Using Celexa for Panic Disorder - A Look at this Drug Treatment

Using Celexa for Panic Disorder - A Look at this Drug Treatment
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Celexa is a drug that was developed to treat depression. It is the trade name for citalopram hydrobromide which is the active ingredient in Celexa. It was approved by the FDA in 1998 and is marketed in the United States by Forest Laboratories. A generic version of Celexa is available under the name Citalopram. It is classed in the group of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). In addition to treating depression, studies show you can also use Celexa to treat panic disorder.

How Celexa Works

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that acts to send signals from one part of the brain to another. Almost every cell in the brain is affected in one way or another by serotonin. A brain cell that is sending information releases neurotransmitters across a gap between two nerve cells (called a synaptic gap) which are picked up by a receptor on a receiving cell. The neurotransmitters are recognized by the receptor and the signal is relayed along the receiving cell’s body.

Celexa, as well as other SSRIs work by increasing the amount of available serotonin in the brain and allowing it to work more effectively. This is important since serotonin affects mood. Celexa increases the serotonin levels by inhibiting the receptor cell’s ability to reuptake it. Normally when neurotransmitters relay a message to a receptor cell, 90% of the chemical is captured by the receptor cells in what is called the reuptake process. When Celexa blocks this reuptake process, it allows the serotonin to remain in the synapse longer, thus stimulating the receptor cell to receive a stronger response.

When the brain cannot produce enough serotonin or if the serotonin for some reason is unable to transmit to a receptor, it can result in mental imbalance. This imbalance can cause depression, panic, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, or other mental health problems.

Effectiveness of Celexa for Panic Disorder

Medications used for depression, especially SSRIs, have been shown to eliminate panic attacks, and/or reduce the severity of attacks, as well as improve the quality of life for persons suffering from panic disorder.

A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in June, 1997 concluded that Celexa worked better than a placebo in persons suffering from panic disorder. It was a double-blind study that lasted for 8 weeks in which patients were randomized to receive either a placebo or Celexa. The most effective dosage was found to be 20 or 30 mg/day of Celexa.

Other studies have revealed that 75-80% of people who suffer from panic attacks improve significantly when taking some sort of SSRI medication. It may take up to six weeks before the effects of Celexa against panic disorder are felt. Celexa has fewer drug interactions and side effects than other SSRIs, so it is the drug of choice in this category.

Using Celexa for panic disorder has become a widely used treatment. It is one of the many drugs that those suffering from panic can choose from to help provide relief from this disorder.


Picture credit - image released into the public domain by Sabar