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Effexor and Weight Loss/Gain

Has anyone taken Effexor and, if so, did you experience any weight related side-effects.  

I am worried about gaining weight and will not take this medicine until I find out.   I'm just scared because SSRIs cause gain.  Even though this is not an SSRI, it could cause weight gain.

230 Responses
Avatar universal

From what I am hearing , this pill called Effexor is helping a lot of people loose weight...Ive asked my doctor if it were true, He said yes ,  but being that I have no insurance, he advised me to just back aways from the table, becasue Effexor was very expensive..
I get samples of Zoloft now, he dosnt carry samples of Effexor, and I sure do wish that he did...
Avatar universal
I gained 30 pounds in three months last year on Effexor. My Doctor kept trying me on several different anti-depressants. When I decided in March of last year to stop the effexor, even with tapering off of it like my Doctor told me, I still had bad withdrawal.  I ended up stopping effexor and then joining weight watchers, that seemed to help my depression more than any medications. Good luck to you.  You also have to remember that everyone reacts different to medications.  What made me gain weight may make you lose. Good luck!
Avatar universal
I'm a little confused at to why there is weight side-effects.

Do they make me hungry therefore you eat more and gain.  Or do you just gain weight without changing any eating habits?  Same thing with losing.

I am way too scared to gain weight right now.  The pharmacist said there is no weight-gain side-effect but everywhere I look on the internet says otherwise.
108944 tn?1222281078
iv been on effexor xr iv gained 50 lbs.my biggest concern for you is the withdrawl symptoms when stopping it.just 2or3 days without it is hell.moodswings ,headaces,vomiting,flu like feeling,hot flashes. please talk to your doc about that.they dont tell you when you start it.
Avatar universal
Hi -- I have been taking Effexor for over a year -- started at 75 mg, now at 150 mg. -- works REALLY WELL for the depression -- no more problems. And, no additional weight gain, though I was overweight before.
My experience with Effexor has been better than with Prozac and Wellbutrin.
Avatar universal
Hi, I have been on Effexor XR for 3 years and I have gained about 40-50pounds, most when my dose was increased to 225, now I am on 75mg b/c I'm getting ready to wean off the medicine in a couple of weeks,and I haven't lost anything yet. My eating habits have not changed and I exercise. I have always been underweight and I could eat whatever I wanted...I'm only 26 years old...I know my metabolism has changed some, but not enough to pack on 40 pounds. Most of my weight is around my stomach and people ask if I'm pregnant because I've always been so skinny. Situps have not helped. On the positive side, Effexor is an amazing antidepressant, I tried wellbutrin first and it didn't help compared to the Effexor. Everyone is different, Effexor is know for having the worst withdrawl so you need to make sure the DR. takes you off it slowly. Good Luck!
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor X 12 months.  gained 12 pounds without change in diet or exercise.  I work out 4-5 days a week without fail.  I eat low GI index foods, and never "pig out".  
Most of the weight is around my middle and butt.

Very depressing.
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor XR for two years.  I went on it after my mother switched from Paxil to it and lost weight.  In the past two years, my mood has been great and my anxiety attacks have dissapeared, but I have gained 75 pounds.  My mother however has lost 40.  I honestly think the medication works differently for different people.  In my mother's case it gave her the will-power to lose, but in my case it made me so relaxed I didn't really care what I was eating or about the weight gain.  The one thing I am possitive about is how addictive it is.  My mom and I have both had periods of one or two days where we couldn't get a refill and we both suffered extreme withdrawl symptoms, including migranes, dizziness, blurred vision, insomnia, body aches, and not being able to hold down food.  And we are just on the minimum dosage.
Avatar universal
the first time i tried effexor it was because my zoloft had stopped working after yrs.  i lost all my zoloft weight.  25 poinds!  it was a miracle.  after about four yrs. the effexor stopped working so i tried other anti depressants with no luck.  my md put me back on effexor and now i am a fat slob who can't afford to buy any more jeans!  i went from a size two to a 7/8 in 5 months.  why now?  he said it can go either way.  i am miserable about my stomach.  i'm a small girl with a huge, pregnant looking belly.  i try to joke about it, but i despise looking like this.  speaking of withdrawl... if i miss my dose of 75mg by 4 hrs, i get dizzy.  don't know what to do.  (i just turned 34)
Avatar universal
i think that with drugs like effexor, the only way to lose the weight you gain from them is to go off of them ( i am not suggesting that, esp if it helps you to feel better)- just saying that from what ive heard, as long as they are in your body, they alter your metabolism and make it super slow, making it nearly impossible to lose weight and a sure way to gain weight. i have heard that in some cases they alter your metabolism permanantly, but i am skeptical of that. i'm trying to figure out whether that is actually true.
Avatar universal
I recognize that all people are different and that's why we respond differently to various medications, both in a positive way, or perhaps negative.  This is my experience......
I was diagnosed with depression in January 1999 and started taking Effexor XR.  Eventually my dose was increased to 225mg, and I continued on this dose until recently.  During these years my depression was under control, however my weight steadily increased and I gained about 45lbs.  While I recognize that taking any medication impacts your body, I don't believe that Effexor was to blame for my weight gain.  I have bad habits and I'm not as active as I used to be.  In addition, my metabolism has changed as I age (I'm now 34).  For me, I believe that if I'm honest with myself I attribute my weight gain to all of these things, and not medication.  In fact, last year while I was still taking 225mg I began dieting and lost 17lbs in a short time period by eating more healthfuly, controlling portions, and drinking lots of water.  Unfortunately I "fell off the wagon" and again resumed some of my bad habits which resulted in gaining some of that weight back.  Over the last year I have gradually tapered my medication (under the guidance of my physician) and very, very slowly come off the medication.  I no longer take any medications whatsoever (since Oct/05), and have not had a relapse in my depression.  At this point I am feeling ready to make a committment to my own health and do the work I need to do to lose weight.  I really do belive that it's a lifestyle change.  For those of you who are struggling with depression, don't give up.  While it can be frustrating and discouraging, it is possible to lose weight.  Weight absolutely affects self esteem but don't put pressure on yourself.....You'll get there!
Best wishes and good luck!
Avatar universal
Im new to this site- hopefully i will gain some insight from others. i have been sufering fom panic disorder for 10 years. Zanax use to work really well- but it stopped so i was put on klonipin- that worked for about 2 years- so i saw a psychitrist and he diagnoised me w/ social anixiety disorder. Anyway he started me on effexor w/ my klonipin and at first my anixiety was getting better- my dr. increased the effexor to 150mg a day and it helped even more w/ anixiety-but i became 2 laid back- i didnt care a/b my appearance or even getting dressed for the day. I became a couch potato and stayed tired alot. i would take a 3 hour nap and still sleep at night as well. Recently i found myself getting depressed because of how i had changed. my dr switched me to paxil and im concerned about weight gain with paxil. i hae gained about 10pds from effexor- but i was not active either while taking it. I am much more alert with paxil- no naps! I am concerned about weight gain from paxil because ive read alot of post fm others that claim paxil causes weight. Would love to hear some feedback. Thank You......
Avatar universal
I was on Zoloft for years.  I was then put of Zoloft plus Topomax.  All of these meds were for my migrains and chronic daily headaches.  Topomax definitely makes you loose weight.  I recently switched to Effexor 75 and still remained on the Topomax,  had no weight gain, but as soon as I went off the Topomax (I realized it was hindering my headaches, not helping any longer) I have gained 5-7 pounds. This is making me very depressed, my doctor just upped my Effexor to 150mg and told me to exercise.  He said Effexor does promote weight gain. I am sad, but the Effexor does help and make me feel better, just fat.
Avatar universal

I have been taking Effexor for a year and a half, started after a trauma related depression.
I have GAINED at least 20 pounds, and seem to be gaining more and more, even though i am going down on the dosage (now at 87.5 mg, decreased from 300 mg).
Effexor seems to be a very effective antidepressant BUT the side effects are HUGE TOO! Stomach pain, gaz, gastric reflux, headaches,sweating, insomnia,twitching, weight gain, total absence of libido, inability to climax etc....
The withdraw symptoms are even worse! Just to take your meds later in the day will let you experience these nasty symptoms: Nausea, dizziness, "brain shivers", blurred vision, shortness of breath, inability to fucus your thoughts,in other words, you are a real mess.
When you want to decrease or stop the medication, it takes forever since these withdraw symptoms are so difficult to deal with. Mood swings, irritability, anxiety and even suicidal thoughts add on to the other withdraw symptoms i already mentionned. Not to even mention all the weird feelings I have no words to describe, like limb pain, electric shock like feelings in the limbs, restlessness etc.....

If it is the first time you are experiencing a depression, I would strongly suggest that you discuss the option of other treatments before trying Effexor. It really has heavy consequences on your life and your well being, which might not matter much at first since you are so relieved to feel emotionnally better, but as time goes by, and as you wish to resume your normal life and activities, you might feel unable to do so because of all the side effects and withdral symptoms i mentionned.
So THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU GET STARTED ON EFFEXOR!!! Going back to a normal life is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT, and just the body image part as well as the asexual feeling might be worse than the original symptoms (and don't forget that you might feel even more depressed when you try to get off the medication- scarry!)

Good luck to all of you, and if you have any good tips as to how to loose all the weight gained while on Effexor, please let me know!
Dieting and exercising (a lot) for the last month asen't done the trick so far and i really feel hopeless and concerned !
Avatar universal
First I would like to thank you, to who started this website.

I have been on effexor for 2yrs now and thank god for this medication.  I was deppressed in a bad way, even suicidal. Not sleeping for days and then colapsing from lack of sleep...then sleeping for days.  I even had developed agoraphobia. I was unable to walk out of the door or do any activities with out my "safe" person.
I am 31yrs old and have been a size 4 my whole life. I never had to worry about what I ate.  I am now a size 10-11. 2yrs ago I weighed 120lbs...now, Im 160lbs!!!! I hate my body and I look at photos that have been recently taken of me and I ask, "WHO IS THE BIG GIRL IN THE PHOTO". I have been watching what I have been eating since Ive been on this medication...but it is hard.
Thank you to the others that have posted comments on this site..it lets me know that I am not alone.  And now that I am feeling better..my GP and I have decided to come off the medication.  I thought that the withdrawals were telling me to stay on the medication.  I have only been coming off the drug within the last 2 weeks. Yes, I have experinced the nausea...the incredable head spins, and hot flashes like Ive never known.  I know though not to give up.  And fight the withdrawal. Thank to everybody who wrote. God Bless You. And good luck.And CONGRATULATION ON GETTING THROUGH TO THE OTHER SIDE!
Avatar universal
I forgot to mention in my last note that I gained back 30 lbs after going on Effexor.  I KNOW it is because I am not moving my body.  I stayed on the Weight Watcher's diet for 6 more months, but it wasn't working any more because I WAS NOT MOVING MY BODY!  I just sit.  I don't eat large amounts of food, but I don't burn off what I am taking in.
Avatar universal
I thought the weight gain was my fault.  I was so glad to read that other people have had the same problem.  I have been on Effexor for a little over a year now.  First at 75mg, then to 150, then back to 75.  I was on Zoloft originally, but was at the max (200mg) and was still have panic attacks.  The doctor said that Effexor was better for me, so we tried it.  After the first few months she asked me what I thought of it and I told her I didn't like it because I didn't give a S--t about anything anymore.  I had lost 35 lbs on Weight Watcher's three months before I started on this medication.  Over the year that I have taken it, I have lost interest in EVERYTHING.  I use to make quilts and knit afgans.  I now just come home from work and sit, watch TV and do crossword puzzles.  I look at the Noric Track and then ignore it.  I am going to try to talk the doctor into letting me go back on Zoloft, which I loved!  I have gone through menopause, so I may not need anything now.
Anyway, I feel much better knowing that other people have the weight gain problem and that it is not just me.
Good luck to everyone.  Depression and anxiety are not fun things to suffer from.
Avatar universal
I just wanted everyone on here to know that i once was on effexor for a whole year. Loved what it did for me mentally. I coulda' cared less about anything at all! including my weight, unfortunitaly- for me.
I was a member of weight watchers before starting this med., i weighed in at a whopping 212lbs at 5'2".  I lost 40lbs with weight watchers and still going strong... untill i got myself started on that nasty little pill. it ruined me. Most of my issues are due to my obesity. All it did was contribute to helping me to not care, feel more relaxed, and gain back all i had worked so hard to loose.
I told my doc i wanted off of it, he did not want to take me off of it just yet, did not feel i was ready just yet, i felt differently.... so i showed him...... i quit "cold turkey".
BAD IDEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i am on Welbutrin& Topamax.
They work wonders for me together.
Good luck to anyone considering this drug. I hated it. I will never ever take Effexor ever again.
Avatar universal
Thank you very much to everyone who has posted; I no longer have to search the web for answers.  I have been on effexor for nearly a year and have also experienced stressing weight gain.  I previously weighed 110 pounds and now tip the scale over 130.  I am continually exercising and eating well, like I did before, but nothing is helping.  One of the reasons I went on this medication for my aniexty was my weight, and now my weight issues have come back.  I do however, feel so much better mentally.  I told myself last year, during the hardest time of my life, that I didn't care how fat I got, just as long as I was mentally sound.  But of course now I am upset about my weight.  I do want to go off the medication, but reading what others have posted I am wondering what is the most healthy choice.  If anyone has thoughts or experience about SUCCESSFULLY going off the medication and losing the weight it would be great to hear.  Thanks so much for your thoughts and opinions.
108944 tn?1222281078
any tips on help with the detox part of effexor,im on my second week of weening off it has been so hard.mood swings ,vomiting ,headaces,brain shivers, body pains,did i say mood swings, i have 4 children they think mommy turning into a monster.:)ha ha. i go down another dose next saterday.thanx sallie
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor for many years for panic disorder. I am on a very low dose of 25 ml. The drug has worked very well for me with moderate side effects.  Nothing I could not deal with.  Six months ago I had a major scare that automaticly influenced me to stop smoking. I was a smoker for thirty some years. Ever since I stopped smoking, my very quick metabalism seems to have shut down.  Previously I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted, without weight gain. Now I have to watch everything I am eatting and with that I am gaining weight. I am wondering if those of you who experienced weight gain were or were not smokers.  Suddenly it has come to my attention that without the cigs reving up my metabalism perhaps the effexor is the cause of the weight gain.  I was 104lbs. now 112 or so.  Alot of my weight is also in my middle which has caused me to go up in size quite a bit.  I see however, if I stop really watching what I am eatting and I don't exersize I could be 30lbs heavier in no time.
Any feedback would be appreciated.  Thanks.
Avatar universal
I have just stopped effexor about 1.5 weeks ago.  I was on it for about 1 1/2 years and had to get off after 25 lb. weight gain, effexor worked great for my mind, but not my body, felt very fat.  Does anyone know how long it takes to lose the effexor weight after stopping.  I work out every day and eat pretty well.  Just tired of not losing.  HELP!
Avatar universal
Hi everyone,
I have been taking Effexor for almost a year and in the last 5 months I have gained 50lbs. its awful and makes you feel so much worse about yourself, but also because on the effexor you lose interest in doing anything about the weight gain. I used to be very healthy and active and since taking heavy levels of effexor I just cant get myself to do anything. For all the benefits against depression it has, the side effects have made my life so much worse. I hope it works better for others because my effexor is just pulling me into a deep dark hole and it's going to be h*ll getting out.
Avatar universal
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