Celexa vs. Lexapro

Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram) are the most commonly used drugs for the treatment of depression. Both Lexapro and Celexa belong to the same class of antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). However, serotonin is a substance present in your brain, which controls your mood.

The main difference between Celexa and Lexapro is their dosing range. The equivalent dose of Lexapro is almost half of Celexa, such as the dosing range of Lexapro is 10 to 20mg per day whereas the dosing range of Celexa is 20 to 40mg per day.
Another main difference between Celexa and Lexapro is their chemical composition or arrangement of atoms. Celexa consists of a mixture of two stereo-isomers, R-Citalopram and S-Citalopram. Stereo-isomers have the same chemical formula but they differ in the arrangement of atoms. On the other hand, Lexapro consists of only one isomer, S-Citalopram.

Comparison chart

Basis               Lexapro Celexa
Generic Name escitalopram Citalopram
Used for Depression, anxiety, or panic disorder Depression, alcoholism, panic disorder, hot flashes, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, anxiety
Price Lowest rate $7.90 Lowest rate$4.00
Dosage forms Pills and liquid Pills
Strength 10mg, 20mg, and 40mg in the morning or evening Mostly 10 mg once in the morning or evening daily
Improves mood Lexapro is good for treating anxiety and depression Celexa is also good for treating anxiety and depression
Drug type SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor)
Safe during pregnancy Lexapro is not safe during pregnancy It can cause complications during the third trimester
Generic available Yes Yes
Prescription-only Yes Yes
Possible side effects Tiredness, poor mood, fever, headache, suicidal thinking, abnormal bleeding Nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, headache, tiredness or poor mood

What Is Celexa?

Celexa is the brand name of citalopram which belongs to the antidepressant medication type called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). It is used for treating depression, and it works by preventing the uptake of a neurotransmitter, serotonin, by nerve cells after it has released.

Celexa (citalopram) was approved by the FDA in 1998 for the treatment of depression and manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals. However, it is highly recommended by the FDA not to go beyond 40mg for citalopram per day.

Celexa is a mixture of two isomers, R-citalopram and S-citalopram, and it is available in tablet dosage form only.

Dosage of Celexa

The starting dose is 20mg can be taken in the morning or evening mostly, and it can be increased to 40mg after one week. We can take it with or without food. It will take 1 to 4 weeks to feel better and see the benefits of citalopram, so you are supposed to continue your medicine even if you are feeling well.

Celexa and Pregnancy

Celexa may cause complications in the third trimester during pregnancy; the only exception is when the doctor prescribes the drug when its benefits outweigh the hazards.

It is the drug that passes into breast milk and may cause adverse effects in the infant.

Side Effects of Celexa

Some common side effects of citalopram are

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting

Symptoms of withdrawal include dizziness, tiredness, dreams, or poor mood.

Some serious side effects of citalopram are

  • Bleeding
  • Seizures
  • Shaking
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Changes in sexual ability
  • Black stools

Serious allergic problem is rare but concern to the doctor immediately If you develop any of these symptoms

  • Rash
  • Swelling or itching ( on face, tongue and throat)
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is a brand name of escitalopram which is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder. It is a medication type called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Lexapro works by increasing the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain, which helps in maintaining the mental balance.

The Company Forest Laboratories prepares Lexapro. However, the FDA  (Food and drug administration) approved the drug in the year 2002. Later in 2012, the FDA approved the first generic name of Lexapro, escitalopram which is available in different strengths and made by Teva Pharmaceutical and IVAX Pharmaceuticals.

Dosage of Lexapro

The starting dosage of Lexapro for the treatment of depression in adults is mostly 10mg once in the morning or evening daily. This dose can be increased to 20mg once daily after one week.  The benefits may not be seen unless the treatment has been given up for 4 weeks. The dose for the treatment of anxiety disorder is 10mg once daily.

Lexapro and Pregnancy

Lexapro should not be used during pregnancy, and it can cause harm to a developing fetus. It can cause health problems for babies after birth, especially when women take pills during the last few months of pregnancy. Pregnant women and breastfeeding women should take Lexapro if the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks.

Lexapro Side Effects               

Some common side effects are

  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea

Some serious side effects are

  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Suicidal thinking
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Panic attacks
  • Hallucinations mean seeing something or hearing some voices which do not exists
  • Impulsiveness
  • Fever

Key differences between Celexa and Lexapro

  1. Lexapro is the brand version of escitalopram, whereas Celexa is the brand version of citalopram.
  2. Celexa is a mixture of two isomers, R-citalopram and S-citalopram, whereas Lexapro consists of only one isomer, S-citalopram.
  3. Celexa and Lexapro belong to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) type antidepressants which are used for the treatment of depression.
  4. Celexa was approved in 1998 by the FDA and Lexapro was approved in 2002 by the FDA.
  5. Celexa and Lexapro are not recommended during pregnancy.
  6. Celexa is available in tablet form whereas Lexapro available in pills and liquid form.
  7. The dosing range of Lexapro is almost half of Celexa.
  8. Lexapro may be more effective as compared to other SSRIs, including Celexa, for the treatment of depression.

Comparison Video


Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram) both are SSRIs type antidepressant which is used to treat depression and anxiety disorders. Both these medicines may have some side effects and warnings, but there are some differences between these medicines which include dosage range. However, before using them, concern your doctor first, as it is difficult to find the right medication to treat your citalopram depression.

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