The Difference Between Celexa and Lexapro


While similar to each other, Celexa and Lexapro are different drugs. Lexapro is an updated version of Celexa that is said to be more effective.


The pharmaceutical company Lundbeck created Celexa in 1989 for treatment of major depression. When the patent for it ran out in 2003, it was made generic, and Lundbeck created a new formulation of the drug called Lexapro in 1997. It was approved by the FDA for major depression in 2002 ; it was approved for generalized anxiety disorders a year later.


Lexapro is an enantiopure compound of citalopram, while Celexa is a mixture of escitalopram and R-citalopram. Studies have suggested the R-citalopram decreases the binding of escitalopram to the transporter. Because of this, Lexapro is thought to be more potent on its own.


Both Lexapro and Celexa are used to treat major depression and anxiety. However, Celexa has also been used to treat body dysmorphic disorder. Lexapro has been shown in lab studies to be more tolerable and effective than Celexa.

Side Effects

Celexa's known side effects include fatigue, dry mouth, hallucinations, increased sweating, trembling, blurred vision, headache, insomnia, nausea, sleep disturbances, dizziness, diarrhea, blood pressure changes, heightened anorgasmia in women and impotence problems in men.

Lexapro shares some of the same side effects, along with different ones, including stiff muscles, uneven heartbeats, trembling, sweating, high fever, overactive reflexes, trouble concentrating, loss of coordination, seizure, headache memory problems, shallow breathing, weakness, confusion, hallucinations, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, feeling unsteady, drowsiness, upset stomach, sleep problems, ringing in ears, weight changes, dry mouth, anorgasmia and yawning.

Interactions and Warnings

Take St. John's Wort with caution--and with your doctor's supervision--when taking either Celexa or Lexapro. You should not take MAO inhibitors while taking either drug, and you should avoid them at least two weeks before and two weeks after taking either of these drugs.

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