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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.
835 Responses
Avatar universal
I am not sure... but will be very curious to hear these responses... my boyfriend started Lexapro like 1 1/2-2 years ago and has put on 15 lbs or more... they never told him that side effect, and he is so unhappy with it... He is tapering down his dose as we speak... we will see... I think he is perfect but his self esteem is suffering...  Hope you get down to what you want quickly - good luck to you!
Avatar universal
I was told by my phys. that Lexapro would not cause a weight gain while taking it for slight depression. If it causes weight gain, I need to get off this stuff. Please provide feedback.
Avatar universal
My physician told me the same thing,  "no weight gain associated with Effexor" I am on 225 mg since Aug 2005 and have gained at least 20 lbs and gone up 2 sizes, I am sick about this and am tapering down as we speak!!
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
i have been on 225 of effexor and it has helped me alot but the weight gain has been horrible.  i crave carbs and feel hungry alot.  but i tried goin off the effexor and had bad bad withdrawls.  i took my time too.  any ideas?
Avatar universal
I have been on Lexapro since Sept. I have gained 25 lbs. I haven't changed my diet drastically enough to cause this change... i think it's the lexapro. I also have no libido, dry mouth, increased hunger. I am about to see my doc to change to another drug.
Avatar universal
I am now just tapering off Effexor after 3.5 yrs and 40+ lb weight gain (I refuse to get on the scale now).  I have worked my way down to 75 mg after being at 300mg and yes, I've had crazy side effects.  My Dr told me as well it wasn't the drug making me gain weight but I *know* it was.  When 1st started the Effexor I did some research and saw that people had gained weight but I figured the depression was the bigger of the 2 demons.  I do feel in control of my depression but I seem to have no control over my weight.  I am hopeful that after I am off the drug 100% that my body will return to some kind of normal - fingers crossed!  Please everyone keep posting - I want to know how things are going for you too.  Thanks.
Avatar universal
Since starting to take Lexapro one year ago, I have put on 30 lbs.  The med has worked wonders on my depression, but has played havoc with my weight.  The Dr. says it won't put on weight on by itself.  He says I'm feeling better and this is why the additonal pounds due to eating more.  My consumption of food has decreased and I'm eating healthier foods. Yet, I still put on the pounds despite exercising 45 minutes 3-4 times a week. I don't under stand this and what to believe.

Avatar universal
If you want to read my whole story, check out my post under "Real talk about antidepressant weight gain."  Befoe going on Effexor, I had gained 20 from other antidpressants (Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa).  Since beginning Effexor 1 year ago, I have gained a combined total of 53 pounds.  AND YES I EXERCISE AND EAT HEALTHY!  At one point I even got a trainer and still couldn't lose weight.

I am afraid to go off Effexor because I'm convinced that I'm  "A Lifer" as far as needing medication fro depression.

I am in education and with summer coming, I hope, as long as I can get my psychiatrist to agree that I'm going to change my meds, that way if I get sick, which I kknow is likely ( I had an awful Paxil withdrawal in 2003)I at least won't have to go to work.  I'm doing research, but I'm thinking Welbutrin might be my best bet.
Avatar universal
Hi all,
I've been on Effexor for about 8 years now. I tried others, including Lexipro. I literally went to bed weighing 145 and woke up a week later weighing 170. My second Dr. showed me in his palm pilot that the #1 side effect of Lexipro (and Celexia) is WEIGHT GAIN. I took myself off of 225mg/day of Effexor and experienced HORRIBLE side effects, however I had no choice, my insurance ran out and we all know that's not cheap. At any rate, I've been back on the effexor for about 8 mos now, I'm 5'4 and weigh 188. For 1 month now I've been trying soo hard to do Atkins (no comments please) and have not lost 1 dam pound. I generally eat healthy to begin with, so I never went through withdrawls, I even did a meat and egg thing for 3 days where that was ALL I ATE. Still, nothing. Yeah, I might have a few Mich Ultras, but I know A LOT of other people who did Atkins and drank and still lost the weight an I can't. I think back to before I stopped taking the effexor, I bounced between 160-168. When I stopped, I lost a lot of weight without trying (it's amazing what stress can do), however it was a choice to be thin, or fight the evil deamons of depression. Thats when a new Dr. suggested the Lexipro; when I commented about weight gain, he said what they all say "No it won't" 4 weeks later for my follow up I had gained 7 lbs. I'm happy with the results of the Effexor and I know it's a lifetime thing for me, but I can't get my metabolism to wake up, even with fat burners. HELP!!!!
Avatar universal
I have been on Lexapro on and off for 2 years now.  I had to quit taking it for 3 months because i ran out of health insurance.  I also am on weight watchers and had lost 50 pounds a few years ago.  I was looking back on my weight loss chart and saw that within 3 weeks of starting lexapro each time, I had a significant weight gain.  I went from 175 to 185 the first time and then continued to gain despite following the program and exercising.  When I went off the med, the weight began to drop and I made it down below 200.  I started it again in February this year and within 3 weeks, here came another 10 pounds and it's been steadilly going up ever since.  I diet and I exercise and it's the only thing that I changed to my routine.

I'm now coming off Lexapro again.  Because I have mild depression, my doctor suggested that I try ginkgo or St. John's wort.  Since I can't take the latter, I'm going to try ginkgo.  I'll post here on how the weight goes.  I've been 2 days off the med now.
Avatar universal
I hate lexapro!!!! I was told by my doctor that it would not cause weight gain and he lied! I started taking 20 mg in December and have gained 15 lbs since then. The funny thing is that I have a trainer and do at least 1 hour of cardio 7 days a week and still gained weight! I feel horrible. In fact, the weight gain is making me depressed. I would rather be thin and anxious than fat and chilled. I am in the process of tapering off it and and I feel like ****. It is horrible. I wish that others knew the truth of this horrible drug. The positive of  drug is that it took away my anxiety and I felt great despite getting fat! So, I choose to be anxious than fat... what a shame. I guess all meds for anxiety do this.  Wish the doctors told us all the truth before we took it. Hope  this helps someone before taking this drug!
Avatar universal
I was on Paxil then Lexapro for over 2 years and gained about 40 lbs.  I started because I was depressed.  Now I am fat, too.  And I have never had a weight problem before.  I am finally off and hoping that I can lose some of this weight.  If anyone has a success story about losing weight after quitting lexapro, please post it.  I could use one.
Avatar universal
I am 24 with no previous weight gain issues. I was 138 before i got on lexapro in dec of 05 i am now 155 and totally upset. i did not know that weight gain was a side effect that goes along with this drug. I have really bad agoraphobia nd panic disorder and the medicine has helped me alot but being overeight isnt something i wanted. i am going to talk to my doc on wed and ask him to start tapering me off my 10 mg doses a day.
good luck with all ur battles!!
Avatar universal
I too have been on Lexapro for about a year or so now.  About 6 months ago, they increased my dosage. My weight's been going up (and I exercise severl times a week).  Somehow tonight (that's why I was searching out lexapro and weight gain)I just mentioned the lexapro to my trainer.  They advised that they have several clients on lexapro that are having the same trouble with weight gain.

They seem to think that it may have something to do limiting the control we have over our intake.  I just know I've been spinning in circles.
Avatar universal
hi my name is cristina...i'm 32 mom of 2 and before effexor i was completely "out of control". i was really nervous, had panic attacks, was bad with my kids and hubby....i've been on it for over 2 years and it really saved my life. i'm another person today..IN EVERY WAY! I GAINED 60 POUNDS since i've been on these medications! i'm trying to stop taking them now ( although i get withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, ecc ) because if i continue i'm afraid that sooner or later i'll explode! please...if anyone finds out how to stop all this weight gain..tell me! i'm on a diet : nothing -  i go to the gym : nothing. i'm desperate!!!!!!!!!

pls help!

Avatar universal
question guys--
From this strand there certainly seems to be an agreement that Lexapro indeed causes weight gain, despite being labeled "weight neutral."

My question:
Anyone have thoughts on which is WORSE in this regard, Paxil or Lexapro?
Avatar universal
I will tell you that I was told the same thing about the Leaxapro not making you gain weight -- that it's feeling better -- it's NOT true.

I do feel better finally but if I forget to take a Lexapro, I get the nausea, etc. and I have been on it 2 years with a weight gain of 40+ pounds!

I ran a marathon in 2000 and now I walk/jog 3 miles 3-5 days a week and stick to an 1800 calorie diet -- so what's up!

Avatar universal
I'M SO RELIEVED BUT UPSET TO READ ALL OF THIS...I was on for 2 years and gained 15 pounds (but of course, I didn't care since I was on a drug) Now, I've been off for SIX MONTHS and I can not lose the weight. I know I ate more and drank (like a fish) more on Lexapro, but I also kept going to the gym.

I am hoping that it re-calibrates, but I'm 48 years old, so I'm worried. I feel like a dumpy old lady.

Right now, I'm taking 5HTP for depression, and it's not as powerful as a drug but it does work. And it helps with food cravings.(Book "The Mood Cure" has all the info.)
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor XR 150mg for over 2 years now, and have decided that it is time to come off of it. It worked wonderfully for my anxiety/depression, and the only lasting side effect I had, was when I took my daily capsule later than usual. I have heard the sensation described as brain shivers and they were hideous!
The weight gain, however, is more than I can bear! I have gained 70 pounds since being on the Effexor, and have a host of debilitating physical ailments now as a result of the weight gain! Has anyone been truly successful in achieving metabolism normalcy and weight loss, after stopping this medication? I am desperate for a light at the other end of the tunnel.
Avatar universal
I've been on Lexapro for four years (unfortunately)and the weight gain issue has been foremost in my mind. I was on zoloft for 2-1/2 years and gained nearly 30 pounds. On 10-15 mg Lexapro, I ballooned 20 lbs because I wasn't exercising or watching what I ate. By changing my diet (eliminating wheat, limiting candy and sugar) I was able to lower my weight by 14 lbs -- I can live with 6 extra pound. I recommend visiting a nutritionist -- it helped me significantly -- and exercising. I've just upped my dose to 20 mg and I'm worried -- hard to contol the appetite. I'll have to step up the workouts and the diet control...
Avatar universal
I've been concerned about my weight since the 5th grade (note: I'm 28 now) - I went on Zoloft in December of 2003 and switched to Lexapro sometime in 2004.  

I've had the weight gain.  

When I started Zoloft in December of 2003, I was around 205.  I immediately dropped about 10 pounds.  But, then it slowly started creaping back, even after switching to Lexapro.  I've had moderate success with losing a few pounds; however, I'm ravenous for food a lot of the time and have uncontrollable cravings.  Not cravings for sex, mind you, just cravings for food.  My poor husband!  

Long story short:  I've started decreasing my dose.  I was doing 10mg.  With a pill cutter, I made a group of halves and quarters.  I did a week at 7.75mg starting June 20th, a week at 5mg and now I'm doing a quarter dose at 2.25mg.  The withdrawl symptoms that I've had have been very brief versions of the withdrawl I've experienced in the past when I've forgotten my dose, or forgotten to refill.  

I joined Weight Watchers May 23rd, at a whopping 224 and I've only lost 2.4 pounds.  I'm hoping that the decrease in chemicals that I'm putting in my body will help with my weight loss.  I just don't want to be sad all the time!  The anxiety that I would experience, just over a dirty kitchen floor, was rediculous!  >sigh< fat and depressed about weight, or just plain depressed?
Avatar universal
I've been on 225-300 mg of Effexor XR for the past 2 months. Before that, I was taking 150 mg for about six months. On 300 mg, my mood was good. I noticed a big improvement in my depression but I've gained between 8 and 12 pounds in that time period.

So we all know about this weight gain side effect being real, even if the doctors want to deny it. My question is, are there are any medications available to help treat severe depression, social anxiety disorder, and PMDD that DO NOT have these side effects?

I don't want to get to the point of gaining 40+ pounds before I do anything about this because I'm one of those people that will get a lot more depressed/out of control if I feel fat and horrible.
Avatar universal
Unfortunately all the antidepressants cause weight gain and does it so suck!  I have only been taking Effexor XR for about 3 months and I have gained about 7-8 lbs.  I am having unbelievable cravings for carbs. mostly sugary sweets.  I have been on Paxil in the past and I also found myself gaining weight on it, too.  I believe both meds did help in my mild depression but it was too much of a risk to keep taking them and gaining, gaining and gaining.  I believe ALL SSRI's force you to gain weight.  Pharma companies do not want it to be known to the patients nor the docs if the can divert them from that conversation.  I used to be a pharma rep and we dance and hem hawed all over the place when there was some quetion going that you knew was not going to end well in our favor.  I will be getting the starting pack for Effexor from my doctor's office tomorrw, so wish me luck!  I was able to come off of Paxil CR fairly easily.  Let's hope the EF is just as simple....yea, right!! LOL
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