May 18, 2022

On May 13, 2022, a Texas medical malpractice wrongful death jury returned its verdict in the amount of $2,979,523 for an elderly man who committed suicide shortly after being placed on the anti-anxiety medication Celexa (Citalopram). The defendants were his primary care physician and his medical practice.

The plaintiff alleged that the 78-year-old patient went to his primary care physician on October 23, 2018 at which time the physician placed him on 40mg of Celexa. Within hours of taking his first dose, the man became confused and his family brought him to a local medical clinic. The family was advised that the Celexa was the likely cause of the confusion. The family was advised to contact the patient’s primary care physician for follow-up.

The primary care physician agreed that the likely cause of the confusion was the Celexa that he had prescribed. The primary care physician reduced the dosage from 40mg to 10mg and reassured the family that the patient would be OK. The physician failed to advise the family regarding the known possible side effect of Celexa of suicidal thoughts and did not advise the patient’s family to keep a close eye on the patient until his compromised mental status resolved, according to the lawsuit.

While the family was complying with the primary care physician’s instructions, their family member committed suicide two days later.

The Texas medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the primary care physician prescribed an inappropriately high dose of Celexa, that FDA prescribing guidelines recommend that elderly patients be started on no more than 20mg of Celexa, and that increasing the dosage should not exceed 10mg at a time.


The black box warning for Celexa states: “Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of Celexa or any other antidepressant in a child, adolescent, or young adult must balance this risk with the clinical need. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. Families and caregivers should be advised of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Celexa is not approved for use in pediatric patients.”

The label further warns: “Patients, their families, and their caregivers should be encouraged to be alert to the emergence of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, mania, other unusual changes in behavior, worsening of depression, and suicidal ideation, especially early during antidepressant treatment and when the dose is adjusted up or down. Families and caregivers of patients should be advised to look for the emergence of such symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient’s prescriber or health professional, especially if they are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient’s presenting symptoms. Symptoms such as these may be associated with an increased risk for suicidal thinking and behavior and indicate a need for very close monitoring and possibly changes in the medication.”

Dosage: “Celexa (citalopram HBr) should be administered at an initial dose of 20 mg once daily, with an increase to a maximum dose of 40 mg/day at an interval of no less than one week … 20 mg/day is the maximum recommended dose for patients who are greater than 60 years of age.”


If you or a loved one suffered harm as a result of taking Celexa, you should promptly find a medical malpractice attorney in your U.S. state who may investigate your Celexa claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a Celexa lawsuit, if appropriate.

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