Celexa and Suicide
The risk of developing suicidal thoughts and behavior appears to increase in children and teenagers who are taking Celexa. When clinical studies were conducted on Celexa and suicide, people with bipolar disorder and people who had attempted suicide appeared to be at higher risk for suicidal behavior. Since depression itself can cause suicidal behavior, it is also difficult to know for sure whether antidepressants like Celexa actually increase the risk for suicide.
Celexa® (citalopram hydrobromide) is a prescription medication used for the treatment of depression in adults. It is part of a group of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). As with all antidepressants, there may be an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior when taking Celexa.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a special warning about the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior with antidepressant use in children, adolescents, and young adults (up to the age of 25). The warning was issued after the FDA reviewed clinical studies and found that antidepressants seemed to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in these age groups.
Although Celexa is not approved for use in children and adolescents, it may be used "off-label" for this use.
When the FDA looked at short-term clinical studies, it did appear that there was a slightly increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, called "suicidality," in children, adolescents, and young adults who took antidepressants, including Celexa. For example, about 4 percent of children, adolescents, and young adults taking an antidepressant had suicidal thoughts or behavior, compared to 2 percent of those who were not taking an antidepressant.
This increased risk for suicidal thinking and behaviors appears to be limited to antidepressant use in people 24 years of age and younger. Adults over the age of 24 treated with antidepressants did not have an increased risk for suicidality, and those aged 65 and older appeared to have a lower risk.
It is important to note that the term suicidality is not the same as suicide. Studies of antidepressant use looked at all suicidal behaviors, including thinking about suicide, attempting suicide, and committing suicide. None of the children or adolescents in the FDA-reviewed studies actually committed suicide.
It is difficult to know for sure if antidepressants cause suicidal thoughts or behavior. To make matters more confusing, depression and other mental health conditions can cause suicidal thoughts and behavior. The bottom line: you should report any signs of suicidal behavior, actions, or thoughts about suicide to your healthcare provider, whether you are taking an antidepressant or not.
Certain people seem to be at higher risk for suicidal thoughts and behavior while taking antidepressants. This includes people with bipolar disorder (or a family history of bipolar disorder) and those who have attempted suicide (or have a family history of suicide attempts).