Avatar universal

Weight Loss on SSRI's

I am currently on 150 Luvox and 12.5 Paxil Cr.  I am trying to lose weight on a diet and exercise.  I also could use a boost in the Paxil CR.  I started Paxil Cr about 6 weeks ago. I heard it is horrible with weight gain.  Is Paxil CR as bad with weight gain as regular Paxil?  Also which SSRI's will make me gain the least amount of weight.  I know each person is different, but I just mean genarally.

25 Responses
Avatar universal
I gained about 30 pounds since starting antidepressants.  Prozac was a big culprit.  Last year I was put on Cymbalta.  It helped me maintain the same weight for the most part.  It is supposed to be good for weight maintenance.  I have never gotten back to my original weight, but at least Cymbalta did not have me gaining.
Avatar universal
...I should say that Cymbalta did not have me gaining...too much.  I did gain a bit on it, but not like on Prozac.
Avatar universal
How is cymbalta on sexual side effects?  I hate prozac but it kept me thinest.
Avatar universal
Hi Jeff (and everyone else);

I am just new to this forum, and when I saw your post I had to respond! I have been off and on anti-depressants now for 6 years after the birth of my second child (had PPD and never got out of it).

Anyway, I just wanted to warn you that ALL of the SSRI's can make you gain weight. I have tried most of them--Zoloft, Paxil, Cylexa, Lexapro--and over those 6 years I have gained over 40 pounds!

I have tried everything to get these extra pounds off, including exercise (gym membership) and diets like WW and even Lindora (in CA). Some of the weight did come off, but it was only temporary. It just seems like a tug of war between me and those ssri's when it comes to losing weight!

I went back to my doctor two months ago and now I am on a different combination. I decided to try Wellbutrin XL even though I was wary of anxiety side effects. WOW! What a difference! Not only am I starting to drop the weight, but my libido has gone through the roof (sorry if that was too much information!)! I have been on SSRI's for so long that I forgot how bad my libido really was!

I am also taking Topamax to help with mood stabilization (since the Wellbutrin didn't seem to be enough for me). I've only been on topamax for three days, but already I can tell it's helping me stay out of the kitchen, ha ha! I have no desire to snack at all. It's great. I always felt the urge to eat constantly with Lexapro...I think those ssri's mess up your metabolism and that's why most people gain weight or can't seem to lose weight while taking them.

For what it's worth! Good luck to you, and keep us informed.


>>I am currently on 150 Luvox and 12.5 Paxil Cr. I am trying to lose weight on a diet and exercise. I also could use a boost in the Paxil CR. I started Paxil Cr about 6 weeks ago. I heard it is horrible with weight gain. Is Paxil CR as bad with weight gain as regular Paxil? Also which SSRI's will make me gain the least amount of weight. I know each person is different, but I just mean genarally.<<

Avatar universal
I have been off Effexor for 3 weeks now and cannot lose the weight I gained while being on it.  I am desperate for any information that you may have to get it off.  I can't fit into any of my clothes and can't afford to buy new ones, nor do I want to!  So not only am I dealing with the withdrawals but also the severe depression of feeling like a fat slob!  I work out every day and eat pretty well.....nothing seems to help....
Avatar universal
I am not convinced that it is the antidepressant that is causing the weight gain.  When you think about it, it has more to do with moods and whether or not you are more or less likely to eat depending on them.  If you are truly gaining that much weight after starting the antidepressant the first place to start would be to weigh and document your food intake.  It is suprising how often that is the culprit.  I just switched from Effexor, which wasn't working for me.  I gained almost 10 pounds on it.  But, I think it was because I was still feeling crappy and eating because I was uphappy.  I am now back on Prozac which kept me pretty even.  When you are not getting enough seretonine, you crave carbohydrates which increase seretonine levels.  I am sure there are some cases where the drug changes the BMR (rate at which your body burns calories), but you would just have to adjust to that level (by keeping track of your calorie intake and cardio expenditure).  Anyway, I hope this helps some of you are struggling with weight issues.  I don't think a lot of doctors are concerned about them and don't go over the many things that could be causing the weight gain that are linked to depression.  I am a certified personal trainer who has had a long history of depression and also grew up in a family full of psychiatrists and psychologists.  Take my opinion for whatever you think it is worth.  Good luck
Avatar universal
I just want to say that reading your post gave me some hope.  I am 34 years old and have been an avid weightlifter since I was 19.  I never had any weight problems until about 3 years ago when I was prescribed antidepressants.  I went through Lexapro, Remeron and Serzone.  I gained about 20 lbs. and was even more depressed.  I had been off of all antidepressants for the past year and a half now and have lost the weight. I had still been feeling pretty crappy and depressed and finally had a meltdown in my doctor's office today.  I have just been prescribed Paxil CR and so far everything I have read about Paxil is that it causes major weight gain.  I am getting more depressed just thinking about it and already want to stop taking it after only one dose. I would rather be thin and depressed than overweight and depressed.  It was really good for me to read a post from a personal trainer that at least gives me some hope that maybe I not heading for a huge weight gain.  Thanks for your post.  : )
Avatar universal
I have been on and off both Paxil and Paxil CR for the past 5 years when I go off I immediately start losing the weight. I went on again last Oct after being off almost a year when I went back on I was 114 lbs (I am 5ft 2 so right where I should be ) today after less than a year back on I am up to 140!!!

so starting next month my psychiatrist agreed to start weaning me off I will go down to 25mg for 3 months then 12.5 for 3 months then off completely again. It seems that the dr's just do not want to admit these drugs cause weight gain they are in cahootse with the pharmaceutical companies.

I am going to try some herbal remedies if the anxiety/depression come back. My regular MD has warned me I cant keep doing this to my body gaining and losing such drastic amounts of weight so fast it is just not healthy.

Paxil is a great great drug it does what it is meant to do. I havent had a panic attack in almost a year, and not a drop of depression. It is a shame with all of the research out there they havent come out with a drug that controls these things and doesnt cause the weight gain - sad.

Good luck to all of you and God bless!
Janene NYC
Avatar universal
I also never could shake the post-partum depression after my 2nd child.  I am also OCD, which causes even more problems.  I was 124 lbs a year ago.  Started Paxil and was up to 138 lbs.  However, I switched to Lexapro about 6 months ago and, until after the holidays, was still at 138 (142 now).  I had the idea to combine Wellbutrin with the Lexapro to help stop the weight gain and at least keep me where I am (I only register 8 lbs above my ideal weight on the BMI scale).  My doctor agreed to try it and it is the perfect combo for me.  I take 20 mg. Lexapro and 150 mg. Wellbutrin each morning.  My OCD symptoms have all but disappeared and the depression is totally gone.  Also, I have been able to pretty much maintain my weight, but have not lost any weight.  And the great benefit:  your libido will sky-rocket!  The Wellbutrin also seems to help you get that "get up and go" that you can loose while on Lexapro.  I am actually accomplishing things now.

While I'd rather be at least 10-15 lbs. lighter, I cannot imagine going back to life without my meds.  They have made a huge improvement in my life overall.

PS.  If I fast for a day, I can drop 2-3 lbs.  Also, taking water pills can help for a few lbs.

My motto:  I may be a little fluffy, but I'm happy!!!

Good luck to you all.  I know it is aggravating.
Avatar universal
All of these depression problems yes can be genetic,stress, and life struggles. I suffered from pesticide posioning in the early 90's. I have suffered many problems since then. I never knew they were spraying these toxic chemicals in my work area, and all over the building. You do not even know what your being exposed to. Google "Can pesticides cause depression". Pesticides are used in the grocery stores, every restaraunt you eat in. These chemicals are everywhere. The human body is not capable of fighting of all of these chemicals we are exposed to.If it says "IT KILLS"
it is killing something in your body. Women are more likely to suffer from pesticides because are skin is thinner.Men can also suffer. It absorbs thru the skin and attacks the nervous system. It is big business. The same people who make these pesticides are the same people who make the medicine to fix our depression. The EPA has a book out that you can have sent to   you for free call :1-703-305-7666.The book is called "RECOGNITION AND MANAGEMENT OF PESTICIDE POISIONING".Your flu like symptoms, depression, achy joints cramps nausea,   fatigue, diarreha,cancer and the list just keeps on going. Most people do not think having their yards sprayed for weeds could be their problem of what is making them ill. Termite treatments can actully kill you. The PESTICIDE company's will tell you their safe. See (Google)     how many law suits are against Dow for Pesticide poisioning and destroying peoples lives. Make sure you clean your fruit and vegetable with a pesticide removal solution. I just can not believe all of these people are that depressed something is messing with our bodies balance. And the goverment allows it. The pesticide companys and pharmacitucal are this countries biggest industries. It is scary of the control they have on this country.
Their are lawsuit against these companies for not listing all of their ingredients in medicine and pesticides. We believe it is safe our doctor writes the script, and the sell pesticides at your hardwarestore. Think again!!! Do your research. You must take care of yourself. Don't even trust your doctor. Their human and yes they do make mistakes. Educate yourself and them.
Good luck I hope this help someone
Avatar universal
Ok, well here's my input.  I am 46 and have never, ever had a weight issue. In fact I was always trying to gain weight as a teen and was nicnamed rake even in adulthood.  When I separated from my husband I went into a deep depression (I had been on Effexor already with no weight gain) and originally lost 10 lbs in the first 2 weeks of being separated because when I am depressed my appetite goes.  I was put on epival, raised the effexor and also seroquel.  I suddenly woke up one morning and was a blob!  I had gone from 120 to 150 in a matter of  months.  I went off everything but the antidepressant effexor and struggled to lose the weight.  I lost 20 lbs but can't get rid of this last 10-15 lbs.  i am now taking 300 mg of wellbutrin and 90 cymbalta.  I thought these 2 meds were known to be weight neutral or cause weight loss.  My doctor knows my concern about the weight issue as this is something I have never fought to maintain while everything else in life seems to be a fight.  If I stopped taking all meds, would I lose the weight and go back to my normal size.  I do lack motivation that's for sure!  I think or say I will start a program and don't.  I am not working either due to the depression and now to look for a job in these hard times is rough.   I have MASSIVE sugar cravings and can eat a litre of ice cream in one day, will eat a jar of raspberry jam, and chocolate. WHY now when this was never my eating habit in the past.  I never had junk food in the house, but never really had much food at all in the house.  HELP ME BECAUSE THIS MAKES DEPRESSION WORSE!
527657 tn?1214051850
I have been on and off paxil for three years now maybe even four.  But this last time is the last time I will ever take that one or any other antidepressant.  I AM DONE. i have always been around 130 lbs and am now up to a whopping 160.50 and sick of it all.  I dont even look like myself anymore.  Im dieting and exercising im not gaining anymore but the weight is dropping off so slow.  i mean in a month i have only lost a pound and a half and im also taking a supplement chitosan.  Anyone ever took this before?
Avatar universal
I have been on Paxil for about 4 years, and it has been super effective at staving off depression. I decided to go on it because my sister had been on it, and it worked for her.
Meanwhile, a few years into it, we are BOTH about 25 pounds above our weight before we started taking it!
My sister was always naturally thin, so it is particularly shocking on her. I have always had to work very hard to keep my weight down, so I am a life-long exerciser, and I eat healthfully. I rarely "pig out".
I recently switched to Celexa because of this, having heard that Celexa had less side-effects. Yet I cannot lose weight! I have been on a very strict diet for 2 weeks (vegan, no alcohol, no sugar), and I have only lost 3 pounds! This is not normal for me at all. In the past, when I curbed my alcohol intake and dieted, I lost weight immediately, at much fast rate.
This is really depressing. My psychiatrist is away on vacation for the next month, but I am going to wean myself off Celexa without her help. I know this is not advisable, but I refuse to stay on this horrid drug.
I am single and I am almost 40. I am a good-looking woman, but I feel unattractive now because of my weight. I should not be missing out on my last days of youthful sexiness because of these crappy SSRIs.
Avatar universal
I tried this and it worked for me. Taper off the meds.  Do Atkins, and the weight will come off not matter what. Even with a slowed metabolism, you will go into ketosis and lose weight. I say atkins too, because it is a diet where you will lose the most in the shortest amount of time. You would not want to be off meds any longer than necessary. You can lose 40 lbs. on atkins in about 3 months. Go back on your meds as soon as you can, taking with you that you need to monitor the scale. It will mean really measuring calories and a little more exercise until you see what your new energy expenditure is on the meds. Most of us do not initially watch this when on the meds because we are unaware of how quickly the weight gain happens, and we are usually so much damn happier that we don't care....until it is too late. I did do atkins once on meds, and it worked ok too, but I still craved carbs. That made it much harder to stay on it, and I failed. So, I can't comment on if that would work as well.
Avatar universal
I was on Paxil for a good 6 months for Depression. I lost 40 pounds while on it. It gave me a feeling of wellness, and therefore I felt I didnt need to satisfy myself by eating junk food, etc.... I lost the weight gradually from it. I think its different effect for different people. However, it doesnt make sense to me that someone will gain from it when its suppose to make you feel better, therefore, not make you eat as much.
Avatar universal
I have been on Paxil CR 3 different times.  The first time I lost about 15 pounds without trying (I think I was just so much happier and socially active).  Second and third time no weight change at all.  I have been on it for about 8 months now and my weight hasn't changed at all.  I am not sure how common the weight gain side effect is, but I know solemnence is a side effect and I definitely feel exhausted.  I have to force myself to exercise, and when I do I feel better.  I think it may be the extreme fatigue causing the weight gain in some people.
510680 tn?1303400449
I've been on Zoloft and Wellbutrin -- the latter for the past 10 years. Zoloft made it easier for me to gain weight, and Wellbutrin made it easier to lose at first. The big thing, though, is that we have to realize that, in the end, it's what food we put into our mouths and how much exercise we do or do not get that will determine our weight gains/losses.

The weight can pile on fast, unfortunately, particularly as we get older. We just don't realize how much our metabolism naturally slows, and how much we have to cut down just to maintain our weight.

My suggestion is not only moderation in eating (and drinking!), but also to keep an eye on your scale. Get a digital one, because it will keep you from lying to yourself about what you really weigh. And get on it every morning, no matter what.

I like this site for accountability; I post my little scale on my blog!

We also have to do some exercise. I like walking, and, most days, I'll walk 2 miles at a pretty good pace. Exercise will help your mood, too!
Avatar universal
I agree that what you eat and how you exercise are important but... I was 24 years old when I started taking Prozac for severe anxiety. Before in my teens I had undiagnosed anxiety and lost so much weight my friends and family became very worried about me. I got down to 115 pounds with a 5 ft 5 inches medium frame. I tried to gain weight but could not. I finally got to a normal 125 pounds and could not gain weight for years. When I went on Prozac at 24 I gained 30 pounds in a year! I have been off the Prozac for a 6 months and started pristiq 3 weeks ago. Since I started pristiq i have lost 6 pounds. I have to force myself to eat because I don't have an appetite. I exercise as much as I did before but the weight is pealing off my body.

point: I think we can watch what we eat and how we exercise but realize (1) we all react differently to these drugs and (2) most SSRI's make most people gain weight... so we need to decide... happy life and weight gain or depressed and skinny... I chose weight gain
Avatar universal
Hi there.. it seems that weight gain is an issue for some people on these medications.. well i take wellbutrin and I have lost 70 lbs in a year  and a half at age 38 when weight loss is not easy.. so i would think that i would recommend this to anyone who was concerned with the gaining..  I said for a long time that it was the stress that i was under that was causing the weight loss but i did my research and since welbutirn is a stimulant I believe this is what is helping me loose the weight.

I was 194 lbs and a size 16 at 5'9 when i started taking this in July of 08 and now I am 127 and a size 3/1 so it is a noticable difference. I also was able to bring my cholesterol down from 268 to 173 and raise my good cholesterol 5 points!  The doctors said that they had never seen a change in cholesterol to that extreme without cholesterol regulation medication. They were amazed. I was exercising regularly and eating less and counting calories but now I am not doing any of those things except eating well, and the weight has stayed off.  I feel better, my back doesn't hurt from all the extra weight and I look better so this had been a positive depression medication for me..
Avatar universal
I have been on anti-depressants for 13 years now and have been on many.  Prozac was so long ago I don't remember weight effects, but effexor made me lose weight however I was only on it a short time because it didn't help.  Then serzone didn't make me gain or lose.

I was on Paxil the longest (about 6 years) and gained 50lbs, and wasn't depressed but the weight gain made me feel horrible about myself.  

It finally stopped working so I changed to Wellbutrin and Lamictal. (Even though not bi-polar, Lamictal is working well with the wellbutrin for me)  The Wellbutrin/Lamictal caused a 50lb weight loss but I was nauseous for months.  The Wellbutrin doesn't help with the anxiety I was having so I had Lexapro added.  That did make me gain weight so I went off it and just take Klonopin for anxiety.

Now I am having more problems with depression so my doctor increased my Lamictal dose.  If you take Lamictal, you MUST increase/decrease doses SLOWLY.  (as goes for most anti-depressants) My doctor had me change by upping my dose 100mg immediately and I had horrible side effects I had to go to the hospital.
Avatar universal
I have been off and on Zoloft for a decade and recently went on citalopram to hopefully control weight problems.  I recently went to a holistic MD who tested me for thyroid problems and we are trying Armour Thyroid (rather than a synthetic thyroid med) to stabilize a possible thyroid-related link to my weight problems.  In the meantime, to hopefully get off citalopram, the MD encouraged me to purchase and try a nutritional supplement (which he does not sell or get a kick-back from) from http://www.truehope.com/default.aspx.  I do not sell it and am not related to this company.  I have only been on this supplement for 3 weeks and at my last check up with the MD he said I should stay on citalopram for another month until the supplement has time to begin truly effecting my brain.  He's not one to just jump from one med to another - and even gave me the option of either Armour Thyroid (which should have effect in 2-3 weeks if thyroid is the real problem related to many health issues) or trying other natural thyroid-enhancing supplements which would take closer to 2-3 months to tell a difference.  From the info on the TrueHope website, and from the research and experience of my physician, it looks like this supplement product may hold some answers for those of us with brain deficiencies.  Best wishes, everyone!
Avatar universal
hi,i hAVE BEEN ON PROZAC,THEn citalipram,whhich i have put 2st on with whilst taking boh,i did try reboextine as they dont ake u put on weight but they made me anxious an paniky,an they take a lot longer 2 work,i had 2 come off them :( cos they made me feel worse. i did come off citalipram,but had worst side efffects ever thought i was dying. yrs ago i tryd venleflaxine,but i gained weight with them 2........nothing seems 2 keep my weight stable,or lose weight .i did try duloextine for a wk,but came off them inbetween,i dont know whether 2 ask the doc 4 them again 2oro (duloextine now) as i had 2 go back on citalipram a wk ago due to not being able to *** off the mini pill-cerezzete,tyred coming off it an had major depression an paniky feelings,as ive taken it for over 6yrs without a period.any1 know anything abt duloextine? thanks clare
Avatar universal
I was diagnosed with ADHD late in my teen years.  I was soon put on Dextroamphetamine twice daily (10mg dose).  I really enjoyed the energy, tunnel vision, time management mastery, and focus and concentration I was getting from the medication.  However, I soon became terribly depressed as a result of "coming down" from this medication.  I did not see at the time that stopping the dex could be considered a viable option.  I was starting to excel at school, work, and some of my personal relationships as a result of taking dex.  With this being in the mid 90's Paxil was just starting to be a mainstream SSRI and was soon recommended by my physician.  It was great in offsetting the depression I was feeling from the dex.  I had a "no fear" mindset in social situations, had a constant smile on my face and had a great outlook on life.   I can't remeber ever having as many friends as I did at that time.  However the side effects were brutal.  Even on a stimulant ADHD medicine, I still gained weight.  I constantly craved carbs, had no energy, and started to become depressed from a 15 pound weight gain in a few months.  I then started to mix and match many different meds to find that "sweet spot" that the paxil gave me without the nasty side effects.  This was a losing battle.  I tried everything.  Lex, paxil, zoloft, prozac, celexa, cymbalta, Wellbutrin (which taking with dex made my anxiety 10 times worse!).  I eventually stopped taking the dex and over the last few years have tried to incorporate paxil and other SSRI's to help with my anxiety and depression but to no avail.  I tried diets and exercise and strict calorie control but still seemed to gain weight.  Yet over the last two years a new medicine has hit the shelves that seems to help with the excess weight gain.  It is a migraine medicine called TOPAMAX.  I've been on a high dose of top for about 6 months along with paxCR and have stayed at a steady weight.  I still have the lethargy and sexual side effects with the paxil but I no longer have the weight gain.  If you feel like paxil or any other SSRI is a godsend for you but hate the weight gain then TOPAMAX may be the medicine for you.  It has changed my life.  
Avatar universal
I use to be very healthy and slim prior to taking zeldox and Luvox. I never use to eat as much and especially never use to eat as much junk or fatty foods. My problem is that I can't be of Luvox coz it takes away thoughts in my head so it makes me fall asleep. I use to be about 10kgs lighter than what I am now. Now I am borderline healthy overweight. I spend a good part of the day exercising and when I'm doing it I really exert myself. By the end I am exhausted. My whole body back and knees take the brunt of it. I don't want to spend the rest of my life crippling myself because of the weight gain these medications cause me. I really want to know if there are scientists or professional taking in all this serious issues into consideration and creating medications that don't cause us to be weak dizzy and wobbly and hungry hence weight gain. I want to stress this to everyone to appeal to the pyschatrists and charities or professional that deal with mental illness  and depression. Coz we need desperately need a solution. We can't go on living like this can we? The time is now to create better medication for us coz I will be in big trouble physically and mentally too if this doesn't happen. Does anyone know of something good haping out there in regards to this. Please.
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