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Celexa vs. Lexapro: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 15, 2024
Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram) are both antidepressants, but Lexapro is a newer, more refined version with potentially fewer side effects.

Key Differences

Celexa, known generically as citalopram, is an antidepressant used to treat depression. Lexapro, or escitalopram, is also used for depression but is considered an improved version of Celexa.
Both Celexa and Lexapro belong to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). While Celexa has been used longer, Lexapro is often preferred for its enhanced efficacy and tolerability.
Side effects of Celexa can include nausea, drowsiness, and dry mouth. Lexapro, although similar, often has fewer or less intense side effects in patients.
Celexa is typically prescribed for major depressive disorder. Lexapro, while also prescribed for depression, has additionally been approved for generalized anxiety disorder.
The chemical structure of Celexa includes a mixture of two mirror-image forms. Lexapro, however, contains only the active form, which may account for its increased effectiveness and reduced side effects.

Comparison Chart

Generic Name


Release Date

Earlier release
Newer, more refined version

Drug Class


Approved Uses

Major depressive disorder
Depression and anxiety

Chemical Composition

Mixture of two forms
Only the active form

Celexa and Lexapro Definitions


Celexa is a commonly prescribed antidepressant.
Her psychiatrist recommended trying Celexa for her symptoms.


Lexapro often has fewer side effects than other SSRIs.
He switched to Lexapro due to its more tolerable side effect profile.


Celexa can have side effects like nausea and drowsiness.
After starting Celexa, he experienced some mild nausea.


Lexapro is an SSRI for depression and anxiety.
Lexapro was prescribed to her for both depression and generalized anxiety.


Celexa is known for treating major depressive disorder.
Celexa has been effective in managing major depression in many patients.


Lexapro, or escitalopram, is a refined version of Celexa.
Lexapro, being a newer drug, has fewer side effects than Celexa.


Celexa is an SSRI used for treating depression.
The doctor prescribed Celexa to help with her depressive symptoms.


Lexapro contains only the active form of the drug, enhancing its effectiveness.
Lexapro's active form contributes to its efficacy in treating her symptoms.


Celexa, or citalopram, is an antidepressant medication.
Celexa was one of the first SSRIs he tried for his treatment.


Lexapro treats major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
Lexapro has been effective in treating his anxiety along with depression.


What is Lexapro used for?

Lexapro is used to treat both major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Are the side effects of Lexapro less severe than Celexa?

Generally, Lexapro is known to have fewer or less severe side effects compared to Celexa.

Are Celexa and Lexapro the same?

No, they are different medications, although both are SSRIs. Lexapro is considered a more refined version of Celexa.

How quickly does Lexapro work?

The effects of Lexapro typically begin within 1-4 weeks, but full benefits may take longer.

What is Celexa used for?

Celexa is primarily used to treat major depressive disorder.

Can Celexa be used for anxiety?

Celexa is primarily prescribed for depression, but it may be used off-label for anxiety.

Can I stop taking Celexa abruptly?

No, stopping Celexa suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms; it should be tapered off under medical supervision.

Can Celexa cause side effects?

Yes, common side effects of Celexa include nausea, drowsiness, and dry mouth.

Is Lexapro better than Celexa?

Lexapro may be preferred due to its potentially greater efficacy and better side effect profile, but effectiveness varies by individual.

Who should not take Celexa?

Individuals with certain medical conditions or those taking specific medications should avoid Celexa; a doctor’s consultation is essential.

Is Lexapro a strong antidepressant?

Lexapro is considered effective and potent for treating depression and anxiety.

Can I drink alcohol while taking Celexa?

It’s advised to avoid alcohol while taking Celexa, as it can increase the risk of side effects.

Does Lexapro help with sleep?

Lexapro can affect sleep patterns; some people may experience drowsiness, while others may have insomnia.

How does Celexa affect the brain?

Celexa works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can improve mood.

Can Lexapro cause weight gain?

Weight gain can be a side effect of Lexapro, but it varies among individuals.

How long should I take Celexa?

The duration of Celexa treatment varies; it's typically several months to a year, but always follow your doctor’s advice.

Can Lexapro cause headaches?

Headaches are a possible side effect of Lexapro, especially when starting or changing doses.

Does Lexapro interact with other medications?

Yes, Lexapro can interact with various medications; it’s important to discuss all medications with a healthcare provider.

Can pregnant women take Celexa or Lexapro?

The use of Celexa or Lexapro during pregnancy should be discussed with a healthcare provider, as there are potential risks and benefits to consider.

Is Celexa addictive?

Celexa is not considered addictive, but stopping it suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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