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Avatar universal

Weight Loss and Anti-Depressants. Please HELP!!!

Hello everyone!  I have never gone on the computer for advice before but I am desperate for help.  I am 27yrs old and I am getting married in six months.  I have been on celexa for the past 5 years and have just recently started researching some strange symptoms I have, only to find out that they may be related to the medication.  I am almost always tired and have not had a menstrual period in almost 2 years.  I've gone to the doctor about these 2 symptoms, but they never told me that these symptoms could be from the celexa!  I have also gained about 20 pounds over the past four years, and although I eat healthy, drink only water, and exercise regularly, I can not lose an ounce!!  So my question is, has anyone else experienced any of these symptoms while taking an SSRI, celexa in particular?  Does celexa slow your metabolism?  Should I come off of it?  Any advice or thoughts are greatly appreciated!!
37 Responses
Avatar universal
You need to see a new dr. There IS a reason. Don't leave until they tell you why. Maybe you should try a new drug. They are always coming out with better drugs with less side affects. I wish you well
Avatar universal
I'm not on Celexa, but I used to take Paxil and it made me feel the same way (tired all the time). It didn't screw up my periods, but I did gain weight. I'm now on Effexor and I've been able to lose weight on that..plus I'm not tired on it. It's helped a lot for anxiety.
Avatar universal
Yes, get off the medication. Why are you still on it? Are you afraid of depression hitting again? I was very pro-antidepressants when I thought I needed them but now I attribute them to making me feel out-of-it, forgetful, slow-minded, uncreative. and i gained weight. I was on lexapro--still in the process of weening off of it, actually. There are TONS of message boards about it out there too--Everything you say sounds exactly like what everyone else says who are on antidepressants. I say, get off the medication unless you were suicidal or something without it--i mean really carefully weigh the benefits to the detriments...

I don't know. I'm bitter because my doctor put me on lexapro because i talked "too fast" and he thought i needed to slow down... I was a bit stressed at the time and i blindly agreed-- I really think it turned me into a fat, sleepy, zombie.

Anyways, good luck to you. Either way, have a great wedding!
Avatar universal
When I 1st starting having anxiety and panic attacks 4 yeards ago I was put on Effexor which caused me to gain 30 pounds then when I told the doc that I wanted something else that didn't cause weight gain he put me on Lexapro which then came another 20 pounds so that is a total of 50 pounds that I have gained on medication and I do take Wellbutrin with the Lexapro and still keep gaining weight. So I guess when it comes to this medication it's either be fat and normal or normal and think, hmm now that is a tough decision :-)  Oh yes and to make things worse I sent a current pic to a friend of mine and I said on the e mail see how fat I am and his response was I see your pic and I see what you mean, talk about having hurt my feelings:-(

Avatar universal
Maybe you should try "cymbalta". My father in law says it has worked really well for him and he did not gain weight. Ask and see. Nothing more depressing than gaining weight, and you are trying to get away from depression and all the meds do is make you gain weight which causes more depression!

I wish all of you the best
Avatar universal
If you eat carbs in the right way to naturally raise your brain serotonin, you can lose weight.  You eat specific portions of sweet or starchy carbs to curb appetite and give you mental energy along with a balance of protein and other vital nutrients.  You can lose weight and still maintain your medication regime.  The program was developed at MIT by my colleague Judith Wurtman, PhD and we've authored a book on the topic which I will mention if you're interested but I want to respect the non-promotional aspect of this supportive, informative forum.  Try having a handful of pretzels an hour before your next meal and see if you're less hungry at the meal.  Try wholesome carbs and vegetables for dinner.  Have protein at breakfast and lunch along with other foods.  It's pretty simple and probably how you want to eat anyway.  Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!  All my best, Nina

Avatar universal
I take you at your word that certain carbs may raise your brain serotonin level and thus help abate hunger.  But what if cravings aren't the culprit?  I don't overeat.  I eat five small, extremely healthy meals per day.  I exercise daily. And I can't lose a pound, even a month after stopping Celexa. (I was on SSRIs for five years.)

I'm sure there are many people who overeat due to SSRIs.  But what about those of us who don't, but still can't lose?
Avatar universal
About cymbalta;  it is one of the worse drugs to come off of.  I took 8 weeks, and every decrease, I felt I had the flu.  And for 12-14 days after my last dosage, I felt sick to my stomach, headaches, motion sick (couldn't be in a car ).Please look for something else if you need another anti-depressant.  Weight gain is part of "cure". Read up on it on the internet
Avatar universal
I"ve been on cymbalta for a couple of years now.  About a year ago my doc added prozac to that.  I am extremely lethargic, and still depressed - although not suicidal like before.  When I first went on an antidepressant 15 years ago, It changed my life back then -- but eventually stopped working for me.  Since then I've been on Wellbutrin, Celexa, Effexor. . .and several others I can't remember.  I want to get off of these things, but not be caught in the grips of my debilitating depression.  Good luck to you.
Avatar universal
Four years ago I started taking Paxil as there was a family condition that was making me depressed.  I gained about 30 pounds.  Since then I have gone off Paxil (about a year now) but have not lost the weight.  I feel depressed again, crying a lot, but afraid to go back on any anti-depressant as the weight gain is part of my depression too.  The doctor says it is not the anti-depressants that make you gain weight, but my druggist told me it was.  IS THERE ANY ANTI-DEPRESSANT that will not make you gain weight, or does every anti-depressant work different for everyone?  Please help.
Avatar universal
I know what you mean about mysterious weight gain. Zoloft has caused me to gain almost 20 pounds. I've been dieting and going to a personal training but nothing is helping me lose the weight! It's very frustrating. I've done some research and it seems some of the newer drugs (Effexor and Cymbalta) don't cause weight gain for as many people. In fact some cause weight loss.

Has anyone had a good experience with Effexor/Effexor XR or Cymbalta?
Avatar universal
I take Effexor XR. I gained weight awhile back before I started it...I took Paxil and Zoloft in the past and gained the weight that way. Two years ago I was put on the Effexor. I finally got serious and went on a diet earlier this year, while still on the Effexor. I lost 22 pounds and am still keeping it off...So I never had a problem with it.
Avatar universal
Try drinking enerfy drinks that are high in niacin (like crazy larry deep space blue or bookoo) mixed with orange juice and increasing sexual activity.  You'll feel and look better in no time.  As far as medication, I'd reccomend  Klonopin, Adderall , and Mifepristone.
Avatar universal

  I was on Paxil for about 8 years and slowly began to gain weight.  I am a mature woman so I thought it was just life's little tricks.  My Dr. changed me to Cymbalta due to the fact that it seems to help with nerve pain.  In a matter of about 3-4 weeks I had dropped 13 lbs. A little over a month I had dropped 17 lbs and am where I was when I started taking the Paxil.  I have plateaued and am as happy as I can be.  I have no other side effects from the Cymbalta.  
Avatar universal
I have been on .5mg's of xanx for about 2 years off and on. I started gaining wieght almost a year ago. I have OCD, PTSD, Anxiety, some panic attacks, Social Anxiety Disorder, I worrry all the flippn time....so my dr has put me on Paxil 20mg and the xanax .mg every 8 to 12 hours. I'm trying to loose weight not gain it, is there anything I can do to help reduce the weight gain that is associated with taking these medicine's. Gaining more weight at this point in my life is not a good thing for me and my dr knows from me telling him the first site of more weight gain and off the meds I come.
The only thing is, I would really like to feel better and I hear that paxil is really good for the disorders that I am having. SO I am so hoping that there is someone/s out there that are on these med/s that has found a way to help reduce the weight gaining???
233915 tn?1218816727
I have had the same problem.  I was on celexa for a couple of years and those pounds came on. I gained in total 17+ lbs and can not for the life of me through extremely good diet and exercise shed one ounce.  I have now been off of celexa for a full year and nothing.  Even while I was on celexa I ate heathly and exercised - if fact, I ran 2 full marathons and 2 half marathons and still gained weight!!  It's extremely frustrating and no matter how hard I try, nothing works. If I had known that this was going to happen, I would have never taken this drug.  And besides it was incrediably difficult trying to get off the medication.  It took MONTHS and I had constant vertigo and dizzy spells.  Horrible! Good luck and if anyone knows how to reverse the weight gain effect - please let me know!
Avatar universal
I started taking Paxil and Protonix (for my acid reflux) a few months ago.  I had been at the same weight for 6 years.  I exercise all the time and normally watch what I eat.  Now I've gained 10 pounds.  The last week I was going to the gym twice a day getting ready for a marathon this weekend and I did lose two pounds, but I was following a really strict diet and I felt like I was starving.  It was really hard.  I'm hungry ALL THE TIME.  And I'm craving sweets all the time.  I read somewhere that it's because Paxil messes with your metabolism and the way to fix that is to take fish oils and vitamin E.  I bought the capsules and have been taking them but ot doesn't seem to be helping.  I haven't had this much trouble turning away from food since I was in Junior High.  I can't decide whether I want to be normal and fat or have panic attacks and a burning throat and be thin :(  I think different drugs work for different people.  I'm trying to find the answer in a book but I think the answer is to find the strength to get off the drugs and do it on my own.  
Avatar universal
Many of thes edrugs make you gain weight, maybe you should see a specialist, I was seeing this docotr in Bverly Hills, his name was Dr. Kerendian, I noticed he had several patients like yourself that he was treating. I do not have the same problem, I actually did have weight issues and knee pain.
He helped me, he was great, I actually saw him because of this site
Avatar universal
Check out the web site theroadback.org  It may be able to help you lose weight.  I was on Wellburtin and Lexapo for 6 months. Gained 15lbs. I am now off the meds.  Just ordered all those vitamins off the road back site, I haven't gotten them yet so I don't know if they are going to work, worth a try for me.
Avatar universal
Try 5 htp..brand name Natrol seems to work best.. hope this doesn't get deleted. It's an over the counter serotonin booster..helps with depression and helps with weight loss. I swear by it..I too gained about 15 pounds on Lexapro and Wellbutrin and didn't like how it made me feel. 5 htp has almost no side effects.. a little jittery for first week and that's it.
Avatar universal
I have been on celexa for almost 3 months now and i feel as if i have gained weight i just had a baby two and a half months ago so i just started the nuva ring and i dont know if thats making my gain it please any advice on ethier.
Avatar universal
Effexor made me gain 30lbs., i lost it, was put on Cymbalta, and that made me gain 100lbs.  Cymbalta is actually known far and wide for weight gain.  Everyone reacts differently to any drug, but most people gain.  Cymbalta also has the worst withdrawal symptoms - I thought I was nuthouse crazy or dying.  I was then put on Topomax, which actually promotes weight loss (it can upset your stomach at first, but it DOES go away after your body gets used to it, PROMISE) and I lost about 40lbs in the first 2 to 2 1/2 months.  By about 10 months I had lost 100lbs.  Everyone reacts differently - but most anti-depressants cause weight gain.  Topomax regulates your metabolism and was almost marketed for weight loss before they realized its other benefits.  TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR.  MAKE THEM LISTEN.

IT'S YOUR DIME, you pay them, they can find something that is right for you.
479581 tn?1317761088
I have taken paxil, cymbalta and zoloft.  I gained weight on all of them.  I now take wellbutrin and haven't gained weight.  

Talk to your doctor (or get a new one) about changing your meds.  You are too young to suffer the side effects if you don't have to.
483733 tn?1326802046
This is an interesting subject.  I am falling heavy into depression and due to often having bad gastrointestinal reactions to depression meds I am afraid of weight gain.  I know that exercising will likely help me but it is so hard to get moving when you feel so down.
Avatar universal
Hi, I have started back with panic attacks and I am also very bad with taking my meds. I have gained about 25 lbs and my MD discovered that my thyroid is on the hyper side, wich that means that I should be loosing weight right? well....... in reality depression and anxiety can be difficult and it can make it worse when you are 25 lbs overweight and your MD states."don't worrie about your weight, lets get your serotine level up" I an desperate I don't want to gain anymore! He advised me to take Celexa (I did start 1 week ago) and he also stated and was very clear  that only 10% of people gain weight.
Please help.
912879 tn?1247529359
Hi there,

So, I found this site because I was doing some research on Lexapro.  In about 6 months of taking it, I gained almost 30 lbs, and thanks to this site, I found that I was NOT the only one!  

Hows it going with your depression/anxiety/weight?  Your situation sounds very similar to my own.  I have found a few things that have worked for me and wonder if they might work for you, too.  Get back to me, I bet we could help each other out!
Avatar universal
I tapered down from Lexapro 20 mg to 10 mg last week.   This week, I averaged about 7.5 mg a day.

I weighed myself Tuesday morning at 157.5.    I got on the scale this morning (Friday) for ha ha's and was surprised to see 155.5 ...    granted that includes 2 hours at the gym and a rather strict diet, I am now hopeful that I will be able to drop this weight much more quickly than before after reading all the horror stories out there about it.

And as someone else commented I feel much less BLOATED already!

The Dr did say yesterday that as I decrease the dose, the side effects will go away just as fast - I am hoping....
649848 tn?1534637300
I'm not on antidepressants, but I know one of the side effects can be weight gain.  BUT I would also like to recommend that you check with your doctors and have your thyroid checked.  The tests to ask for are Free T4, Free T3 and TSH -- if those levels are off, it will be seemingly impossible to lose weight.  I struggled with that for a very long time before I finally got my doctor to test my thyroid -- sure enough, that's what it was.  
Avatar universal
I am new to this site so here goes.
I commenced Lexapro around 18 months ago after going through a harrowing time with the sole care of my baby son and fleeing a domestic violence situation.
My anxiety and panic attacks were at their most intense and I must admit going onto Lexapro did wonders in calming my hyperviligant state.
Once on this medication I felt I could function more normally and I came to believe I was destined to forever be medicated to retain this sense of 'normality'.
I must also add that I am a surviving victim of childhood onset PTSD and adolescent anorexia. To this day I believe I will always carry some elements of my eating disorder with me, of which I go through a process of daily control, to curb my tendency of resorting to past, starving coping mechanisms.

To then find I have gained 30 lb (previous overall weight of 95 lb) has been particularly disastrous, if not emotive for my sense of well-being.

After reading some of the comments posted by those who have also experienced weight gain since commencing anti-depressant medication, I feel some validation in my suspicions that there was some form of external contributor to my weight gain and as well as comfort in my own sanity.

I have a question though - how does one get off this medication? I am currently on 10mg so I am unsure how to go about ceasing it?

Your comments are appreciated

Nikki - Australia
1522378 tn?1291221960
CELEXA made me gain 40 poundsin only 4 months. The problem is that this drug makes you retain water and crave carbohydrates like crazy. I had to stop this medication and try others but unfortunately weight gain is a side effect for all anti-depressants. Wellbutrin is the only one that I've taken that had minimal side effects (wt gain). You may want to ask your doctor is Wellbutrin is right for you. Goodluck :)
Avatar universal
I was on lexapro for about two years. I could not understand why I am unable to lose weight. I would diet and excersise and not lose a pound.  I have also been trying to find out why I have been having symptoms simular to ms. I found out by researching the internet that Lexpro can cause ms like symptoms and weight gain. I was takin 20mg of Lexapro and decreased it to 10mg for about two weeks. Than I decreased it to 5mg for about two weeks. I than stopped taking it completley and started having severe vertigo, confusion, mood swings. I didn't want to start taking this med again so for about a week I would take 5mg only if my symptoms of withdrawl were to much to handle.  I have now not taken this med for over a week and the withdrawl symptoms have improved greatly.  I think the withdrawl symptoms severity level is different for everyone. I am glad to be free of this drug and am trying to find something natural to replace it because I do not want my depression to worsen.
1612946 tn?1298369970

Your story touched me greatly. I admire your courage and grace. You inspired me. Keep asking questions, keep looking for the perfect meds for you, if any. Thank goodness for the internet. We can all talk together,
and communicating sheds light. I don't feel so alone.

Long Beach, California.
Avatar universal
Nina are you talking about the serotonin power diet?
Avatar universal
I too have taken lexapro, pristiq, wellbutrin, and effexor- I was a gymnast my whole life and have always loved working out and being fit- nothing super thin but 110 pounds for my 5'4 body. My doc suggested I go on an AD two and a half years after my father's death- I was 17 when he died and didn't really realize he was gone until I was 19 1/2.. I felt so lame for being so young and needing to rely on meds to keep me happy and to help me function. I gained 30 pounds in  a year. Like many of you, I exercise regularly and eat well and only drink water. I could not lose the weight so i called my doc(she and i are very close) I told her I would rather be depressed than overweight- I AM AN EXERCISE SCIENCE MAJOR for goodness sake. I love running and working out- but it is not so fun when you coach gymnastics for 5 hours a day and run 3 miles a day or more and can't lose the weight.. I decided to GET OFF ALL THE MEDS- so far it has been 9 days without anything and I puked everyday, had the brain zaps, migranes, dizziness and severe sweating all day and night.. ( this was even after weaning down properly) I want to encourage anyone that is trying to come off an AD that you can do it and I am sure if will pay off-ask the Lord to give you strength and he surely will. I have only lost 3 pounds so far, but will continue praying and busting my butt until I get back to where i was- I would be happy at 120lb.- I want to be beautiful for my wedding that is in JULy!!

Good luck to all of you special people,

Avatar universal
Thank you for your post. I was on Wellbutrin for many years--lost weight initially (is often mentioned as side-effect) but slowly regained (the brain adjusts to the meds). Hit a bad spell in life and my internist decided to add Lexapro. Said it helps when in conjunction with Wellbutrin. Well, I was yawning all day long. Happier? Yes, I guess. I couldn't really have long thoughts so who knows. But slowly I have added weight---thick mid section. I weaned off the Lexapro but had all the same side-effects you mentioned. I still take the Wellbutrin but cannot lose the extra weight no matter how much I have changed my diet and exercise. Talk about being depressed!
I have decided to go drug-free. I am a health-care provider and cannot believe how many people are on some form of anti-depressant. These drugs are prescribed way too much.
I agree, Tiffani. We all need to pray more.
Avatar universal
I'm on Prozac  and not happy with it. I feel loopy, get fits of dizziness, and bouts of upset stomach, I crave and I'm still depressed. I crawl into the bathtub and cry. I cry all the time and have attempted to commit suicide (can't find the damn bullets - ha ha good for me tho) and still think about it often.

I've not lost any of my baby weight 3 years later. My depression stemmed from Post Partum Depression. I've gained and lost, gained and lost but never lost more than 2 lbs. I've always gained 5 lbs or more. I don't want to exercise because of the depression. I still sleep a lot and I lose my temper all the time bordering on (I believe tho others don't) child abuse. I've got a doctor appointment Tuesday so hopefully all goes well.
Avatar universal
Has anyone tried 7-KETO DHEA?  Sounds like a miracle, I live in Canada and not many docs or pharmacies have heard of it yet.  I know it is readily available in the US.  I is supposed to be a cousin to DHEA without the bad side effects of DHEA.
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649848 tn?1534637300
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