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dropping the Effexor/Lexapro weight gain

Can anyone give me an idea of how long it usually takes for your metabolism to recalibrate after stopping Effexor and/or Lexapro?  I've gained significant weight while on these drugs (despite an intense exercise program and careful diet).  My nutritionist and MD told me that the drugs likely altered my metabolism, but no one can tell me how long it will take to correct that.  Most frustrating, I've noticed that since I stopped taking both, my weight gain has accelerated.  Any ideas as to how long I need to endure this or ideas for correcting my metabolism?  Thanks.
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Avatar universal
I'm a woman in my early 30's and I was on Lexapro for about 9 years. Before Lexapro I was 5'4" and 115 lbs. Towards the end I was at 180 lbs. I'd never had weight issues in my life and there I was wearing a size 14/16! Of course the doctors blamed my diet for years. I said forget this and tapered off for over a year.

The last few months (August-December) were filled with daily dizziness and anxiety. It wasn't until January of 2015 that the dizziness stopped. I noticed a little bit of a weight loss around March/April of 2015 as I entered the middle of my tapering but it was very slow! I think these drugs definitely affect your metabolism and ability to bounce back, even with diet and exercise.

I was completely off of Lexapro by November of 2015. It wasn't until the summer of 2016 that I noticed some real weight loss! I'm now down to 135 or less (I haven't checked my weight in a few months but I can finally fit in a size 4/6 and comfortably wear a medium in tops again!) in December of 2016. I know the Lexapro was to blame because sometimes I'm eating complete junk and STILL not gaining the way I did while on Lex and eating healthy meals.

I believe my high metabolism is finally coming back but yes, it took awhile to get there. I'll never go back on any of these stupid drugs that make you depressed AND fat again.
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1 Comments
NeverAgainK, thanks for sharing this. I’m also in my early 30s, never had weight issues before, and have gained close to 30lbs in a year.  And moreover have gone from a size 6/8 (I’m 5’-10”) to a size 14/16. Lexapro has been very effective for anxiety attacks and stabilizing my mood, but at what cost? I’ve spent countless dollars on clothes not to mention the feeling of being overweight adds to depression. It also completely sneaks up on you which feels even worse! I weened myself off about a month or two ago. I’m starting to recongnize anxiety and mood swings come back, but I’m also starting a vitamin regimen to hopefully stabilize that. Anyways, thanks for sharing. I’ve been struggling the last few weeks and your journey is very relatable. It helps to know there’s others out there! ♡
Avatar universal
Now,it's 2 weeks later, I am so sad. The doctor after hearing my complaint about Lexapro and my weight gain. He increased the dose from 10 mgs to 20 mgs. He said that I was feeling better and was eating more but I'll check into it on your next appointment. My next appointment is in 2 months..... In the past weeks, I've gain another 5 pounds!
Now my weight is up to 196 pounds, in the past 2 months, I've gained 17 pounds. I wonder if my Doctor is crazy. At this rate, I'll be 213..... That's way to much!  Instead of taking 20 mgs, I think, I'm going to start taking 5 mgs and get off this stuff!!!  Wish me luck, and I'll let you know, how am doing......
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Avatar universal
Friends, I am so grateful to all of you who posted. I am another who thought it was just me and that I must somewhere in my diet made a change I wasn't aware of that caused me to pack on 20ish pounds. that's a lot when you're 5'3" and small framed. clothes don't fit, feeling lethargic, etc. So I committed myself to a 950-1200 cal diet and to make sure I exercised more. I did this for at 8 weeks, writing down everything I ate and the cals, and staying active daily. I lost nothing, maybe even gained a pound or two.

I finally got thinking it might be the Lexapro. I started weaning myself just yesterday. Your comments have helped me so much. Like many of you, the Lex helped through the crisis, but life is settling down, I think I can do without it, and I don't want overweight to be the new crisis.

Thanks again. Blessings to you all.
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Avatar universal
I thought I would revisit this site after a year hiatus to share my story. I followed responses religiously as I was enduring the frustration of trying to lose the weight; read everyones' responses looking for a glimmer of hope. Well, I want to let you ALL know that you WILL lose the weight and go back to your pre-effexor.

Here's my story:

Started effexor in July 08 noticed an actual weight loss within the first 3 months of being on it. I was (am) 5'5 117 so I didnt necessarily need to lose the weight but didnt find it alarming. Then all of a sudden around November/December I instantly gained 10 lbs. I never paid much attn to a scale and found it to be weird, but thought maybe it was from age and kind of shrugged it off. Then, came the months of January, Feb, March where I noticed the scale creeping up and up and my clothes getting tighter and tighter. One day I was at the gym and I was 140. I couldn't believe it, 23 lbs ?!?! That cant be right. I was doing NOTHING differently. Come April I decided to jump on the web and start researching if possibly Effexor was the culprit. Within 10 minutes it was abundantly clear, Effexor caused this weight gain :(

I immediately started to ween myself off, did not advise a DR but just took a few pills out a day. My withdrawl was pretty miserable but focused on the light at the end of the tunnel: lose weight! I dropped about 5 lbs within the first week and was stoked. But that was just water weight. Here is where the frustration lied: I worked out, I ate better, I dieted and after 3 more months being cold turkey I still didnt see any loss then from the original 5 lbs. Come July I was frustrated to tears. August maybe saw a lb or 2 come off.

It was around September that things started looking better. I dont know if it was the timing or the counsel of my DR that said I needed to "shock" or wake up my metabolism to get it going again and loose the weight. But I started running, intervals, crazy running. I didnt change my diet at all, just tried to "shock" my body back. FINALLY end of September I think I was down to 128. Then shortly after October I was around 124. Come December I was back to 117.

I think it was a combo of actually shocking my body and timing, but I think it was definitely just timing. You just have to wait it out unfortunately. It felt like around October/November it just fell off literally. Moral of the story: Your body WILL return to its normal state. This weight is what I like to call "fake" weight, medicine weight. Once you have it out of your system and you body is back to performing the way it was pre-effexor the weight will come off.

Just keep the faith, don't beat yourself up because its not coming off as quick as you like. I wouldn't recommend dieting but maybe alternating your workout to see if it quickens the process.  Please know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I lost all the weight about a year ago from now and have not gained a lb back, if anything I lost weight because I kicked started my metabolism so much.

Good luck to all of you. Its a very hard road but you can do it!!!
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Avatar universal
For those who are worried about not losing weight after quitting your anti-depressant: I have been on effexor 75mg for about 2 years, when i quit i went from 215 to 165 (my "normal" weight) within 6 months without any kind of diet or workout. I used to workout about 5 days a week after my 4th month on effexor because i noticed i was ballooning but i stopped doing so after a while because i saw no results whatsoever. so the only difference really in my daily routine is that i used to workout while i was on effexor AND gained weight, but when i quit and didn't workout at all i lost weight. just shows you how  effexor can affect your metabolism.
unfortunately for me, i didn't realize that effexor was the cause until i got back on it again my weight started increasing again, i'm weaning off of it now and hopefully i'd drop those pounds even faster now if i pick up a sport or workout.
so yeah the damage is not permanent, it just takes time for it to get out of your system.
effexor was really helpful with my anxiety and depression, it helped me a lot, but gaining weight is quite depressing too. i noticed that talking with my family and friends about my worries (even though they sound unreasonable most of the time) is very helpful.

good luck everyone
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Avatar universal
I take 300 mg Effexor XR, 20 mg Lexapro, 250 mg Lamictal, 600 mg Neurontin, 12.5 mg Cytomel.  My cocktail is tweaked from time to time, with less frequent additions or deletions of medications.  All these medications are to control my major depressive disorder, with its Axis II companion, OCD.  These are life-threatening conditions for me and my choices are limited:  1) hospital; 2) suicide; 3) drug management.  I'm fortunate that I've had excellent psychiatrists who specialize in psychopharmacology to work with;  so many people don't.  

Antidepressants and their off-label cousins are far too often prescribed for people who probably need a therapist to help them sort through events in their lives, someone who isn't emotionally involved.  This is immensely helpful and effective in and of itself, and far preferable to loading your body with a lot of chemicals.  If you had a scaly spot removed from your arm that had a few weird cells in it, would you blast yourself with chemotherapy for it?

However, if you truly need psychotropic medication, it can be a lifesaver.


That said, I have a couple of comments:

No matter the excellence of your relationship with your prescriber, ALWAYS research ALL your medications, before taking them if at all possible.  Next, look into the interactions between your medications, including tyrosine, 5-HTP, St. John's Wort, and anything else.  Pharmacists are an underutilized resource, and of course there's the internet.  Check more than one information source;  make your own decisions, or ask your physician questions about what you learn.  No one person or system, however well informed or designed, is guaranteed error-free.  It's your responsibility to take care of your health unless you're incapacitated.  Maybe your decision won't turn out the way you hoped, but at least it will be YOUR decision, based upon your reading and inquiries.

Lamictal and Cytomel both help my energy, libido, anorgasmia, and weight gain. No miracles, but improvement.  If you have someone who knows what he/she is doing with psycho drug combos, you might ask about these.  BUT.....look into the side effect profiles!  Lamictal is frightening for some people.  Cytomel is a T3 specific thyroid medication.  Other thyroid replacements won't have the same effect, and you may have to have a psychiatric specialist to prescribe it if your TSH is in the normal range.





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Avatar universal
As a 31 year old woman, who was on Effexor XR for 15 years. I have now been off for a year and my metabolism has just kicked in. I was never large as I am always active but recently I have seen a big drop in weight and an increase in calories I need to consume. My main issues are the heart palpitations and the memory loss from being so clouded for 15 years. I was poorly managed and never reassessed after the age of 21. I know it did some damage as I'm trying to get through nursing school now and re-activate my brain through learning new skills as I felt so numb and unmotivated. It takes time but just keep working on it, you will get there.
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Avatar universal
I gained ten pounds off of Prozac and when I saw that I got off of it cold turkey style. I wish you luck. Exercising helps the metabolism but not good enough for these meds. Try Wellbutrin. My doctor won't put me on it because she thinks I have and eating disorder.
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Avatar universal
Hi Scooby,  I am a 52 year old woman who just weened off Lexapro.  I was on it for 6 years.  I was going through a really rough time taking care of 3 elderly parents, (1 lived with us) raising a 10 year old daughter and a 15 year old rebellious son with my husband away at work most of the time ( I worked part time) I became so overwhelmed I was tired and depressed.  My know nothing dr. told me I should take Lexapro to get through this. Like an idiot I trusted him. I blame myself for not doing any research on it first!  I have always been on the go, full of energy and was a kick boxer and consistent speed walker.  Was always proud of how I worked so hard at everything and especially taking care of myself.  I was in the best shape of my life at the age of 45 and 46.  That's when I started taking the Lexapro.  I slowly gained weight and I just thought it was menopause.  I didn't eat much and was on my feet all day working hard.  When the scale started surpassing 150, (my normal weight was 132 to 137 at 5 ft. 6 inches) I was in shock, how could this be??  Then when it reached 160 I started to panic and thought getting old really *****.  Then one day, I decided to google Lexapro side effects.  I couldn't believe all the stories I was reading that were similar to mine!!  The heaviest I reached was 166.7 lbs.  I weened off Lexapro at a very slow pace and suffered all the side effects.  I just kept telling myself I was fighting the good fight.  It has been 2 months now that I am Lexapro free. I am down to 159 without doing anything different. Finally losing 8 lbs has given me some hope.  I'm ecstatic to see the scale go down FINALLY!!!  Good luck to you!
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Avatar universal
I know how you feel,and while I feel sorry for us all, I'm  so glad to find out I'm not alone....and isn't it amazing the docs don't tell us that this is a potentially really bad side effect, but continue to "beat us up" about losing weight.    I took Lexapro for 10 years, and decided to step off for awhile to see that the world was like again.    My normal doc wasn't available so I saw someone else who also told me "I would NEVER put a post menopausal woman on Lexapro or leave them on it because of issues with weight/libido, etc".   REALLY??  Why wasn't my original doc being my health care partner and making some other suggestions to me about what I should be doing or trying instead of leaving me on something that she should have know is causing me harm?   I've had an 80 pound weight gain over these 10 years....and have been beat up by physicians for "not trying hard enough" to lose the excess.    These posts have really been an eye-opener for me.
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Avatar universal
I am 42 years old and I went on lexapro 5 years ago for anxiety attacks after my divorce.  I didnt want to go on anything but noticed I was having to take more xanax each week to get through the days.  I was a size 6 145 lbs and about 5'8.  I am not a size 12 and 180 lbs its awful!  So I started seeing an acupuncturist and went on Chinese herbs to help with my anxiety as I have now been fully off Lexapro for a week.  The withdrawls from this stuff are awful but I want to try to get off of this not just cuz of weight gain but because I'm sick of not feeling things and my life has changed for the better now I'm married again and have a wonderful husband and life that I just dont feel I should need this anymore.  I am working out more and eating much better and taking ******* vitamins that are higher in B12 and fish oils.  I just home the anxiety stays at bay and these withdrawls go away here soon :)  I wish everyone luck in your journeys as what we deal on depression and anxiety is no fun but all these meds on the market are not any better sometimes as there are so many side affects.  I'm glad there are places like this that we can talk with folks about our issues and learn from each other.
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Avatar universal
Quit the Lexapro right away before you put on a ton of fat in your belly, hips and thighs.  It *****!
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Avatar universal
What did you do to shock your metabolism back to normal?
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Avatar universal
Tell me exactly what diet you followed.  High protein also?  I tapered off 10 mg of Lexapro in 2 weeks simply because of the FAT!  I was so thin and I'm furious to think that the jerks I work with who are the reason I had to take anti-anxiety now also took my thinness away from me.  The doc said…nobody will feel sorry for you because your BMI is still in range. Well, I don't care…I want what I had back … I worked hard for that.  I tapered off without telling the doc.  I don't want on this stuff ever again, though it did work and I felt good on it but I got off for the weight gain.  Had headaches and still have some dizziness…it's been 3 weeks totally off and the scale hasn't budged.  Went on Nutrisystem and gained on the Fast 5!  So, what is the best way to do this?
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Avatar universal
I wanted to purchase it but see it is about $150!!!
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Avatar universal
I tapered off Lexapro after I gained 20 pounds in 6 months. It was all belly fat, and I've never had a belly in my life (I'm 29). I had an insatiable hunger... it couldn't be controlled, and I thought it would go away after I got off the medication. Nope!! It's been 6 months and I still have to eat 24/7. I crave sugar (again, never been a huge problem for me) and carbs. I tried dieting, juice cleanses, working out... the weight wouldn't budge. After 6 months of being off Lexapro, I figured this is just how life was going to be. Then, on a last ditch effort, I tried a low carb diet. IT WORKED. I don't eat anything over 2% carbohydrates, and nothing over 3 grams of sugar. It's all super high in fat. I eat as much meat and dairy as I want... tons of it, and the weight is shedding off, all in my belly, TOO!! I hope this works for other people. The first week I lost 4 pounds. I hope it keeps up. I feel and look so much better already. I don't plan on eating this way forever, but for now I'll take it!
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Avatar universal
Hey, I tried to talk to my dr about stopping the Lexapro because I was groggy and a little bit less active than I was before- kinda didn't care about doing much.. like oh my hair, yeah its fine ill put it up in a pony- when before I was a shower every morning, full hair and make up- now 10 minutes before leaving for work is my schedule haha.. well he gave me the Bupropion  Wellbutrin, it does help balance and everything, but I felt myself being like super happy about pretty much anything- focus was a huge Plus! but one glass of wine, forget it.. im on my butt! I stopped taking all of it- I saw from Lexapro I may have gained 5 or 6 pounds.. im pretty groggy and I feel like I can sleep forever. It has been day 3 since not taking any of them. if your looking for a balance with Wellbutrin, I thought It worked well but I don't want to take a bunch of things forever.
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Avatar universal
I started lexapro in August of 2014 for severe panic attacks. I am 5'6 and weighed 125-130 pounds when i started taking it. I came off of it a month ago because I gained about 30 pounds on it, now weighing 155. I was going to try and not be on any medication but realized today I need to be on something because the panic is not going away. I have been taking .25 xanax everyday for the past few days now. Does anyone have suggestions for anxiety medicines to try that will not cause this weight gain? Also does anyone know how long it will take until this weight comes off. I eat healthy and exercise regularly  and the weight just isn't coming off.
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Avatar universal
Twice now, I have been miserable enough to take Lexapro. It makes me HUGE. Never again. There are plenty of other things to help with depression, nutrition, supplements, sunshine, divorcing a rotten spouse....So, finally after being off of Lexapro for about 2 months, the weight is falling off, I am not ravenous hungry 24-7, and I am not blinded by the dull, mellow numbness of Lexapro. I see that my life is chock full of people that I should have walked away from a long time ago. Lexapro is a fat inducing fog. It would be nice if doctors told you about this huh?
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Avatar universal
I recently had a liver transplant and was put on lexapro 5 mg.  Did not gain weight . But then they increased it too 10mg.  I can't stop eating and and can't get full.  I am very tiny. 5'5 93 lbs.  But the wight game is coming fast went not from 88 to 93 in 5 days. I walk 6 to 7 miles 5 days a week.  Eat healthy but a lot.  Any suggestions or a other anxiety depression meds that won't cause weight gain .  Wellbutrin?  ,
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Avatar universal
Hi everyone! I have been on Lexapro for 2 years and it has helped me so much with my depression, however I did gain some weight on this pill. This week after waning down the dose I went off. I think that it is easy to slip back into old habits, but if you find yourself in a bad position you probably weren`t ready to come off in the first place.
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Avatar universal
I have been off a low dose of lexapro for 6 months, 5# in the belly will not leave?! HELP!! Jeans too tight!!
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Avatar universal
I am on Tompamax 300mg a day I am scared but I can do it no side effects so far i see my doctor so far no side effects so far
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Avatar universal
Niacin in large doses does have side effects. It can cause serious liver damage.
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