Blog/Everyday Health

Understanding the Key Differences: Celexa vs. Lexapro

Wondering how Celexa vs. Lexapro compare? Find out here with our comprehensive article on the two antidepressants!

Are you struggling to choose between Celexa and Lexapro? Do you find yourself wondering what sets these two medications apart? Look no further! In this article, we will delve into the differences between Celexa and Lexapro. By understanding these distinctions, you can make an informed decision about which medication may be more suitable for your needs. So, let’s explore the intriguing world of Celexa and Lexapro and discover their unique characteristics.

Overview of Celexa and Lexapro

Celexa and Lexapro are medicines recommended by doctors to assist with mental health-related disorders including depression and anxiety issues. These medications are from a class of prescription drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Celexa is also known as citalopram, it is available in tablet form, which requires once-daily administration. Meanwhile, Lexapro is known as escitalopram, which you can take daily in tablet or liquid form.

How do they work?

Celexa and Lexapro operate by enhancing the levels of serotonin in the brain, an important chemical messenger that regulates mood and emotions.

These medications inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, allowing more of it to be available in the brain. By doing so, they can alleviate symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

It is important to mention that while Celexa and Lexapro have similar mechanisms of action, Lexapro is generally considered to be more potent and typically requires a lower dosage compared to Celexa. This distinction can influence the choice of medication based on an individual’s specific needs and response to treatment.

How to Take Lexapro and Celexa

Typically, both Lexapro and Celexa are consumed once daily and can be taken with or without food. To ensure consistent levels in the body, it is important to take the medication at the same time every day. It is strongly advised not to crush, chew, or break the tablets; rather, it is recommended to swallow them whole with a glass of water.

Overall, taking Lexapro or Celexa as directed by your healthcare provider can help you safely and effectively manage your symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Side effects of Celexa

It is crucial to have knowledge of the potential side effects when taking Celexa. Though not everyone will experience adverse effects, having an awareness of what they could be is crucial. These are the critical points to consider regarding the likely side effects of Celexa:

Common Side Effects:

Some common side effects of Celexa include:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased sweating
  • Constipation

Temporary Nature:

These common side effects are usually temporary and tend to diminish over time as the body adjusts to the medication. If these symptoms persist or become bothersome, it is advisable to consult with your healthcare provider.

Less Common Side Effects:

Celexa may also cause less common side effects, which may include:

  • Agitation or nervousness
  • Headache
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty reaching orgasm
  • Excessive yawning
  • Weight gain or loss

Serious Side Effects:

While rare, there are some potential serious side effects of Celexa that require immediate medical attention. These include:

Serotonin syndrome:

This condition can occur if there is an excess of serotonin in the body, leading to symptoms such as hallucinations, confusion, fever, rapid heart rate, and seizures.

Individual Variations:

It is important to note that individuals may experience side effects differently. Some individuals may have a higher tolerance for the medication, while others may be more sensitive. Monitoring your symptoms and informing your healthcare provider about any changes is essential.

Lexapro Side effects

Lexapro can cause mild side effects like diarrhea, drowsiness, and problems with ejaculation, headache, and trouble sleeping, feeling sick, and delayed ejaculation. These side effects should get better as your body gets used to the medication.

Serious side effects:

Although rare, it’s good to be aware of serious side effects that can happen with Lexapro. These include seizures, periods of abnormally high mood, serotonin syndrome (a dangerous condition with confusion, fast heart rate, fever, sweating, shaking, and muscle stiffness), and thoughts of self-harm. If you notice any unusual or severe symptoms, it’s important to seek medical help right away.

Long-term use:

For most people, Lexapro is considered safe to use for a long time. Studies and experience have shown that the benefits of treating depression usually outweigh the potential risks of side effects. However, it’s important to keep in touch with your doctor to monitor your progress and check for any long-term effects.

Remember, not everyone will have side effects, and people respond differently to medications. It’s crucial to have open communication with your doctor to address any concerns or side effects properly.

Benefits of Celexa and lexapro

Here are the benefits of Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram) :

Benefits of Celexa (citalopram):

Treatment for depression and anxiety:

Celexa is a medication primarily used to treat depression and various anxiety disorders.

This medicine works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which reduces symptoms of anxiety.

Improves how you feel overall:

Celexa can help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety, which makes you feel better in general.  It increases your energy levels, boosts your mood, helps you focus better, and makes daily activities more enjoyable.

Suitable for long-term use:

Celexa is generally safe to use for a long time. It can be helpful for people who need ongoing treatment for chronic or recurring depression. Taking Celexa regularly can help maintain symptom relief and prevent the return of depression or anxiety.

Benefits of Lexapro (escitalopram):

Treatment for depression and anxiety:

Lexapro is a medication used to treat anxiety disorders and depression. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which helps regulate emotions and improve depressive symptoms while reducing anxiety-related symptoms.

Improves mood and quality of life:

Lexapro can significantly improve your mood and overall quality of life. It helps lessen sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness so you can feel better and enjoy your daily activities more.

Reduces anxiety symptoms:

Lexapro is particularly effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders. By addressing anxiety, Lexapro helps reduce excessive worrying, restlessness, irritability, and other anxiety-related symptoms.

Helps prevent future episodes:

Lexapro is good for long-term treatment and can help prevent another episode of depression or anxiety. By relieving symptoms, Lexapro supports long-term well-being and lowers the risk of future episodes.

Proven to be safe:

Celexa and Lexapro have been thoroughly studied and considered safe when used as directed. However, it’s important to know that all medications have some risk of side effects. It’s essential to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and let them know if you have any concerns or experience any side effects.

Can be used with other treatments:

Both Celexa and Lexapro can be used together with other treatments like therapy or counseling. Combining medication with therapy can provide a more comprehensive approach to managing depression or anxiety, leading to better results.

It’s important to remember that the benefits of Celexa and Lexapro can vary from person to person, and different factors must be considered when deciding the best treatment option for you. Do not forget to consult your doctor for advice and guidance regarding your condition.

Celexa vs. Lexapro: How Long to Work?

It usually takes a few weeks for these medications to start working and improve symptoms. Some people may see improvements sooner, while others may need to wait longer. It’s important to be patient and keep taking the medication as prescribed, even if you don’t notice immediate results.

If you have been taking Celexa or Lexapro for a long time and haven’t noticed any improvement in your symptoms, it’s crucial to speak with your doctor. They might need to change your dosage, switch you to a different medicine, or consider other treatment options.

It’s important to understand that these medications may not work for everyone, and it can take time to find the right one for you. Keeping in regular contact with your doctor is essential to track your progress and make any needed adjustments to your treatment plan.

Choosing the Right Depression Treatment: Celexa or Lexapro?

They both belong to a group of medicines called SSRIs, which help increase a chemical called serotonin in the brain. However, there are some differences between the two that you should know about to decide which one might be better for you.

  • Celexa, also known as citalopram, has been used for a long time to treat depression. It has a good track record; most people can use it without problems.
  • Celexa also comes in a cheaper generic form, which might be a good option for some people. But it’s important to tell your doctor about any other medicines you take, as Celexa can interact with them.
  • On the other hand, Lexapro, also known as escitalopram, is a newer medicine that is often considered a better version of Celexa.
  • It is more powerful, meaning you might need a lower dose of Lexapro than Celexa to get the same benefits. This can lead to fewer side effects for some people. Lexapro also has a better side effect profile, with fewer problems like sexual issues and weight gain compared to Celexa.

To decide if you should take Celexa or Lexapro, your doctor will consider your symptoms, medical history, and what you prefer. They can give you advice based on their knowledge and experience.


In conclusion, when deciding between Celexa and Lexapro for treating depression, it’s important to consider what you need. Both medications belong to the same group of drugs and work by increasing serotonin in the brain.

Ultimately, the best treatment option can be different for each person. You can make a smart decision by talking to a healthcare provider. By understanding the differences between Celexa and Lexapro, you can choose the medication that will help relieve your depression symptoms and improve your life.

By Dr. Susan Levy, MD

  • Education: – B.A., Connecticut College, M.A., JFK University Ph.D., Oregon State University
  • Professional Memberships: Society for Behavioral Medicine, American College of Sports Medicine, North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity
  • Research Areas: My research interests focus on examining motivation for exercise adoption and maintenance, with a particular interest in the role of self-perceptions on exercise behaviors. My research has recently addressed exercise and physical activity patterns of middle-aged and older adults with arthritis. This work has been conducted in collaboration with faculty from the Graduate School of Public Health. I am also interested in measurement issues and statistical designs best suited to the assessment of related constructs.