Citalopram (Celexa) for Premature Ejaculation

Premature ejaculation is a sexual dysfunction that affects nearly one-third of men. Find out how citalopram can be a potential treatment for the condition.

Dr. Laurence Levine
Expert in male sexual health, leading Urologist in USA
by Dr. Laurence Levine Last updated 12/06/2023
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does citalopram treat premature ejaculation

Premature ejaculation (PE) can inhibit sexual satisfaction for both people during a sexual encounter.

Unfortunately, PE is one of the most common sexual dysfunction for men, affecting at least 30 percent.

It’s possibly more because the problem isn't always openly discussed with healthcare professionals.

Quick FAQs

Citalopram is a drug sold under the named Celexa that's prescribed for depression.

Studies have shown that Citalopram can be effective for treating premature ejaculation

It's recommended to take the drug daily around the same time to treat PE.

Yet, premature ejaculation is also highly treatable, and one of the treatment options available is Citalopram.

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • What it is?
  • How does it work?
  • Is it safe?
  • Are there alternatives?

And find out if this PE treatment option is for you.

What is Citalopram (Celexa)?

Citalopram, which is sold under the brand name Celexa, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is most commonly prescribed for depression but has also been shown to help in the treatment of PE.

Citalopram works by affecting the serotonin levels in the brain, which is thought to be a contributing factor in PE.

A primary side effect of SSRI treatment is an effect on sexual function.

For men, this can mean problems with delayed ejaculation as a side effect, especially with long-term treatment. 

Therefore, many doctors began recommending the "off-label" use of citalopram for premature ejaculation, as well as several other SSRIs.

Does Citalopram Work to Treat Premature Ejaculation?

There have been a number of studies regarding using citalopram to treat premature ejaculation, and most do show promising outcomes.

An older, small study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research in 2002 found citalopram for premature ejaculation enhanced intravaginal ejaculation latency times (IELT) considerably compared to a placebo. 

Further, more than 38 percent of the men given citalopram for PE stated their sexual function had 'very much improved.'

Another study in 2005 gives more in-depth insight.

Men were given a 20 mg oral dose of citalopram for premature ejaculation daily for 12 weeks.

At the end of 12 weeks, IELT times had increased from an average of 32 seconds to an average of 268 seconds.

Sexual satisfaction scores also increased substantially.

How to Use Citalopram for Premature Ejaculation

How to take citalopram for premature ejaculation will rely specifically on your doctor's recommendations.

The two most common questions men tend to have about using citalopram for premature ejaculation are when the medicine should be taken and the proper dosage amounts.

So let’s take a look at that now.

When to Take Citalopram for Premature Ejaculation

Citalopram is most generally taken once per day for premature ejaculation.

Even though some studies have looked at the "on-demand" use of citalopram for PE, more studies are warranted, and ejaculation times may not be as greatly enhanced. 

Therefore, taking the medication daily around the same time is the typical treatment protocol.

It may take as long as two or three weeks for people who take an SSRI for PE to see the optimal effects. 

However, some men do experience improvements in ejaculation times to some degree within 5 to 10 days of starting treatment.

Citalopram Dosage for Premature Ejaculation

The citalopram dosage for premature ejaculation can be different for each individual.

However, in the aforementioned studies, men were given 20mg of citalopram daily.

Risks and Side Effects of Citalopram

Even though citalopram can be effective for PE treatment, all SSRIs do come along with some concerning side effects.

Common side effects of citalopram include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep disruptions or problems falling asleep
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue or weakness

Serious side effects with citalopram are also possible but less common.

These side effects can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Hives
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Difficulties with concentration

Citalopram also comes along with a risk of withdrawal symptoms if you take the medication for long periods and then stop.

This symptom of citalopram withdrawal occurred even with a slow-tapering regimen to stop taking the medication.

Alternatives to Citalopram for PE

Due to the fact that citalopram and other SSRIs do not come without risks and side effects, many men prefer to try alternative ways to help with PE.

From over-the-counter orgasm delay products to other types of medications, there are a number of options that can be highly effective for PE.

Over-the-Counter Options

A number of over-the-counter options exist that can be highly effective products for delaying ejaculation.

Most over-the-counter products for PE are designed to reduce sensitivity levels during sex, which can help you last longer.

A few top options include:

Some of these products can be highly effective for PE.

For example, in studies, Promescent Delay spray was shown to prolong ejaculation times from 6.81 minutes to over 11 minutes.


PE is thought to have some psychological roots in most situations.

Psychological factors that can have a role in PE include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Stress
  • A history of sexual abuse or repression
  • Poor self-image, guilt, or lacking sexual confidence
  • Problems within the relationship
  • Sexual performance anxiety or unrealistic expectations in regard to sex

Because PE can have psychological factors to address, therapy can sometimes be helpful. 

Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is commonly recommended to help people work through emotional issues that could be contributing to the problem, such as dealing with a history of sexual repression.

Hypnosis for PE is also something that may help.

Hypnotherapy is essentially therapeutic guidance into a deep state of concentration where you can easily sort through thoughts and emotions.

Behavioral Techniques

Men with premature ejaculation can try a number of behavioral techniques which can be quite effective and can be safely paired with other forms of PE options to prolong ejaculation.

A few behavioral techniques to try include:

  • Kegels - Pelvic floor strengthening exercises may help men gain more control over ejaculation
  • Edging (start-stop method) - Edging is stimulation until orgasm urges occur, stopping stimulation or waiting for the feeling to pass, and then resuming sex
  • Squeeze technique - Similar to edging, but involves firmly grasping the glans until the urge to ejaculate subsides

ED Medications

For some individuals, erectile dysfunction (ED) medication is a viable treatment option for PE.

ED and PE can be related conditions. In one study of 937 men published in 2019, over 19 percent of those with ED also experienced PE, while over 76 percent of men with PE reported they experienced ED.

Medications for ED may also offer some benefits for men who struggle with PE. 

Primarily, the benefit comes from the fact that a man can maintain an erection with these medications even after ejaculation, which allows sex to last longer. 

Medicinal options that may be recommended include:

  • Viagra
  • Tadalafil
  • Levitra
  • Stendra


For many men using Citalopram to treat premature ejaculation may be an effective medicinal option, as are many other SSRIs.

While SSRIs like Citalopram work for PE, the medication comes along with serious side effects and a risk of withdrawal that could potentially exacerbate PE problems. 

There are a number of effective alternative treatment options that are available, including over-the-counter delay spray or wipes, PE condoms, and more.

Dr. Laurence Levine

Dr. Laurence Levine

​Dr Laurence Levine is a Professor of Urology and practices at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is focused specifically on Male Sexual Health and is past President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA). Dr. Levine graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he received his MD and completed his training in Urology at the Harvard Program in Boston.​


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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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