Celexa's Dosage: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Amber R. Watson, PharmD

This drug has a boxed warning Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source , the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

The risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors may increase in people younger than age 25 years using antidepressants. (These are medications for depression.) Celexa is a type of antidepressant.

During treatment with Celexa, tell your doctor right away if you have thoughts of harming yourself. Additionally, let them know right away if you have mood or behavior changes.

It is also important to note that Celexa is not approved for use in children.

If you take medications for depression and have concerns about taking Celexa, talk with your doctor.

Celexa: Introduction

Celexa is a brand-name prescription medication that contains the active drug citalopram. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Celexa is available in a generic form.

This medication has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat a type of depression in adults. Specifically, it’s used to treat major depressive disorder.

In this article, you’ll find additional information about Celexa’s dosage and details on how to take the drug. For a comprehensive overview of Celexa, view this article.

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking Celexa, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

This article describes typical recommended dosages for Celexa. These dosages are provided by the drug’s manufacturer.

Always follow the dosage of Celexa that your doctor prescribes.

Celexa: Dosage

Commonly recommended dosages for Celexa are shown below. Your doctor will prescribe the Celexa dosage that’s right for you.

Celexa’s form and strengths

Celexa comes as an oral tablet. It is available in strengths of 10 milligrams (mg), 20 mg, and 40 mg.

Typical recommended dosages

Usually, doctors will prescribe a low dosage of Celexa at the start of treatment. Then, they’ll adjust the dosage over time if needed. Ultimately, your doctor will prescribe the smallest dosage of Celexa that gives the desired effect.

Celexa dosage for major depressive disorder

Below is an overview of Celexa’s recommended dosage for major depressive disorder. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Celexa that’s right for your condition.

  • Starting dosage: The usual starting dosage of Celexa is 20 mg once per day for at least 1 week.
  • Maintenance dosage range: Celexa’s maintenance dosage ranges from 20 mg to 40 mg once per day. Your doctor will prescribe the maintenance dosage that’s right for you.
  • Maximum dosage: The recommended maximum dosage of Celexa is 40 mg once per day. However, depending on certain factors, your doctor may not increase your dosage above 20 mg once per day.

Children’s dosage

Celexa is not approved for use in children.

Length of treatment

Doctors typically prescribe Celexa as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Celexa: Common questions about dosage

Below are some common questions related to Celexa’s dosage.

Do doctors prescribe Celexa for anxiety? If so, what is Celexa’s dosage for anxiety?

Celexa is not approved to treat anxiety. For this reason, the drug’s manufacturer doesn’t have a recommended dosage for anxiety.

Taking Celexa to treat anxiety would be an off-label use. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose different from what it is approved to treat.

A clinical study Trusted Source Wiley Peer reviewed journal Go to source from 2003 noted a decrease in anxiety symptoms in people taking citalopram to treat depression. (Citalopram is the active drug in Celebrex.) If you have depression and anxiety, Celexa may be an option for you.

Talk with your doctor if you’d like more information about treating anxiety or taking Celexa.

Is Celexa prescribed in 10-mg or 5-mg doses?

A 5-milligram (mg) or 10-mg dose of Celexa might be prescribed. However, the usual starting dosage to treat major depressive disorder is 20 mg, taken once per day. Your doctor will prescribe the dosage of Celexa that’s right for your condition. The dosage will also depend on how your body responds to Celexa.

Some clinical studies Trusted Source International Journal of Obesity Peer reviewed journal Go to source reported that 10-mg doses of citalopram treated depression better than a placebo. (Citalopram is the active drug in Celexa. A placebo is a treatment without an active drug.) However, the studies found the 10-mg dose was less effective than a typical dose of 20 mg to 40 mg.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe a dosage of Celebrex that’s lower than the usual dosage. This may occur if you have liver problems. It also may occur if your body has trouble metabolizing (breaking down) Celexa. Additionally, your doctor may lower your dosage if you have certain side effects during treatment.

It’s possible that doctors may prescribe Celexa off-label at lower starting doses to treat conditions other than major depressive disorder. (With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose different from what it is approved to treat.) For more information about off-label uses of Celexa, see this article.

What’s the highest dosage, lowest dosage, and normal dosage for Celexa?

Celexa has a recommended dosage range. The highest dosage in this range is 40 mg once per day. The lowest dosage in this range is 20 mg once per day. The average dosage falls between the lowest and highest dosages in the recommended dosage range.

The normal dosage refers to the usual dosage, which starts with 20 mg once per day. After about 1 week, your doctor may adjust your dosage. This adjustment will depend on how your body responds to Celexa and any side effects you may have.

For more information about Celexa’s dosages for its approved use, see the “Celexa: Dosage” section above.

Celexa: Dosage considerations

Your doctor will consider several factors when prescribing the dosage for Celexa. These factors include:

  • your age
  • the condition you’re taking Celexa to treat
  • the severity of your condition

Your prescribed dosage also may vary based on other medical conditions you have.

Recommended adjustments in dosage

Your doctor may prescribe a dosage of Celexa lower than usual in any of the following situations:

  • if you have liver problems
  • if your body has trouble metabolizing (breaking down) the drug
  • if you are older than 60 years of age

Celexa: How to take

Celexa comes as an oral tablet. You’ll swallow the tablet with or without food.

Celexa 20-milligram (mg) and 40-mg tablets have score lines. They can be used to split the tablets evenly for your dose, if necessary. The manufacturer of Celexa doesn’t state whether the tablets can be chewed or crushed.

If you have difficulty swallowing tablets, view this article. It provides suggestions on how to take this form of medication. Also, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about taking your medication.


If you find it challenging to read the label on your prescription, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Certain pharmacies provide medication labels with large print or braille. They also may offer labels containing a scannable code that your smartphone can convert from text to speech. If your pharmacy doesn’t provide these choices, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend a pharmacy that does.

If it’s difficult for you to open medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can dispense Celexa in an easy-open container. They also may recommend ways to help make it easier to open the bottles.

Celexa: Missing a dose

If you miss a dose of Celexa, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip your missed dose. Then, take your next dose at the usual time. Do not take two doses at a time to make up for a missed dose.

View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm or download a reminder app on your phone.

Celexa: Overdose

If you take more than the recommended dosage of Celexa, serious effects can occur. Do not take more Celexa than your doctor prescribes.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms that an overdose of Celexa could cause include:

What to do in case of overdose

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or a local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Celexa: Withdrawal and dependence

If you stop taking Celexa too quickly, you may have withdrawal symptoms. With withdrawal, you have side effects when stopping a medication on which your body is physically dependent. (Dependence means your body needs a drug to function like usual.)

With antidepressants, such as Celexa, withdrawal is sometimes called discontinuation syndrome. Some symptoms of discontinuation syndrome include:

If you need to stop taking Celexa, talk with your doctor first. Your doctor will decrease your dosage slowly to help prevent you from having symptoms of withdrawal or discontinuation syndrome.

Celexa: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist for additional information about Celexa’s dosage. Keep in mind that the dosages presented in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. Your doctor will recommend the dosage of Celexa that’s right for you and your condition. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any medications you’re taking, do not change your Celexa dosage without a recommendation from your doctor.

In addition to discussing Celexa with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more.

  • Overview of Celexa. For comprehensive details on Celexa, see this article.
  • Drug comparisons. To learn how Celexa compares with Lexapro, read this article. For a comparison of Celexa and Zoloft, see this article.
  • Details about depression. To learn more about depression or major depressive disorder, which Celexa is used to treat, see this article.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades 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.

Medical Reviewer: Amber R. Watson, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2022 Nov 5
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