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Citalopram vs Lexapro

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Hey, I've been on citalopram for about 5 years and it has literally saved my life after years of hospitalisations for severe depression. I also have panic disorder with agoraphobia. Despite it being an amazing AD for me it unfortunately causes agitation, anxiety and constant mild diahorrea, my anxiety disorder just wont seem to get better. I've tried to come off citalopram twice in the last 2 years as my depression is virtually gone on it but each time I have a month and a half of calmness, little agitation and my tummy goes back to normal but then SEVERE depression kicks back in :)

I was wondering how similar lexapro is? Does it work the same as citalopram? I've heard they are similar drugs. I was wondering if I'd still get the same AD effect but maybe different side effects?

My only other option seems to be something like seroquel to counter the agitation citalopram gives me.

Seeing a psych in 2 weeks but I haven't messed with my meds for 5 years so I'm a little nervous. Also Lexapro is not an approved drug here (new zealand) so would have to get it on a Section 29 and pay full price for it, my psych may not know too much about it as it's not a prescribed drug here.

Can you swap straight from citalopram to lexapro? I CAN'T come off citalopram without going crazy!!

So many questions ;)

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I understand that citalopram contains two stereo-isomers (mirror images) of the same drug, only one of which works as an antidepressant. Lexapro is basically the same drug without the ineffective isomer. I don't know if your side effects are likely to be caused by one or both of the stereo isomers, and if it's only one, which one. There must be someone out there who has tried both and can advise.

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