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Avatar universal

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
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......
Avatar universal
I was so excited when I got off Lexapro back in March and started exercising.  I felt like my old self and I actually enjoyed working out like I used to.  Maybe I expected too much but I really thought my appetite would go down to where it was before the antidepressants and it hasn't.  I also expected to lose some weight through exercise and it's as much of a struggle to lose weight as it was when I was sedentary.  I have been exercising 6 days a week for at least 40 minutes doing both cardio and toning.  I just don't get why I can't lose weight anymore.  The sad thing is that there are no studies out there about the long term effects of antidepressants on metabolism.  I wish there was a professional out there who could tell me that it just takes a while and the metabolism kicks back in after so much time...I just can't find that information.  So, we all tend to think we might as well go back on the meds since we're miserable and fat anyway.  That's exactly what the drug companies want, though, so we have to be vigilant and keep posting any progress that we make!
Avatar universal
Like so many of you, I am so glad to have found this board because I have had the same issues with Lexapro.  

I have been an athlete my whole life and gained 30 pounds in about 18 months after starting Lexapro.  I have a good diet, I exercise, etc.  I feel disgusting and nothing fits me or looks good on me anymore.  (I am 5'8" and was 150 (size 6 - I'm muscular and thus weigh more than the size would indicate) and have shot up to > 180.)  

I tapered off of the cursed substance (w/o telling the Dr.) about 6 weeks ago, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weight will start coming off.  I may follow what one of the other posters recommended and try and shock my system somehow.  I'd try anything at this point.

In a country as litigious as ours I'm surprised no one has brought a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
Avatar universal
The drug makers keep the side effects as cryptic as they can so that we can't directly link it to the meds.  Well, and they always say that people eat more when they feel better.  That is true for me.  Some people eat when they're stressed but I lose my appetite...unless I'm on Lexapro, then I just eat more when I'm sad or stressed.
Avatar universal
I've tried a few antidepressants over the past year. Zoloft, Effexor and now Lexapro. For the first 1-2 months I feel great, then come the side effects. I've been on Lexapro for a few months now. I'm experiencing crazy tiredness. Last weekend I slept for 3 days. I got out of bed a couple of times, but the rest of the time I slept. That is insane! I have never done that! Everyday is a struggle to get out of bed. When I get home from work, all I want to do is sleep. I even fell asleep at work a few days ago. Overall I have gained 30 lbs...not good! None of my clothes fit. I'm bloated all the time and my weight just keeps going up. I'm going to my doctor soon to get my thyroid checked and see about getting off Lexapro. I have a feeling all the meds have messed with my body and i'm not sure if it will recover.  
Avatar universal
Don't skip without asking you doctor.  I am weening off b/c I feel fine and I have gained weight that I can't lose.  I totally trust my doc as he has been treating my mom for years.  You must ween off of it.  Yes you may get some withdrawal symptoms but you can't just stop the drug.  The withdrawals will be out of control.  I am also in nursing and know about this. PLease speak to your doc.  You cannot just stop meds without doing so.
Avatar universal
I just started Lexapro 6 days ago and want to quit do to side effects. Too antsy and now hbp. Any suggestions?
Avatar universal
In Oct 2009, I had a baby at age 45.  I had a son age 27 and a 2 yr old grandson.  Finding out I was pregnant at my age was a huge shock to say the least.  The pregnancy was difficult with lots of ups and downs.  When we brought our baby son home from the hospital, I literally started having extreme anxiety and did not sleep AT ALL for 2 weeks which made the anxiety even worse.  My Dr said my hormones were skydiving and I was suffering from postpartum anxiety.  She wanted to put me on 10 mg of Lexapro, but I didn't want to take it because of the side effects, etc.  However I was so desperate to get rid of the anxiety because I couldn't even function.  The lexapro worked miracles!!!  Within 6 weeks I went from having extreme anxiety to zero anxiety and was sleeping soundly.  I was also extremely happy and have remained so ever since.  Problem...30 lb weight gain in one year.  I did add in drinking Dr Peppers and eating sweets, something I had never consumed much of.  I cut out the sweets but not the sodas.  I am weaning myself off Lexapro now.  I cut down from 10 to 5 mg about a month ago without side effects.  I am now going to start skipping days of taking 5 etc.  Love the Lexapro...hate the weight gain!  My advice, if you're really suffering from depression and/or anxiety, this drug will save you.  Take it long enough to get you through then get off.
Avatar universal
Just adding my voice to the 100000s....the doctors who say "you're just eating more' are SUCH *****, aren't they? unreal, the denial.  I went on Lex in 2008 (I cant believe it's been that long!) after a series of traumatic events piled up--I never thought i'd need an antidepressant, never was depressed, but I sort of had PTSD, and it really did save me.

I was one of the lucky ones, it was the right one for me, I only took 10 mg and I had NO side effects (except weight gain)...I didn't feel bad on it at all, I felt really good and healthy and energetic and it gave my brain space to heal and deal with stuff.   As healing happened from the life events (and I did therapy) I was ready to wean off.  Well, I had to wean reeeeeeeeeealllly slooooooooow because if I did too much I got terrible dizziness, almost falling down, and stomachaches.  So i've been warning since the end of 2009!    I got to 5 mg by last summer and now I am at 1.5!    The thing is that at 2 mg if you go to 1.5 you are cutting your dose by a QUARTER, which is a big cut (for me being very sensitive anyway). Whereas when you got from 10 to 9.5, that's like, what, 1/20th of your dose?  As long as I go slow I'm fine.  But I can't wait to be OFF!

Anyway, I had the class weight gain in the classic timing. I had been kind of emaciated when I started and needed to gain  a little, but not as much as I did. I should be about 118-120 for my height. I was 108 when I started Lex. The gain happened in thr classic way--exactly 3 months in, it seemed to pile on it one week (changing nothing).  Literally one week all my jeans fit, the next they didnt (and never did again).  

I was up to 120 in 2009 (which was okay)--but then 130 in 2010.  That was too much.  Now, in summer 2011, I am hovering 124-125.  I squeezed ot down through VERY careful eating--low sugar, lots of vegetables and protein, no meat, plenty of EFAS, green tea....

The weight number isn't the concern to me now, it's the FAT.  All this stubborn goopy fat around my middle and thighs that I NEVER HAD BEFORE.  I dont recognize myself. I look dumpy. I always had a cute, trim little athletic bod.... without much effort.  yeah, I'm 40 but screw that.  I know plenty of 40 and 45 y o who kept their bodies like mine was. Its the Lex.  And it will not go away yet.

Let me tell you, I know what I am doing--I eat SUPER healthy, I hve a nutrition degree.   I bike, run, walk, hike, lift weights, do Jillian Michael's Shred...  the thing  is, I KNOW that if I wasn't so careful and knowledgeable, it WOULD BE SO MUCH WORSE!  I would be one of those who gained 20-30-40-50 pounds!   I only have an extra 5 of fat now maybe...it was ten pounds at the worst point. I think I've MINIMIZED the damage by being so healthy and careful....but I couldn't totally keep it off.

This is so consistent with  The doctors should read these  Many identical  stories--tiny all our lives, then huge gain with Le.  Or athletes all our lives, huge weight gain after Lexapro, changing nothing in lifestyle. And the stubbornness of this Lex-gained fat, when before we could always lose. It's so striking.

I cannot wait to see when Lex is totally out of my system what happens to this fat.  It should be just a few more months Im off. I plan to follow the advice of many here about "shocking' the metabolism.  

GabriellaKW is so right when she says, "The sad thing is that there are no studies out there about the long term effects of antidepressants on metabolism."  God I hope it's not the case that it screws it up forever.   Lex helped me, but I dont want it to have made me FAT forever....
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor since May of 2008. For 3 years now I have struggled with weight gain. Every dr appt I made mentioned something about it and all I heard from the docs were "stop putting food in your mouth and you'll be fine". I'm also in the military and while I get free healthcare, it also comes with a price: complete ignorance. I gained 45 pounds because of this medication. The worst part is that when the meeds stopped doing what they were supposed to do my docs would just increase the dose. So now I'm up to 225mg a day. Yes, 225mg. And this is for MILD depression/anxiety. People with schizophrenia take this much. So I am starting a program called The Road Back. Its a program that assists you with weening yourself off of these medications. You take supplements (Omega-3, Vitamin E and JNK Supplement) to help alleviate the side affects associated with withdrawal of antidepressants. Google The Road Back if you think this program might be the right thing for you. My heart is with all of you who have suffered due to antidepressants. I thought taking this medication would HELP me. Not make my life a living hell. Good luck to all of you!
Avatar universal
i have been on lexapro for 6months and have put on 7kgs.. i started taking half of my 10mg today and only just came across this site tonight... i knew these tablets were the reason i was gaining weight. i noticed straight away i was eating more... coming from a person who would snack through out the day and only having a proper meal at dinner.. soon as i started on lexapro i was having the 3 meals a day and snacks.. hungry all the time which is not like me. the first 3 months i felt so happy then i started being over tired always, lazy and not wanting to have a social life at all... that is not me.. even when i was extremly low before lexapro my social life was something that made me happy.. being alone was what made me sad... now id rather be home alone and down then being around friends,family etc.,. i am becoming very moody and my weight is just making me more sad.. time to get off this thing!! i think lexapro is only good for people to help them overcome stress and tough times and once u feel happy again thats when u should get off,
Avatar universal
I have taken Lexapro in two rounds. The first time I was on for 1 year and even after tappering off I had shocks, dizziness, and sweats terribly for 7 days after stopping the medicine. I had went from 145 to 175. After I quit taking lexapro I lost about 20 lbs in 2 months with diet and exercise only. Well now I was put on Lexapro again back last Dec 2010. I was 155 and now I am 196. I eat healthy and exercise with a trainier. With about a 5 lb loss. And Yes I am bloated where I feel I cannot breath. My face is a moon shape double chin, I never had this even when I was pregnate with both of my girls and topped the scale at 200 lbs on delivery. I believe weight loss is possible but only if you get off Lexapro.
Avatar universal
How funny..that you call it "fake" weight...I do too.... I have been on Lexopro and Prozac in the past and after I got off of Prozac...I gained 30 lbs in less than 2 months.   Most recent I gained 20 lbs in less than 3 weeks.   HOW FRUSTRATING!

It is all in my middle area...and i look like I am 7 months pregnant.   grrrr.  
Avatar universal
OMG you are soo right!  I had not realized it until I read your post, but all my life, when I am sad or stressed I have LOST my appitite and weight.  But NOW, when I am stressed I want carbs, carbs and more carbs.

Like most, Lexapro has been a god send for me...I was put on by a cardiologist to control my neurocardiogenic syncope...and it does.  However, I just keep piling on the pounds.  Now, my general doc says either take the weight off or go on a med for my cholesterol which is creeping up along with my weight...

So, last week I cut my 10 mg pills in half and will take this for 2 weeks.  Then I will alternate 1/2 and 1/4 of a pill for 2 weeks.  Then I will take 1/4 a pill a day for a week and stop altogether.  I have started taking a multi vitamin every day as someone had mentioned certain vitamins help.

I may change the length of time between reduction of dose depending on my side effects...I drive all day long so I simply can not tollerate being dizzy behind the wheel.  Hopefully this will not be a problem.  I have to have surgery and will be out of work for 2 weeks and am hoping that going off will coincide with this so that if I DO experience side effects I will not be driving at the time.
Avatar universal
could you please explain the running regimn you were doing like how much a day and outside or treadmill  etc
Avatar universal
happened upon this forum by chance. I was started on Lexapro by my doctor 8 months ago for depression and anxiety. initially 10mgs daily then increased to 20mgs. I have noticed that I have gained weight even though I adhere to a strict diet and try to exercise as much as I can. having adult hip dysplasia curtails exercise somewhat. the weight that I've put on seems to be around my stomach area, I've gone from 30inch to 33 inch waist in the matter of a few months which is not good for my self esteem. being treated for depression then ending up being depressed about weight gain doesn't seem to be conducive to well being
Avatar universal
Niacin in large doses does have side effects. It can cause serious liver damage.
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
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!!
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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