Can Celexa Cause Tardive Dyskinesia: 3 Citalopram Facial Side Effects

Can Celexa Cause Tardive Dyskinesia

Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder that has been associated with the use of several different classes of drugs. That is why we would like to explore if SSRIs such as Celexa cause Tardive Dyskinesia.

It usually becomes evident about 12 weeks after the start of treatment, and it can become gradually worse over time. Therefore, it is important to monitor your symptoms closely if you suspect that your medication might be causing tardive dyskinesia.

Celexa is an antidepressant that is used to treat major depressive disorder or anxiety disorder. The drug blocks the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, leading to increased amounts of serotonin in the spaces between neurons (known as synapses).

Many studies have shown that this drug has very few side effects and may even help people with depression get better faster than they would without treatment.


Can Celexa Cause Tardive Dyskinesia?

One of the side effects of Celexa and other antidepressant medications is Tardive Dyskinesia. It occurs in up to 5.9% of the persons getting the 12-week treatment study.

Citalopram, which is the active ingredient in Celexa, belongs to a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This drug and others like it are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. Long-term use of SSRIs is often necessary to keep symptoms from coming back, but it can have some side effects, including an increased risk of tardive dyskinesia.

The citalopram-induced dyskinesia of the tongue is one example of drug-induced movement disorders. Citalopram (an antidepressant drug) is known to cause abnormal movements of the mouth, tongue, and jaw.

Citalopram can also cause other movement disorders such as abnormal movements of your arms, legs, and trunk (the part of your body that is made up of your torso and head). Citalopram-induced dyskinesia of the tongue is usually reversible if the drug is stopped.

What is Tardive Dyskinesia?

Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder caused by the long-term use of antipsychotic medications. It is characterized by repetitive, uncontrollable muscle movements, especially in the face and tongue.

Tardive dyskinesia is often irreversible and may be permanent, and it is sometimes accompanied by extreme restlessness and anxiety. Tardive dyskinesia is relatively uncommon in people who take antipsychotic medications, but it can be severe, causing facial grimacing and difficulty chewing and swallowing.

Tardive dyskinesia is considered to be a side effect of long-term use of antipsychotic medications, especially haloperidol (Haldol) and other conventional antipsychotics used to treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

What are the symptoms of Tardive Dyskinesia?

The following are the symptoms of Tardive Dyskinesia:

  • Excessive facial grimacing or mouth movements
  • These movements often involve the lower face, lips, and tongue.
  • Repetitive jerking or writhing movements of the limbs, trunk, and head
  • These movements are usually seen as abnormal, involuntary muscle spasms.
  • Slow, awkward, stiff movements
  • These movements are often seen in the hands, arms, and legs, often while trying to perform a task requiring fine motor skills, such as writing.
  • Excessive and abnormal chewing movements
  • This is termed oral dyskinesia and can be seen as gum chewing, lip smacking, and excessive, abnormal chewing.
  • Increased restlessness and anxiety
  • This can worsen the abnormal movements by causing increased muscle tension.

Dementia and Tardive Dyskinesia

Celexa (Citalopram) is often used for treating major depression. If a patient with depression receives Celexa for a long period of time, there is a risk of developing tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological disorder that is a side effect of long-term treatment with Celexa and other antidepressants.

The disorder usually involves movements in the face and tongue and can progress to full body movements, like walking. If a patient with dementia receives Celexa for a long period of time, there is a risk of developing tardive dyskinesia.

Dementia is a disorder that primarily affects a person’s ability to process and produce information, resulting in a decline in one’s ability to remember, solve problems, communicate, and understand the world around them.

A person with dementia typically experiences a decline in mental abilities that is noticeable to others and that may ultimately interfere with daily activities.

Is it OK to take citalopram long-term?

While SSRIs may have a higher risk of causing tardive dyskinesia, the risk is still very low compared to other medications. It is important to note that these drugs have been proven to be effective in treating depression and anxiety.

Stopping medication early can cause the symptoms to come back and can make it more difficult to recover from the illness in the future. The decision to take medication long-term is always a difficult one.

It is important to weigh the benefits of the medication against its risks. If you are concerned about the risk of tardive dyskinesia, you may want to talk to your doctor about ways to minimize that risk.

How common is tardive dyskinesia?

Tardive dyskinesia is not very common at all. One study estimated that only one person in every 1,000 will develop the condition as a result of their medication. This number may be even lower in people taking citalopram.

It is important to note that the risk of tardive dyskinesia is very different for different drugs. For example, another type of antidepressant, known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), has a much higher risk than SSRIs. If you are taking one of these drugs and have been experiencing unusual movements, it is important to talk to your doctor.

Can SSRIs cause Tardive Dyskinesia?

Short-term use of SSRIs does not seem to increase the risk of tardive dyskinesia, but long-term use does. The data on whether Celexa causes tardive dyskinesia is mixed, but there is some evidence that it can lead to the condition

If you have been taking an SSRI for a long time, you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of tardive dyskinesia so that you can seek help if you suspect that you are developing the condition.

One study found that the risk of developing tardive dyskinesia after one year of SSRI use was 6.0%. For two or three years of use, the risk rose to 9.7%. For four or five years of use, the risk was 16.3%. These numbers are significantly higher than the risk of developing tardive dyskinesia from not taking medication at all.

There are very few studies on whether or not SSRIs can cause tardive dyskinesia, but the data that does exist suggests that there is a link between the two. One of the SSRIs, Fluoxetine, has been found to lead to TD and also cause symptoms similar to TD. It is important to note that the symptoms can be seen even 1 year after stopping the medication.

If you have been taking an SSRI for a long time and notice that you are developing tardive dyskinesia symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor about whether or not the medication may be responsible.

There are several ways that you can try to lower your risk of developing tardive dyskinesia while taking an SSRI. You can try taking the smallest dose that is effective for your symptoms. You can also switch between different SSRIs since some seem to have a higher risk of causing tardive dyskinesia than others.

Other Medications That Cause Tardive Dyskinesia

50 drugs that cause tardive dyskinesia

Drugs that are likely to cause tardive dyskinesia include:

  • Most antipsychotic drugs, including haloperidol (Haldol), fluphenazine (Prolixin), perphenazine (Trilafon), thiothixene (Navane), and chlorpromazine (Thorazine), Abilify (Aripiprazole), Geodon (Ziprasidone), Risperdal (Risperidone), and Seroquel (Quetiapine).
  • Antidepressants, including amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), Paxil (Paroxetine), Lexapro (Escitalopram), citalopram (Celexa), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), fluoxetine (Prozac), imipramine (Tofranil), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), Cymbalta (Duloxetine), and venlafaxine (Effexor).
  • Antihyperglycemic Medication– Avandia (Rosiglitazone)
  • Antiobesity Medication– Qsymia (Phentermine and Topiramate)
  • Antianxiety Medication– Klonopin (Clonazepam)
  • Antihistamine Medication– Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)
  • Anti-emetic Medication– Compazine (Prochlorperazine)

How to Treat Tardive Dyskinesia

There is no specific treatment for tardive dyskinesia. The most important thing you can do is to avoid medications that are known to cause the condition. Once you have developed the disorder, there is no way to reverse it. You can, however, try to minimize your symptoms.

Doctors often recommend that people with tardive dyskinesia exercise regularly. Exercise can help you relax and may decrease some of the symptoms associated with tardive dyskinesia, such as muscle spasms.

If you have been diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia, you can also try cognitive behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques. You should also avoid stress as much as possible.

How to reverse tardive dyskinesia

If you have been diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia, there is no way to reverse the condition. However, you can try to minimize your symptoms by exercising and avoiding stress.

You should also talk to your doctor about switching to a different antidepressant. Some medications are known to increase the risk of tardive dyskinesia, while others might not cause the condition even if they are taken for a long period of time.

If you have been taking an antidepressant and notice that you are developing tardive dyskinesia symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor. It takes at least 1 year or more years after stopping the medications causing tardive dyskinesia for the condition to be termed permanent.

Moreover, the doctor may decide to prescribe medication to reduce the abnormal dopamine levels in the brain thus treating the tardive dyskinesia symptoms. Such medication include valbenazine (Ingrezza) and deutetrabenazine (Austedo).

Some people may opt for some natural methods to reverse the condition. These methods include taking Ginkgo bilobaMelatonin, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E. However, there is no evidence that the supplements help in reversing tardive dyskinesia.

The medication and supplements above do not treat tardive dyskinesia but ameliorate its effects. This can improve the quality of life markedly since the effects can be distirbing.

How to reverse tardive dyskinesia naturally

If you have been diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia, there is in most instances way to reverse the condition. This is because there is no FDA-approved treatment for TD available.

Other than exercise, CBT, and the other methods describe above, the following supplements are commonly prescribed for the management of tardive dyskinesia symptoms even though their effectiveness is not yet proven:

  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Melatonin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E

You should always discuss this with your doctor before taking any of the supplements for tardive dyskinesia.

Should you stop taking your medication?

If you are concerned about the link between Celexa and tardive dyskinesia, you may want to stop taking the medication. Stopping the medication too quickly, though, can cause your symptoms to come back. Additionally, you may find that withdrawal from Celexa is not easy.

Withdrawing from medication should only be done under the supervision of a doctor. They will be able to help you taper off the medication slowly so that you do not get some of the side effects that come with taking the drug for a long time.

If you are experiencing symptoms of tardive dyskinesia, talk to your doctor about whether you should continue taking the medication. There are many benefits of stopping citalopram that you can explore.

Tardive dyskinesia is a side effect that occurs in some people who take antidepressants. It is possible to experience tardive dyskinesia with other antidepressants, including SSRIs, SNRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Is tardive dyskinesia life-threatening

Tardive Dyskinesia is a potentially life-threatening condition. Therefore, doctors should know the management methods for the condition. Other than being life-threatening, the condition also significantly affects the quality of life.

TD is thus a serious, disabling, and potentially permanent, neurological hyperkinetic movement disorder that should be managed promptly. Most patients have a generally slow recovery from tardive dyskinesia.

In older people having tardive dyskinesia that are treated with conventional antipsychotics studies have shown that they have a shortened survival time.


Tardive dyskinesia (TD) is a movement disorder that results from exposure to dopamine antagonists for an extended period of time. In most cases, the prolonged usage of these drugs is in order to treat a separate mental health condition entirely.

As such, tardive dyskinesia could not result directly from taking a specific drug, like Celexa. Celexa and other SSRIs typically only remain in the body for 5-7 days after being taken as directed by the user.

If you have been taking Celexa for any period of time and begin experiencing TD symptoms, it’s likely that another factor played a role in causing those side effects. Because of the restrictive nature of the PDR, we cannot claim with certainty what that factor might be. 


Dr. David Barlow

David is a well-known researcher and author in the anxiety disorders area with extensive research on their etiology, nature, and treatment. He started the site to share his real-life experiences on the management of anxiety disorders with successful diagnosis and treatment being his motivation to write or review the content on this site.