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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 took lexapro, started off at 10mg and went up to 20mg. After 9 months I had gained 45 pounds! i'm a fish eater and a runner and nothing helped.  I stopped taking it immediaitely, started researching it and found an e book on taking vitamins.  So far I've lost 23 pounds just by following a vitamin regimine.  I cant thank these people enough. I still run and each healthy but starting to feel better that my scale is moving. the ebok is Lose the weight from antidepressants from james harper. I think i paid six bucks for it but still have it. Hope this helps for anyone reading this.
Avatar universal
i have been on lexapro since October 2007. I got off it over a week ago cold turkey. Today for the first time, i got on many forums to see what is wrong with me right now. I have brain flashes, weight gain since i got on them. Hungry all the time, tired all the time, cant sleep at night, I'm afriad what my mood may be in the near future. my bones ache and i just hate the way I'm feeling. Advise for everyone, do the right thing, read ahead of time, dont do what i have done. Contact your doctor and let him advise you.
Avatar universal
i have been on lexapro since October 2007. I got off it over a week ago cold turkey. Today for the first time, i got on many forums to see what is wrong with me right now. I have brain flashes, weight gain since i got on them. Hungry all the time, tired all the time, cant sleep at night, I'm afriad what my mood may be in the near future. my bones ache and i just hate the way I'm feeling. Advise for everyone, do the right thing, read ahead of time, dont do what i have done. Contact your doctor and let him advise you.
Avatar universal
I've been on Lexapro for just about a year. My doctor prescribed it because of the stress I endure on the job.  I did not know until just this week that Lexapro has been the culprit in my weight gain for the last year.  It really infuriates me that my doctor did not advise me that weight gain was a potential side effect of this drug.  

Now that I look back I realize that I started gaining weight very quickly after going on this drug.  I've gain about 20 pounds in 10 months.  Ten of those pounds I put on really fast.  The remaining 10 have piled on slowly.  My diet has remained the same as before I started on the drug.  About 3 months ago I went back on the South Beach Phase I and could not lose one pound.  The South Beach has always worked for me.  Lexapro can not only cause you to put weight on, it can prevent you from losing weight.  

I have been taking one 10mg tablet daily for the last year.   As of a few days ago I've cut myself back to a half a tablet for the next couple of weeks, then will go to a half every other day for a few weeks and then stop completely.

There are natural ways to elevate your seratonin level like eating foods that are high in tryptophan (eggs, turkey etc.) which will cause your brain to produce the seratonin.  Lexapro is a seratonin reuptake drug.  You can also purchase tryptophan at vitamin stores.



Avatar universal
I have had a similar situation as other with weight gain; on Lexapro I gained 15 lbs.   I am an avid exerciser burning up to 3000 calories a day and was eating 900-1200 calories a day with not a 1/4 pound loss during a 5 month period. I met with a nutritionist who said I was staving myself hence the weight gain so started following her direction - no change. I tried no carbs everything and still no change.  I have now gone cold turkey off of the med and am seeing an endocrinologist to see if there is anything they can do.    

What is the time frame that others began to see a drop in weight after going off of the Lexapro?  Any advice on books to read or specific diets to follow would be welcom.  
Avatar universal
I have been off Lexapro for a year.  I have changed my diet and started exercising more regularly but I still have my belly fat and can not loose the 10 lbs I gained while on Lexapro.  I have never ever had a problem with belly fat and its really driving me crazy that I can't get rid of it.....

I came across something today that I think I will try...go to www.***********.org and go to the weight loss tab.  I found it really interesting and I think I will try the JNK supplements that this nonprofit recommends.....looks like its all natural too!
1 Comments
I just wheined myself off of lexapro after a 2.5 year usage I went from 145 pounds to now 200 lbs and am completely miserable with the weight gain. Help!
Avatar universal
Forget the antidepressants- the two best natural anti-depressants are nac and shelled hemp seed- take one 500 mg of nac and one tablespoon of shelled hemp seed three times a day before you take any anti-depressant- these are way more effective and they aren't toxic like the anti-depressants- from an x-antidepressant user who struggled like hell to get off
Avatar universal
iiiiiii
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!!!
Avatar universal
My story is similar to everyones. The first time around I gained 21 lbs, stopped meds and lost 14 of the 21 in 3 months. I did a lot of cardio, boxing and running. I think the weight came off when it felt like it, not because of the excercise. Prior to A/D s I had borderline 6 pack abs, best shape of my life and then....
Anyway after starting A/Ds for the sceond time, I gained 7 additional lbs for a combined 28 over my "in shape" weight. This time it's been 2 months and not much has come off. I don't even weigh myself cause it gets me going. I've been thinking that since the body didn't put on the weight because of a calorie surplus, then maybe it doesn't recognize it as fat that needs to be burned off and a calorie defecit doesn't do anything. Which means how and when it comes off is up in the air.
Avatar universal
I've been on Lexapro 20mg for almost a year now and have put on 25 pounds! And I feel horrible the lexapro definitely helps my depression but all this weight gain is just making me feel worse and worse. I got on antidepressants about 6 months after I had my daughter and now almost a year later I weigh 25 pounds more which is almost what I weighed at my heaviest during my pregnancy ahh I just feel crappy everyday because of this weight gain. Wish I could do something to reverse it while still getting the help I need for my depression!
Avatar universal
i am 16, and was wondering if i should take lexapro. i am very active, and play 3 sports.. not good im guessing.. i also have an eating disorder.. so gaining weight wouldnt be good.
Avatar universal
So, lately, after 8 years on Lexapro, I quit.  During that time, I went from weighing 150lbs to 178lbs at my peak!  I'm about 5'9, and 178lbs is a flabby.  Although my anxiety was much better, I would say I would still get moody at times, and I feel tired a lot and sleep TOO MUCH.  Well, I happened to watch a great documentary called FOOD MATTERS, and in it there is a Doctor Andrew Saul whom I found charismatic and well spoken.  He mentioned that NIACIN, or Vitamin B-3, taken at large doses (3grams/day) can help cure depression and even schizophrenia without side effects.  Some people get flushing, but you can get non-flushing type.  So, I've been trying that with good results.  I stopped taking the Lexapro about 3 weeks ago cold turkey, and after about two weeks, the dizziness and zaps went away.  Right now, I feel quite good, and low and behold, I've lost about 3 lbs already!  When I started Lexapro in 2003, I also started boxing around the same time, so I had assumed that the weight gain was due to my training at the gym, but actually I think it was the Lexapro.  I also thought it was an age thing (I'm 37), but I've noticed a sharp and healthy decline in my food intake and cravings the past two weeks.  So, yes, Lexapro seems to cause weight gain for me, too.  But, I would highly recommend Niacin as a natural, safe, and cheaper alternative.  Just try it.  I have more energy, haven't felt depressed yet, and I don't feel so tired all the time.  Read here, and good luck everyone.  Depression is a tough illness:

http://www.doctoryourself.com
http://www.doctoryourself.com/hoffer_niacin.html
http://moodydays.com  (my blog on depression)
Avatar universal
I am 32 and began taking Lexapro in September of 2009. I have Social Anxiety Disorder and depression. I have taken many other antidepressents in the past but never longer then a year at a time and never gained weight! No diet and no exercise.
Up until I began taking it I weighed between 103 and 105. I am 5'4'' and have a very small bone frame. I have been this weight since high school and I have 3 children. I was able to lose the weight after the children naturally. Although it took 3-6 months. I have never dieted or stuck to an exercise program.
After 6 months of taking Lexapro I had gained about 13 pounds. Shocked with weight gain and unable to wear any of my clothes I began a strict diet and exercise plan and still ended up gaining additional weight. I am now 132 and gained about 30 pounds total. I am boderline size 8! I felt like I was going crazy about the weight gain? I went to my doctor on 4 different occasions about the tiredness and weight gain and never once did he say it was the Lexapro. He said it is calories in and calories out.  I feel like I am starving all the time because of the dieting and yet completely bloated. I am upset to be fat and hate to see all the fat on my stomach proturding over my pants waist line and looking at back side rolls under my shirt. I had no idea Lexapro would cause this much weight gain. I also slept all the time (including after 8 hours of sleep falling a sleep at the wheel and getting in a fender bender). I didn't have a passion for things anymore.
However, the plus side is zero anxiety disorder. It def. helped me in some trying times and removed my probles in social issues.
On my own I cut the 20 to 10mg for 2 weeks. Then I cut that to 5mg for 2 weeks. Then went to approx 2.5 for 2 weeks. Next took a tiny nibble of pill each day for a week. I have been off for 3 days and am dizzy, can't walk, running into things, sick to my stomach, shivers, brain feel like its in paralysis, even right now respelling things over and over incorrectly and diarreah. Horrible, Just want to take it to make it go away. If I dont lose any weight and get energy back within 3 months I am just going to get back on it so I can go back to being a zombie.
Thank you for your posts. I dont feel so alone or crazy.
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.
Avatar universal
Thanks for the reminder about Niacin. I saw that video a while back, but I'd forgotten. thank you for posting.
Avatar universal
I gained....and here i am 20 lbs heavier in 3 1/2 years from 130 lbs to 150 lbs...I feel so stupid not coming here and finding out that this might happen and i can switch to another med....but it wasn't me! I kept telling me docs nonstop, there is something wrong, i can tell this is not normal i am gaining a lot and they consistently said - Lexapro cant make u gain, research doesn't show that. F your research and read this forum and the hundreds of people screaming it does.!
Anyhow - damage is done! Now what? I was on 20mg for 2 years and for last 1 1/2 years tapering it off and now I am at 3 1/2 mg and I workout regularly and eat healthy...when do I get my metabolism back? after I am completely done with this med? or never? or slowly? what happens now...I REALLY need to know...because while ur "mood" gets better with Lexapro the weight gain can make you disheartened
Avatar universal
I am so thankful for this site.  It let's me and my husband know that I am not crazy or just not being consistent in the gym.  After 2 1/2 years I weaned myself off of Lexapro in May 2009.  By then I had gained 40 pounds.  I keep going to my doctor and he keep saying it was just my age although I have been little all my life even after two children.  At fifty -two I only weighted 110 pounds.  Now it is April 2011 and I still can't lose this weight.  I walk, I run, I Zumba and I've tried all types of healthy eatting but still the weight remain.  I can't wear any of my clothes.  I've gone from a 6 to a size 10 or 12.  I have terrible belly and but fat.  I don't know what to do.  Any suggestions how to get this weight off.  It is so depressing.  I hate going shopping because nothing fits right.  Has anyone thought about suing the makers of Lexapro.
Avatar universal
I reasonlly started taking Lexapro a long with my other med, ibuprofen 800mg, for joint pain. I also gainned 12 pounds in the past month and half. So, I found this site as I was trying to figure out why I gainned this weight. I did find that one of the side effects of taking ibuprofen is "sudden unexplained weigh gain" ans now, I find the side effects of Lexapro is weight gain..... WTF... I am being treated for depression and now, it looks like, I have to worry about becoming fat on top of it all.
I am 57, 5'5' male, on, 3/13/11, I started taking the ibuprofen, and it is working, and around 3 weeks later, started the Lexapro, a week later, I noticed that I had gained 9 pounds. This is not good. I was already 179 before I gained any weight. Now, it's May 1st, and my weight is 191 pounds. I am not sure which of the meds is responible for this, but I am not happy. I was happy with finding help for the depression but now. I feel like it's a catch 22, help with the depression, and be fat or relieve from joint pain and be fat.... This is not fair! You would think, with all the wonderful work they have done in the field of medicine, they would do better than this?  I don't know what to do about this and would welcome any feedback.... Thanks
Avatar universal
I've been off antidepressants for two months and I think the reason we lose weight when we go off antidepressants (for me anyway) is that you get your energy back.  I used to love to exercise and was just very active until starting the meds.  Lexapro made me lazy; I completely stopped working out, and I had no tolerance for hunger - even if it was just boredom hunger, I felt I had to eat again and again.  I didn't mind that I needed to lose 30 lbs because the meds had me numbed out.  Now, I'm my real self again and I want to exercise and eat better because I'm not numb to the fact that I went from 5'6 128 lbs to 159 lbs in two years.  I see it every day and I feel it whenever I try to put on pants I used to wear so I'm doing something about it.  What's funny is that my PMS is better.  The meds are supposed to help PMS but it counteracts it by making you so hungry that you eat all the crap that makes PMS worse!   Good luck to all.  These meds suck, but just taper off very slowly and you will get there.
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