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20 min read

Celexa (Citalopram) vs. Luvox (Fluvoxamine): Which Should I Take?

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Oct 11, 2022

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

Table of contents

Whether you’re managing anxiety, depression, or both at once, the last thing you want to do is navigate the complex world of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) alone. 

In this article, we’ll compare the details of each medication, how they impact anxiety and depression, side effects, contraindications, and more. If you’d like to learn more about either of these medications, SSRIs, or alternative treatments, the healthcare providers on Klarity can help. 

In as little as 48 hours, we’ll connect you to a certified and licensed medical professional in your state qualified to evaluate, diagnose, and treat your anxiety or depression. Find a provider today.

This article discusses suicide, suicidal ideation, and self-harm. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or is in crisis, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 800-273-8255.

Drug ClassSelective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Brand / Generic StatusBrand name for fluvoxamineBrand name for citalopram
Form(s) of the DrugImmediate release tablets, Extended-release capsules

• Immediate-release capsules
• Immediate-release tablets
• Clear, peppermint-flavored liquid suspension
Standard DosageTablets:
• 25 mg
• 50 mg
• 100 mg

Extended-release capsules:
• 100 mg
• 150 mg
• 30mg dose

• 10 mg
• 20 mg
• 40 mg

Liquid suspension:
• 10mg of citalopram per dose
Conditions TreatedFDA-approved uses:
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Off-label uses:
• Social phobia or social anxiety disorder (SAD)
• Major depressive disorder (MDD)
• Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
• Panic disorder
• Eating disorders
FDA-approved uses:
• Major depressive disorder (MDD)

Off-label uses:
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
• Binge eating disorder
• Alcohol use disorder
• Generalized anxiety disorder
• Panic disorder or PTSD
• Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
• Postmenopausal flushing
• Premature ejaculation
CostGeneric form (fluvoxamine):
• $20 to $46 for a 30-day supply

• $400 for a 30-day supply

Generic (citalopram):
• $2.65 to $18.24 for a 30-day supply

• $4 for 30-day supply*

*With coupon codes or insurance

Side-EffectsCommon side effects:
• Dry mouth
• Fatigue, dizziness
• GI upset, including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation
• Headache
• Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
• Increased anxiety or nervousness
• Increased or excessive sweating

Serious side effects:
• Trouble urinating
• Breathing problems
• Sexual dysfunction, including lack of desire or orgasm
Common side effects:
• Nausea or GI upset
• Dry mouth
• Changes in appetite
• Drowsiness or fatigue
• Increased sweating
• Blurred vision

Serious side effects:
• Worsening depression
• Suicidal ideation
• Serotonin syndrome
• Rapid heart rate and high blood pressure
• High fever, resulting in increased sweating, shivering, or goosebumps
• Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
• Agitation or restlessness
• Loss of muscle coordination or uncontrollable muscle twitching or rigidity
• Diarrhea
• Headache
• Dilated pupils
• Confusion or altered consciousness
Warnings For UseContraindicated conditions:
• Liver disease
• Prior heart attack or severe heart disease
• Heart arrhythmias
• Bipolar disorder or prior episodes of mania
• Seizure disorder

Drug interactions:
• Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
• NSAID medications, including ibuprofen
• Warfarin and other blood-thinning medications
• Other SSRI medications and antidepressants
• ADHD medication, like Adderall
• St. John’s Wort
• Most pain medications, including opioids
• Thiazide diuretics
• Recreational drugs, such as MDMA
Contraindicated conditions:
• Depression or other mental illnesses
• Heart conditions

Drug interactions:
• St. John's Wort
• ADHD medications, such as Adderall
• Antipsychotic medications
• Tricyclic antidepressants
• Buspar
• Some migraine medications
• Lithium
• Antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications
• Drugs that affect heart rhythm

What is Celexa?

Celexa is the brand name for the antidepressant citalopram, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This class of antidepressants helps balance serotonin levels in the brain by preventing certain receptors from reabsorbing it. Blocking serotonin reabsorption increases the amount available to regulate sleep/wake cycles and mood. 

Common Doses and Forms of Celexa

Celexa is available as coated tablets and as a liquid suspension. Each tablet is oval-shaped and embossed with the dosage amount on one side and “FP” on the other. The 20 and 40 mg tablets are also scored. 

These tablets are color-coded by dosage amount to make them easier to identify: 

  • 10 mg: peach/light orange
  • 20 mg: coral/diluted red
  • 40 mg: white/no color

The liquid suspension contains 2 mg/ml of citalopram and comes with a pipette cap to make it easier to measure. It contains natural peppermint flavoring to improve the taste. Most patients begin with a daily dose of 20 mg and gradually increase it to no more than 40 mg daily, depending on the healthcare provider’s recommendation. 

Conditions Celexa Treats

Celexa can treat a variety of conditions, but it’s only FDA-approved to treat clinical depression in adults. It boosts serotonin levels in the brain to improve mood, sleep, and metabolism. 

Celexa Can Treat Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Celexa is most often prescribed to treat depression and anxiety, especially since individuals with one disorder often experience the other as well. Low serotonin can cause everything from fatigue and apathy to racing thoughts, increased heart rate, and panic attacks. 

Increasing serotonin levels can reduce these symptoms to manageable levels, making it easier to practice good sleep, enjoy favorite activities, and stave off panic attacks. 

Off-Label Uses for Celexa

Prescription medications often prove effective in treating various conditions. However, the FDA must evaluate and approve a medication for each potential use. That means a drug may be safe to prescribe for treating things it’s not yet been FDA-approved for. 

Several such uses for Celexa include: 

  • Alcoholism
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Hot flashes
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
  • Binge-eating disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress (PTS)

Increasing serotonin levels in the brain can alleviate the emotional effects of these conditions, making them easier to manage. 

Celexa Costs

Brand-name Celexa costs between $4 and $10 for a 90-day supply of tablets, and the prices for its generic counterpart — citalopram — are comparable at $3 to $17. The oral solution costs about $92 for a 240mL bottle. 

Celexa Side Effects

Those taking Celexa may experience several common side effects during the first few weeks of use. Most side effects fade or disappear completely as your body acclimates. However, if symptoms worsen — or you experience severe symptoms — contact your healthcare provider immediately. 

Common side effects of Celexa include: 

  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Dry mouth, increased thirst, sweating, or urination
  • Reduced appetite, nausea, diarrhea, constipation
  • Anxiety, agitation, or tremors
  • Weakness or tiredness
  • Insomnia or chronic yawning
  • Nosebleeds or heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Cold symptoms, including congestion, sneezing, and sore throat

Severe symptoms require immediate medical attention. These include: 

  • Feeling faint, racing heartbeat, dizziness, or feeling like you may pass out
  • Blurred vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights
  • Seizures
  • Manic episodes
  • Rigid muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion
  • Headache, confusion, thinking or memory problems
  • Weakness, feeling unsteady

Celexa Warnings

Speak with your healthcare provider before taking Celexa, as it may interact poorly with the following pre-existing conditions.

  • Heart problems
  • Long QT syndrome (you or a family member)
  • Stroke
  • Bleeding problems
  • Sexual problems
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Seizures or epilepsy
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • An electrolyte imbalance

If you experience any significant changes in mood or behavior, including suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm, contact your healthcare provier immediately.

Celexa Drug Interactions

Individuals who take monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or the Tourette syndrome medication pimozide should not take Celexa. If you plan to replace your MAOI medication with Celexa, stop taking the MAOI for at least 14 days before starting Celexa to prevent them from interacting. 

Additionally, Celexa may interact with certain herbal supplements, Parkinson’s disease medications, opioids, blood thinners, migraine medications, or other antidepressants. 

What is Luvox?

Luvox is the brand name for the SSRI medication fluvoxamine. Like Celexa, Luvox helps increase and balance the amount of serotonin available in the brain by blocking receptors from reabsorbing it. Higher serotonin levels help counteract the symptoms of depression, especially those related to mood, appetite, and sleep/wake cycles. 

Common Doses and Forms of Luvox

Luvox is available in tablet form in 25, 50, and 100 mg dosages. Brand-name Luvox tablets are oval-shaped and come in a blister pack. Generic fluvoxamine tablets are round and also come in a blister pack. 

Adults taking Luvox usually start with a daily dose of 50mg and increase it to no more than 300 mg daily under a healthcare provider’s supervision. Children aged 8 to 17 typically take 25mg at first, gradually increasing to 200 mg daily.  

Conditions Luvox Treats

Luvox can be prescribed either on- or off-label to treat a wide range of conditions, the most common being clinical depression, anxiety, and anxiety-related disorders. 

Some of the other conditions it treats include: 

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Luvox is FDA-approved to treat major depression and OCD. 

Luvox Can Treat Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Like other SSRIs, Luvox relieves the symptoms of anxiety-related conditions and depressive disorders by making more serotonin available in the brain. Regulating brain chemistry this way improves mood, helps individuals feel calmer and evens out sleep/wake cycles. 

Some of the depression- and anxiety-related conditions Luvox treats include: 

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder 
  • Panic disorder
  • Social phobias

Though Luvox is only FDA-approved to treat depression and OCD, it’s also considered safe to prescribe for anxiety. 

Off-Label Uses for Luvox

Aside from anxiety, Luvox is also prescribed off-label for mood-related conditions that could benefit from an increase in serotonin. These include: 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

Luvox Costs

Brand-name Luvox can cost between $32 and $402 for a 30-day supply, depending on your pharmacy and required dosage. The generic version, fluvoxamine, usually costs between $25 and $30 for a month’s worth. 

Luvox Side Effects

Like Celexa, Luvox may cause a range of common side effects during the first few weeks of use. These usually diminish or disappear as your body gets used to the medication. However, if symptoms are unbearable — or you experience severe symptoms — contact your healthcare provider immediately. 

Some common side effects include: 

  • Feeling dizzy, weak, sleepy, or tired
  • Constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or reduced appetite
  • Dry mouth or change in taste
  • Insomnia
  • Headache or shakiness
  • Excess gassiness
  • Feeling nervous and easily startled
  • Excessive sweating
  • Common cold symptoms

The following symptoms are signs of a serious problem and need to be addressed immediately: 

  • Allergic reaction, including hives; swelling of the face, mouth, and throat; difficulty breathing
  • Signs of low sodium, including headache, brain fog, weakness, seizures, or trouble balancing
  • Coughing up or vomiting blood; blood in the urine or stool; unusual vaginal bleeding; bleeding that cannot be easily stopped
  • Abnormal weight gain or loss
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Sexual problems, such as difficulty orgasming or lowered sex drive
    • Erection lasting more than 4 hours
  • Unusual menstrual flow

With all SSRIs, including Luvox and Celexa, a potentially deadly condition called serotonin syndrome may arise. This condition results from too much serotonin overwhelming the brain.  

Get medical attention immediately if you experience: 

  • Agitation 
  • Change in balance 
  • Confusion, hallucinations 
  • Fever or flushed face
  • Racing or abnormal heartbeat 
  • Muscle spasms or stiffness 
  • Seizures, shivering, or shaking 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Severe diarrhea, upset stomach, or vomiting 
  • Severe headache 

Luvox Warnings

Luvox is contraindicated for those with the following conditions: 

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Bleeding problems
  • Depression
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart attack or heart disease
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood)
  • Mania (feeling elated)
  • Seizures
  • Liver disease

Those who use tobacco should speak to their healthcare provider before starting Luvox.

Luvox Drug Interactions

Luvox may interact adversely with certain supplements and medications, including the following: 

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Tourette’s syndrome medications, like pimozide
  • Warfarin and other blood thinners
  • Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs
  • St. John’s Wort 
  • Tryptophan
  • Other SSRIs and antidepressants
  • Stimulant medications like Adderall
  • Certain pain or migraine medications

This is not an exhaustive list. Be sure to disclose all medications, vitamins, and supplements you’re taking when speaking to your healthcare provider.

Licensed providers on Klarity provide personalized treatment. Find a provider that matches your needs and preferences.

Get Anxiety and Depression Treatment With Klarity

Managing anxiety and depression can be incredibly challenging, which is why Klarity makes getting treatment easy. 

With Klarity, you can be seen by a licensed provider online to discuss the right medication to treat your anxiety and depression symptoms. No more long commutes to a clinic or taking time off work. 

If you’re ready to get treatment (if applicable), schedule an appointment. We’ll place you with the best healthcare provider for you to begin your journey toward a more balanced life.

Frequently Asked Questions About Celexa and Luvox

Does Celexa Make You Gain Weight? Does Luvox?

Luvox doesn’t usually cause changes in your weight. Celexa may cause you to gain between 1 and 5 pounds when you begin taking it. If you notice excessive weight gain or loss with either medication, seek medical attention immediately. 

Is Celexa or Luvox Better for Anxiety?

Both of these SSRI medications can be prescribed off-label to treat anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. Celexa has anxiety as a side effect, while Luvox doesn’t—though Luvox may cause nervousness and tremors. 

However, Celexa is prescribed to treat anxiety more often than Luvox, while Luvox is the preferred off-label prescription for OCD. 

Can I Replace Celexa with Luvox?

Yes. It’s generally considered safe to replace one SSRI with another. However, you’ll need to do so under a medical professional’s supervision. 

There are two ways they may have you switch: 

  • Gradually decrease your dosage of Celexa while simultaneously taking increasingly higher doses of Luvox until you’re only taking Luvox
  • Gradually step down your dosage of Celexa, then switch you to a low dose of Luvox and gradually increase it until you’re taking the ideal dosage

Is Celexa Energizing or Sedating? What About Luvox?

Both Celexa and Luvox can cause drowsiness or daytime sleepiness as a side effect. However, SSRIs are formulated to help regulate serotonin levels in the brain, so how they affect you will depend on what condition you have. For example, if you have depression, you’ll likely find both medications energizing. If you take them for anxiety, you may find them more calming. 

Does Celexa Cause Brain Fog? Does Luvox?

Brain fog and confusion are serious side effects of each of these medications. If you experience brain fog while taking either one, get medical help immediately. 

Can I Drink Alcohol On Celexa? On Luvox?

No, it’s not recommended to drink alcohol while taking any SSRI because the alcohol amplifies the effects of the medication and vice versa. This can lead to life-threatening health problems, so it’s best to abstain.

Can I Drink Caffeine When I’m on Celexa? How About Luvox?

Yes, caffeine doesn’t interact adversely with either Celexa or Luvox. However, if you’re taking one of these medications for anxiety, it’s recommended that you limit your intake to help manage your symptoms. 

What Is Better For Depression—Celexa or Luvox?

Since they’re in the same class of drugs, Luvox and Celexa are both equally effective at treating depression. They work in the brain the same way, so which one you choose depends on factors like: 

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Other prescription medications
  • Supplements you may be taking
  • General body chemistry

With these details in mind, your healthcare provider can help you choose the best medication to try. 

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