
  • Mesoridazine
  • Linezolid
  • Levomethadyl
  • Levoketoconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Isocarboxazid
  • Iproniazid
  • Furazolidone
  • Fluconazole
  • Dronedarone
  • Clorgyline
  • Cisapride
  • Bromopride
  • Bepridil


  • Migraine headache medicines
  • Blood thinners
  • Other antidepressants
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Anxiety or seizures medications
  • Muscle relaxers
  • Sleeping pills
  • Narcotic pain medicine
  • Sedatives
  • Allergy or cold medicine
  • Seizure medications
  • Vinblastine
  • Nebivolol
  • Haloperidol
  • Flecainide
  • Clozapine
  • Clopidogrel
  • Alprazolam

Food/Beverage/Supplement Interactions


There aren’t any interactions found between Celexa and any food.

Taking this medication with alcohol is not recommended as it could cause side effects like concentration problems, drowsiness, and dizziness. In some cases, the patient might struggle with judgment and thinking issues. It is best to restrict or completely avoid alcohol while taking this antidepressant.

Mixing it with caffeine can also result in negative effects and could end up worsening mental health.

It is best not to use amphetamines, fentanyl, St John's wort, tryptophan, methylene blue injection, lithium, buspirone, or some migraine or pain medicines.


There aren’t any interactions found between Prozac and any food.

Taking Prozac with alcohol can cause severe interactions, causing poor decision-making, risk of injuries and falls, and impaired driving. It can also have similar negative interactions with caffeine.

Certain dietary supplements, like tryptophan St. and John's Wort, may cause harmful symptoms when taken with Prozac.

Cost Comparison

How much do Celexa and Prozac cost?

Many Medicare and other health insurance plans cover Prozac and Celexa. Generic ones would lead to more significant savings as compared to a brand-name product. The average cost of Celexa for a 20 mg generic tablet is around $65. The average cost of a 20 mg generic Prozac table is around $15.

Popularity of Celexa and Prozac

Prozac and Celexa are among the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the US.

Prozac is used by around 20 million people for the treatment of depression and is also among the top five antidepressants prescribed in 2021. Celexa is used by over 18 million US adults and is among the top 20 prescribed antidepressants.



Both Prozac and Celexa have been found to be well-tolerated and effective antidepressants. These medications have proven to be safe and successful in treating depression and other mental health problems. However, Celexa has only been approved for the treatment of depression.

These medications have their set of side effects and severe complications. Therefore, it is integral to consult your healthcare provider to find the right treatment for your depression based on your unique circumstances.

It is also important to note that every individual can react differently to every antidepressant. The best way to determine which antidepressant is best for you is by consulting your doctor.