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Avatar universal

losing weight after effexor

I gained 20 lbs in the last 3 years that I was taking Effexor. I have tried everything. I'm eating less & working out more. I started taking Paxil but that didn't work at all as I have anxiety issues. Anyhow Effexor did wonders for my attitude however after 3 years I am now convinced that it was the cause for all the excess weight. Anyhow I was wondering if the weight comes off after I get off the meds? or am I stuck with excess weight forever in which case I will be contacting my doctor because they lied to me.
72 Responses
Avatar universal
Hey!  I have found someone with the same problem!  I was on effexor for about a year and I gained more than 20 pounds in that short period of time!  I was very small, like size 3 pants...now I am size 9 sometimes 7 if I'm lucky.  I was on effexor for anxiety and now I don't think it was worth it at all because now I am more depressed than ever about my weight.  I used to weight about 112 before taking effexor.  After getting off of effexor I weighted 136!  I had to buy all new clothes b/c nothing fit and I got even more depressed!  I refused to go on any depression medication because weight gain is a side effect for most of them.  My husband thinks I'm crazy, but it's a big deal to me.  I don't feel good about myself.  I don't feel sexy or attractive either.  Let me know if you figure anything out that works because I want this extra weight off ASAP!

Thanks and good luck!
Tara
2 Comments
From what I gather, the meds have altered our metabolism.  With the meds, my liver learned to metabolize fat differently and my adrenals were fatigued (chronic stress due to a totally unexpected situation with my son led me to find relief in an anti-anxiety/antidepressant).  
I’ve been off Effexor for about a month now (after having been on 150mg daily for one year) and expected the weight to just drop off the same way it came on.. NOT so.  Did some research and found the following information to getting my metabolism back to the way it was before.  I have to say, it makes sense and seems to be working.  3 weeks in and have lost 5 pounds PLUS I have more energy and don’t get stressed the same way I did before.
1. Exercise
• Traditional weight training with plenty of time between sets (3-5 minutes between sets). This is the original interval training as it teaches the body to exert and then recover. You can also engage in short complete recovery intervals. This means you push hard for 1 minute and then you move in slow motion until the heart rate returns to resting before repeating (limit this to 20 minutes or less). The most dysfunctional metabolism will only be able to do one work bout because the heart rate will never return to resting. This method allows you to measure your progress.
• Leisure walking, restorative yoga (not intense power yoga), and/or tai chi. All of these train the parasympathetic nervous system to regain function. Some will need brain chem training as well, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation to quite the mind which can be an insidious trigger for sympathetic overdrive.
2. Restore HPA axis function.
• This is done through exercise as well as through supplementation. The relaxing adrenal adaptogen herbs work very well in this regard. The two best clinically for us at Metabolic Effect are Rhodiola Rosea (RO-DEE-OH-LAH) and Ashwaghanda (ASH-WAH-GON-DAH).  Both work to restore HPA function and protect from further stress effects. Many women experiencing ovarian dysfunction will likely benefit from Vitex berry as well.
3. Digestive Repair.
• This part is a topic all its own as getting the digestive tract back on line takes a systematic and layered approach. We use what functional medicine docs call the 4R program.
• R= Remove offending agents (foods, infections, etc) that are compromising GI function.
• R= Replace digestive enzymes and/or HCL that was suppressed from high sympathetic (fight/flight) and low parasympathetic (rest/digest) function.
• R= Repopulate with good bacteria that aid gut integrity and immune system balance.
• R= Repair the atrophied gut lining from chronic stress.
4. Replete nutrients. When digestion is restored, nutrient repletion is started with focus on zinc, magnesium, and the B-vitamins. This includes the use of fat and amino acids to restore brain chemistry which can lift people’s depression and anxiety. Vitamin D is another issue that needs to be looked after here.
5.  Restore membrane integrity. This comes from fat supplementation along with phospholipids. Krill oil is the best and most useful oil in this regard, as are saturated fats.
6.  Finally, metabolic restart happens. This is where we switch over to more stimulating adrenal adaptogens including the ginsengs and begin to use mitochondrial factors: lipoic acid, acetyl carnitine, and co Q 10.
Total time for the metabolic rehab protocol depends on the person as there is much individuality and tailoring to the person. Typical time period for recovery is 3 to 12 months (some shorter, some longer).
From what I gather, the meds have altered our metabolism.  With the meds, my liver learned to metabolize fat differently and my adrenals were fatigued (chronic stress due to a totally unexpected situation with my son led me to find relief in an anti-anxiety/antidepressant).  
I’ve been off Effexor for about a month now (after having been on 150mg daily for one year) and expected the weight to just drop off the same way it came on.. NOT so.  Did some research and found the following information to getting my metabolism back to the way it was before.  I have to say, it makes sense and seems to be working.  3 weeks in and have lost 5 pounds PLUS I have more energy and don’t get stressed the same way I did before.
1. Exercise
• Traditional weight training with plenty of time between sets (3-5 minutes between sets). This is the original interval training as it teaches the body to exert and then recover. You can also engage in short complete recovery intervals. This means you push hard for 1 minute and then you move in slow motion until the heart rate returns to resting before repeating (limit this to 20 minutes or less). The most dysfunctional metabolism will only be able to do one work bout because the heart rate will never return to resting. This method allows you to measure your progress.
• Leisure walking, restorative yoga (not intense power yoga), and/or tai chi. All of these train the parasympathetic nervous system to regain function. Some will need brain chem training as well, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness meditation to quite the mind which can be an insidious trigger for sympathetic overdrive.
2. Restore HPA axis function.
• This is done through exercise as well as through supplementation. The relaxing adrenal adaptogen herbs work very well in this regard. The two best clinically for us at Metabolic Effect are Rhodiola Rosea (RO-DEE-OH-LAH) and Ashwaghanda (ASH-WAH-GON-DAH).  Both work to restore HPA function and protect from further stress effects. Many women experiencing ovarian dysfunction will likely benefit from Vitex berry as well.
3. Digestive Repair.
• This part is a topic all its own as getting the digestive tract back on line takes a systematic and layered approach. We use what functional medicine docs call the 4R program.
• R= Remove offending agents (foods, infections, etc) that are compromising GI function.
• R= Replace digestive enzymes and/or HCL that was suppressed from high sympathetic (fight/flight) and low parasympathetic (rest/digest) function.
• R= Repopulate with good bacteria that aid gut integrity and immune system balance.
• R= Repair the atrophied gut lining from chronic stress.
4. Replete nutrients. When digestion is restored, nutrient repletion is started with focus on zinc, magnesium, and the B-vitamins. This includes the use of fat and amino acids to restore brain chemistry which can lift people’s depression and anxiety. Vitamin D is another issue that needs to be looked after here.
5.  Restore membrane integrity. This comes from fat supplementation along with phospholipids. Krill oil is the best and most useful oil in this regard, as are saturated fats.
6.  Finally, metabolic restart happens. This is where we switch over to more stimulating adrenal adaptogens including the ginsengs and begin to use mitochondrial factors: lipoic acid, acetyl carnitine, and co Q 10.
Total time for the metabolic rehab protocol depends on the person as there is much individuality and tailoring to the person. Typical time period for recovery is 3 to 12 months (some shorter, some longer).
Avatar universal
Hi there,

I had put on over 40 lbs when on effexor.  I quit back in June and it took until October until the weight started coming off.  While on the pills I was working out 6 times a week, and eating super healthy (no sugars, no white flour, no alcohol), but I was stuck.  The doc kept telling me more exercise and less eating.  Well if I had worked out anymore I would have had to given up what little social life I had, and eating any less would have probably been unhealthy (I'd say I was around 1200 calories).  I quit the pill and dropped my routine back to 4 times a week and allowing myself happy hours of Fridays.  Sure enough after months of this the weight is coming of and still coming off.  You body takes times to adjust to any chemical or hormonal changes.  Just as it probably took time to adjust to taking meds, it will take time for your body to flush them out.  Eventually you'll get back to where you were, it just takes patience.  I'd say give it 3-6 months to get back to where you were before the meds.  I a tough with witdrawal symptoms when first quitting the meds.  I would cry if somebody even said hello to me, but my mood balanced out right when the weight started to come off.  Good luck to you!
1 Comments
Hi dont no if u still use this . But i gaind like 3 stone in venla . And u woz defo less ative as i woz before . I went on this drug . Been of it now neely 2 mothn withdraws were not good at all but iam here . It also made me sleeep way to much etc. I feel more alive of it fpr sure . Iam back to doin more gym etc and that now which is good . Not bacl to my old fitness but getin ther . But hopefully u are rigth and this weigth starts to come of . Iam 6.2 so lucky iam tall . And it has went not just to the belly lol
Avatar universal
Hi everyone.....
Effexor put a lot of weight on me, too.
I`m just now getting results using a weight loss clinic. Pills, shots, diet exercise, and not much food. And water, lots of water.
I am still on effexor and probably will be for a while yet.
This  diet , is at least motivating me to really keep working at it and hopefully be able to get off the diet meds, and the effexor sometime,too.
Avatar universal
I originally was taking Paxil for 2 years for depression and anxiety and then a friend of mine mentioned she was taking Effexor and the side effects were less. I have been on Effexor 150mg for 2 years and my weight gain is disgusting. I am 40 years old and was never bigger than a size 2 and now i am a size 8 and feel very undesireable. I am now on my 3rd day off of effexor and am feeling the side effects (not fun) but hopefully worth it. How long does it take for the weight to start coming off?
1 Comments
Did the weight ever come off? I’m in the exact same situation as you! Was a size 0/2 and now I’m an 8/10 I’ve gained 30 pounds. I just quit taking this medication , it was easy for me to get off of this medication. I started at 150 then to 75 , then started taking out some of the 75 capsule , then to 35 and now completely off of it , no side effects or withdrawals. I’m currently taking 100 bupropion a day.
Avatar universal
I have been taking effexor for about 4 months. I also have gained weight, but didn't have any idea it could be from this. I have recently tried to get off this drug and it is an absolute nightmare!! I tried to wean myself off very slowly. My Dr. put me on 300mg. I started by alternating taking 2 one day and then 1 the next for about 2 weeks. Then I started taking just 1 a day. So far everything was ok. Then I went to taking 1 every other day. Still ok. Just last week I went off completely. What a nightmare!! I started having nightmares, brain zaps?, dizziness, nausea, eye problems. I have never felt this bad!! This is a drug that needs to be taken off the market. I have researched and read many other peoples testomonies and have not heard  anything good about this drug. Please do your research before taking any drug your dr prescribes for you. They don't always know what these drugs can do to a person.
Avatar universal
I was on Efexor XR for a year for anxiety.  It worked really well for my anxiety but made me gain 20 lbs!!! that's a lot when you're 5'4 and used to weighing 112:(  During the year on Effexor I was working out 3x a week with a trainer ans started running!  I couldn't understand why I was gaining weight and not losing.  And YES it was a nightmare to get off this drug.
I'd love to hear how everyone is doing!
Avatar universal
I also gained weight with this drug and my bra size went up 4 sizes.  I was on this drug for 5 years and it worked well with me but I didn't like the weight gain or size J cup bra I needed.  I took myself off the drug but I did it very slowly over a 6-9 month process I finally got to once a month with the pill and was able to tolerate not taking anymore.  Once I stopped the drug in a matter of 2 weeks I lost 4 cup sizes.  Now I'm beginning to loss weight.  I've been off the drug for about 4 months but I now have panic attacks like I'm going to go nuts if I don't get some Effexor.  I've heard lots of good about Wellbutrin so I'm taking it now. Wellbutrin's side effect is weight loss not gain from what I've read and heard.  It's not helping me much yet but I'm on the lowest dose and I'm going to try a higher dose.
Avatar universal
It's been about four years since I was on Effexor.  I didn't gain any weight until the last nine months on the drug (I was on it for about three years).      My husband said I was becoming manic, but I refused to believe him.  I finally realized he was right, so slowly went off Effexor (it's like going off of heroin).  As I mentioned earlier, I gained weight in the last nine months.  My weight hadn't changed in twenty years . . . and in nine months i gained 30 pounds.  I was shocked.  I had always worked out religiously, and had a very healthy diet.  After doing much research, I found that Effexor changes the way your liver metabolized fat, and can take up to a year to start to metabolized fat normally.  It did take close to three years for all of the weigh to come off, but it has, and stayed off with no problem.  

Effexor has left me with a bigger problem, though.  I mentioned that I was having manic episodes.  After I went off Effexor, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  I really feel that this drug has taken years from me, and continues to.  I have read that people have committed suicide on this med.  Why does this medication continue to be prescribed?  
2 Comments
Hi, I hope you are doing well.  I have been off Effexor completely going on two weeks this Wednesday.  What should I do about losing my over 30lb. Weight gain?  How do I help my liver get back to normal to burn fat normal. Desperate for any information and thank you in advance.  HELP!!!
I will say Effexor saved my life from major anxiety and depression and I had no side effects other than extreme weight gain. I’m now off Effexor with no withdrawal symptoms and it was easy for me to get off.  I’m only taking Bupropion 100 SR once day.
Avatar universal
I am a recent candidate of removing Effexor from my life.  I have gone through the withdrawal symptoms like nervousness (the shakes), weird dreams, pressure in my head as though my brain is swelling, confusion, eyesight problems, a "deep" dizziness (in short bouts), insomia, loud ringing in my ears, achiness, and flu like symptoms.  I was on 125 mg. per day.  I started with 75 mg. for one week, 37.5 for one week, then off of it.  Withdraw symptoms were bad, so being what I knew best for me, I am opening a 75 mg. capsule and wetting my finger and putting it in the "little balls" every other day.  Probably on Monday, I will stop completely.  Withdrawal symptoms are almost completely gone.  I started all of this approx. three weeks ago and I have lost 14 lbs. so far.  I had gained  a lot of weight over the years and couldn't figure out why either.  I  used to weigh around 160 and blossomed up to 220.  That's 60 lbs!!!
     I feel my personality changing.  With Effexor, I was more laid back and would let things ride.  Now I am now more full of spunk.  I even talk back to the television, but you know, I like it.  I feel more energy then I have felt in years.  I even see my surroundings differently.  Everything is really alive out there.  I'm now high on life!  

Take Care,
Miss_Suzy_Q
Avatar universal
I started taking effexor about 2 years ago after I had my beautiful daughter. Almost from the moment that I started taking it the anxiety I had just seemed to go away, it was wonderful. I had just gotten my weight down from being pregnant (worked very hard at it)! after about a year I started noticing that all of that weight that I had worked so hard to lose started to creep back again. I started exercising more and writing down everything I ate, reducing my carb intake to include no sugars, bread, or pasta. I ate a salad for lunch everyday, and I still continued to gain weight. I finally had enough, as of Sunday I am effexor free and I have lost 5lbs so  far. I was on 150mg a day and trust me it was a hard road getting off this drug. After 2 weeks I still have some side effects, but it is getting much easier. The first week was the worst for me. I litteraly felt like I had the flu. I am so glad I stuck with it though. I will never ever take another drug like effexor again. it is just not worth it! Anyone out there who has lost all of their weight after being off of this drug I would love to here about it and how long it has taken you.

April
178107 tn?1315947630
I had been on Effexor for about 6 months and I have gained 25 pounds.  I sweated profusely almost all the time.  While on vacation a couple of weeks ago I decided I couldn't take it anymore and stopped it cold turkey.  Within two days my husband was ready to have me commited. As soon as I got home I called my doctor and he put me on Pristiq. It is suppose to be a lot like Effexor without all the sight effects. It's made by the same company.So far the sweating has improved.
I was also on 150mg a day. He has started me on 30mg of Pristiq, I wonder if I my be able to taper off of it also.  I would like to get off any kind of drugs like that. Your tougher than I am with the Effexor.  Another day or two and I would have been in the hospital.
Avatar universal
I am so happy to hear from others going through the same weight-gain / loss issues with Effexor. I just weaned myself off from 150 mg to 75 mg to nothing (I'm now using St. John's Wort as a supplement instead) in a few weeks, with lots of withdrawal symptoms/pain, etc., but I have to believe it's worth it. I, too, gained 40 pounds since starting the Effexor in February 2007. I was taking it for fibromyalgia pain management, but I am trying to do more natural solutions now and talked to my doctor about eliminating the effexor and trying other options (including increasing my exercise to every day, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, 30 minutes), making sure I get at least 15 minutes in the sunshine or outside even if overcast, so my serotonin levels stay high, journaling, etc.

Honestly, I am depressed about the 40 pounds, but I will trust that if I keep going, exercising, eating healthy, taking care of myself, that the effexor weight will start to come off. I'm at 195 pounds now, and hope to be at 145-150 at some point.

Anyone that has also gone off Effexor and took a LONG time to experience weight loss who'd like to comment is very welcome to! We can all use the support!
573719 tn?1217448065
THANK-YOU... I've been struggling with my weight for the past year... I started taking Effexor in Feb 2007, and switched birth control pills in July  2007... I thought the weight gain was from the new pill, so i stopped it a few weeks ago... but no change. Now I started thinking it might be the effexor... and well, here you guys are, spelling out pretty much EXACTLY what I have been going through. I had no idea the excessive sweating I've experienced MIGHT also be related!! I love effexor - it literally saved my life... but it might be time to let go.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences... this is INVALUABLE information for me.

Question: did anyone experience changes in your period with Effexor? Now I'm wondering if what made me change BC pills in the first place could also be related... I'm new to this website, maybe there's an answer somewhere on here already...?
Avatar universal
I started taking effexor about 4 months ago, I didn't have any weight gain until the second month - I've gained 10 pounds in that short of time.  I started back with weight watchers last week, writing everything down, all healthy and staying within my point range.  I should have lost at least two or three pounds instead I gained a pound. So frustrating so I decided to stop cold turkey today. I've been taking 37.5 mg. I was taking effexor for anxiety and it really works but I have to stop b/c the weight gain scares me more than the anxiety. I use to take ativan for anxiety so the dr gave me a month supply to help me through the withdrawals. I haven't had any withdrawals today, does this mean I won't have any??
Avatar universal
Hi all,

I'm a 24yo female grad student.

I only took Effexor for approx. 5 months, and while it helped me out of my hole, I gained around 18kg in that time (so like 40 pounds). I started out around 154 (70kg) and ended up at 193 (88kg). Urgh

Coming off it was unutterably hellish- dizzy shakes, lightening in my head, the works- and I counted the grains every day, only reducing by about 10% each week- so like the slowest weaning off physically possible. I hate to think how bad it could've been just reducing the number of pills...

This was almost 2 years ago now, and I'm sorry to say the weight is only now starting to come off.
I started exercising like crazy during the meds and haven't stopped since: I took up club soccer, social soccer, squash, touch football and lap swimming and to this day keep these all up- I probably spend about 6-8 hours a week doing solid cardio exercise.

I don't eat a whole lot either, and have spent most of the last 2 yrs restricting myself pretty severely.

So while the weight is only just now starting to move, I ask myself: would I do it again?
And the answer is yes.
Depression is just sometimes too much to fix all by yourself. Medication may have awful side effects like the weight gain from effexor, but it helped me get my life back.

So people, I think it is possible to regain our pre-effexor bodies.
It just ***** that for a lot of us it takes so so long :)
But on the upside, I have made so many friends through sport and had a lot of fun trying to strip these pounds!

My best wishes to everyone
Avatar universal
I took Effexor for 11 years and had a HORRIBLE time getting off of it.  When I started taking it, I actually lost weight but then balanced out after several months.  Now, after a huge struggle to get off of it, I am gaining weight like crazy.  It's terrible and I feel like I can't control it.  If ANYONE of you knows a solution to this problem, PLEASE share!
Avatar universal
I have had the same effect on Effexor. I was put on Effexor 150 about a year ago to deal with some stress that I was dealing with. When the Dr. prescribed them I thought what the heck I thought I would feel so much better. In reality I felt worse than ever. I stayed sick almost the entire time, I couldn' t ride in the car with anyone else it would make me sick as a dog. The biggest deal is the weight gain. When beginning Effexor I weighed 120 and after Effexor I weigh 140. I exercise daily and also do weight watchers but the weight just kept piling on. The Dr tries to claim its not the pills but I know it was. After I had done my own research I found 100s of other people with the same exact problem. My problem still is I came off the medication 2 months ago and the weight will not budge. It is making me very unhappy. Does anyone know what to do about the weight?
Avatar universal
READ THIS IF YOU WANT TO LOSE BODYFAT!
So far I’ve been reading comments from everyone and I feel your pain. The doctor told me the same as they are all telling you "It doesn’t make you gain weight"... bull sh** !
Im a 22 year old male and I’ve been on Effexor for about 4 years (6 years total being on depression pills) and i gained about 40 lbs. During the weight gain, I craved food like crazy but still had a moderate diet  and performed strenuous weight lifting 3-5 times per week. After going off of this med extremely slow... (Over the course of 2 years, starting at 150mg-75mg-37.5mg) I started to lose weight. During the past 2 years, I worked out 4-7 days a week weight lifting. 6-12 months ago I started to perform HIIT 3 times per week directly after weightlifting (ill get to HIIT in a sec) burning anywhere from 800 - 1600 calories per day via heart rate monitor. During this time, I had the perfect 'lean' diet, eating 6-8 small meals which consisted of 55% protein, 25-%carbs and 25% dietary fat(monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, found in Peanut butter, almonds, and other good nuts)  also reducing about 500 calories per day, taking in around 2200-2300 calories on a cut cycle. So far I have lost a total of 50 lbs now going from 255 to 198-205 and have a body fat percentage of around 8%.
What helped me was to understand how body fat is Utilized
Trainers will tell you that you need to run and do aerobics for 40 min a day at a moderate pace, and stay in the zone, blah blah blah... wow are they full of ****!
BODY FAT is NOT UTILIZED TO BURN this way! It is through anerobic exercise and if any of you read very often, (muscle & fitness, mens health, bodybuilding.com) you will understand this better through all of their workouts they have posted. What I give most of the credit to in losing the bodyfat was primarily through HIIT.
HIIT is short for "High Intensity Interval Training" and is Anerobic exercise compared to aerobic. Anerobic exercise burns more body fat through using oxygen, compared to aerobic exercise, which utilizes carbohydrates.
Where I got excited about this was hearing about the numbers.  HIIT Is 9 times more effective in dozens of different studies! That means that it would take you 6 weeks performing HIIT 3 times per week to lose 12-15% bodyfat( which Is how much was lost during most studies performing HIIT), compared to 40 min of mod pace cardio and mabe getting the same results in a 56 week time period. Did you jut hear that…  a little over a month getting the same results as compared to a little over a year to get the same, WOW!
How Interval training is performed is through very high (95% of your max heart rate) and low (60% of mhr) and should be around 20 min of workout time (excluding 2-5 min warm up and 2-5 min cool down) Here is an Example workout which I used at first:
2-5 min warm up jogging and stretching
20 – 30 sec of burst of Sprinting 95% max heart rate ((depending on age(around 180-185 beats per min)
1 min off or going back down to 60-65% mhr (135 beats per min)
Repeat this 8-12 times until it gets easier for you, then up the times to 30-45 sec and 1 min off and so on.
If you are performing this correctly you should be pretty much exhausted by the end.  This can be done via treadmill, jump rope, box jumps, bicycling, etc…  For more info on this, visit www.bodybuilding.com  and search HIIT, or www.interval training.net.
Now I have been completely off the drug for about a week, and life is incredible!
I can actually feel things again.  My sex drive is at an all time high including testosterone levels, and im full of energy.  Also, I feel as if I get a lower blood sugar feeling sooner after meals along with looking leaner in the mirror already, which should mean my metabolism is already starting to skyrocket! I am curious how long it will take to completely get back to feeling normal and getting shredded losing that 2-3 percent bodyfat and getting down to 5-6% to look ultra ripped!
I also have been reading now for about a week on the topic of weight gain and found out many things reguarding the terrible effects that it does to the body.  Probably the most satisfying article I read was by a PhD which elaborated that the drug shuts down the satiation indicator in the brain (lets you know when you are full) and makes you crave carbohydrates.  While on Effexor Carbohydrates are also said to metabolize easier into fat instead of glucose (energy),and spike insulin levels, therefore raising your blood sugar levels, leaving you feeling hungry.  A great site explaining what I found is http://www.***********.org/weight_loss.htm
Good luck to everyone with this and let me know how long it took most of you to make feeling normal again after going off the drug.
Avatar universal
I have been on effexor the last year. Started off on 37.5 mg then up to 75 which is a pretty low dose from what I can see. I noticed alot of weight gain over the last year but always figured it was due to something else (office job, not exercising enough, poor eating habits) while some of those things may be true I figure I must have put on at least 60 lbs. I hate myself, I continually eat, have a hard time getting full, hate how i look and eat more. lately I've felt trapped that no matter what I do I can't seem to lose any weight. I decided to get off the pills and even with such a low dose it has been hell....don't go cold turkey! I'm hoping to drop some weight and then reevaluate the situation. I'd rather be thin and depressed than fat and happy at this point....but that's just me.
Avatar universal
I was only on Effexor for two months and gained 30 pounds.  I went from 104 to 134 pounds (I am only 5ft 2).  That was enough reason from me to go off it.   I have now been off of it for two years and have only been able to lose 5 pounds in all this time, all of the loss was within the first 3 weeks after discontinuuing Effexor.  I have always been able to lose weight easily in the past but this fat is going nowhere.

Like everyone else, getting off Effexor was hell, the first time I tried under a Doctor's supervision.  I couldn't take the withdrawal symptoms and went back on it.  BUT-- the second time I tried I succeeded and I did it my own way.  Instead of being weaned off of it, I simply stopped taking it cold and went right back to taking Zoloft, which I had taken prior to Effexor.  It was wonderful.  This time there were absolutely NO withdrawal symptoms!  No brain zaps, no feeling like I was a herion addict in withdrawal.

I would never recommend Effexor to anyone!  I am furious that it literally addicted me to it.  This is a deliberate act on the part of the drug company to keep their customers coming back for more.  I remain very, very sad that it made me lose my figure--something I took a lot of pride in.  I will never feel the same way about myself again.
Avatar universal
I just wanted to comment here about my weight loss and experience (researching on the internet) with trying to treat my Major Depressive Disorder for the last 4 years.  First of all, I’ve tried to treat it by counseling only (with Psychologist, Psychiatrists, etc).  I never took any medication because I read about all the horror stories on the internet (like here).  Especially the stories about weight gain.  So, I always declined it from my doctor.  I’ve changed Psychiatrist about 4 times already and ended up with a Dr that only treats depression via medication.  I didn’t know it at the time of the appointment.  He convinced me that my only way of treating my depression was via medication.   I decided to give it a try.  I started out on Effexor.  He said this was the most successful for his patients.  I started on the low dose and ended up at 150mg.  I was VERY concerned about gaining weight so I weighed myself every week.  I didn’t notice much of a difference depression wise until about the 6th week.  By the 8th-10th weeks I was feeling really good.   I was amazed how well it was working (and still am after 4 months!).  The other crazy thing is I lost over 25 pound since I started the Effexor 4 months ago. It is like an appetite suppressant.  I just weighed myself every week and drank 70 ounces of water per day. I also stopped drinking alcohol.  This is a requirement not to mix the 2 together. If you are drinking alcohol (at all) that could be your problem.  

Anyway, I’m really mad that I didn’t start Effexor years ago. The moral of the story is to NOT assume everything you read on the internet will happen to you. It’s been my experience that the majority of people going to the internet about health issues are people that have had bad experiences and are looking for advice.  There are not too many people that go to the internet to complain about how great something is working!  Think about that.  Millions have taken these drugs and it has changed their lives.  My doctor also told me up front that I will have to take this medication for the rest of my life.  So I have no fears of having to wean of it.  I’m so much happier.  It made me stop drinking alcohol which I believe is better than the possible long term effects of Effexor.  This is just my experience and I'm sure other may have different experiences.  Just monitor your weight, drink lots of water, exercise 4 times per week for at least 50 minutes (elliptical trainer) using a heart monitor to keep a stable heart rate and consistent workout.  I don't eat over 1800 calories per day.  I'm a male 6’2" 195. I’m down from 222 on 09/22/2009.  I have a friend of mine that recently started Effexor and he also is losing weight like crazy. He followed my advice about the water, no alcohol, exercise, and limiting calories.

One last thing...My doctor also told me that most of his patients lose weight or maintain weight on Effexor.  He said there are more issues with making sure he tells his patient to eat 3 meals a day.  So far everything he has told is consistent with my results.  Remember, when you get older your metabolism slows down…so being on this drug for years could just be that.  Just take a look around you….the majority of people in this country are overweight and gain weight regularly.  And the majority of those folks are not taking any medication!  So how do you explain that?  
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While I am genuinely happy (if not a bit envious) of your reaction to Effexor, this is not the case for a lot of people. Clearly there are people out there that take this drug and it has a weight-loss effect for them, but this usually isn't the case. Like most of these types of medications, for a lot of people they encourage weight gain. You're absolutely correct in pointing out the fact that as people age, most of our metabolisms tend to slow down. However, what do you say to those that have kept their diet/exercise routines intact since starting Effexor and still gain incredible amounts of weight? I was 114 lbs. when I was put on medication for my anxiety, and keep in mind that I continued to eat the same, clean diet and exercise very regularly and not a drop of alcohol ever, but still put on over 80 lbs. in under 2 years. That is not a normal physiological progression of the body's metabolism. I'm only 25 now, but even for people in their 40's or 50's, a increase in weight that dramatic could not merely be attributed to 'getting older' and that's why they're gaining weight. In order to put on that kind of weight (regardless of age, sex or any other variable), you would have to live a very sedentary life and consume far more calories than your body requires to function!

True that the majority of people in the Western world these days are overweight, but again, that isn't purely from aging. There are far more factors that come into play when it comes to obesity (morbid or otherwise). Once more, it's the result of inactivity and hugely inflated diets; those include large and unhealthy amounts of fat (saturated/trans), processed foods that contain ridiculous levels of sugar, white flour and preservatives. That is more of the reality of why so many people in our society are severely overweight and undernourished. Also, as a side note; some people can suffer from underlying conditions such as thyroid problems, and PCOS to name a few, that can certainly contribute to weight issues.

So I guess the point I'm driving home here is that while yours and your friends situation has worked out in a beneficial manner for you, that is not the case for every person taking this drug. It is not necessarily that we're all just getting older (and subsequently our metabolisms are failing us to the fullest) or that we don't eat properly, exercise or drink enough water either. This medication can, and does have a very damaging effect on many of its users, and those reactions should not be discounted with such a simplistic conclusion.

Take care of your bodies, because you only get 1! Also, stay informed and keep yourself educated :)
Avatar universal
Hi,

Male, 39 years old - 6' 3" tall.
Before effexor i was 170-175lbs and had high blood pressure, i was also taking Paxil. That was 9 years ago. During the time on Effexor i got up to 230 lbs. With watching what i ate and exercise, i got down to 195lbs. Than back up to 205, after i stopped exercise. My Triglycerides had gotten very high. Dr said to try fish oil. Worked to get it down. BTW, it also helps w/ the electric zaps when you are getting off the drug.
New A**hole boss, and second child ...  stress was high. Dr thought i had expired the use of effexor. Zoloft was next, lasted about a month on that. My heart never flipped as much in my life. Than Lexapro for about 5 months. In them 5 months i lost 25 lb and felt very ... manic. Dr thought that was a side effect and started me on Wellbutrin. I'm on week 2.
I was skinny my whole life. Gaining the weight felt good, normal. Losing weight brought a concern that I'd go back to a "skinny tall guy". Everyone around me things i look good, but inside i feel anxiety when someone says "hey, did you lose weight"?
It has been hell going onto these other drugs. Everyday i wish i stayed on Effexor and maybe exercised more or found activities to help lower my stress. Why dont i get back on it? i may, or even try Pristiq, which is similar but with less side effects. I am off an SSRI now. BUT I'm on Wellbutrin. That is an NDRI. I'll see if this works better for me. I fear getting off the drugs completely and going back into a depressed state. These drugs have saved my life. i've learned everyones makeup is different and it takes time to find the right one.
Hope this helps someone.

Mark



Avatar universal
Hi all,

I just want to offer a glimmer of hope for those of you that gained puzzling, inexplainable weight whilst on Effexor.

I am a 22 year old female, who was suffering from mild bouts of anxiety, I weighed only 45 kilos so I was technically underweight even though I ate like a soldier and I have always been naturally tiny as are most my family members. I never had to watch what I ate and hardly ever exercised. Anyway, to cut a long story short, my doctor (who was not my regular family doctor at the time) probably assumed that I was an anorexic nut (because of my weight) and that was probably why I had anxiety. I tried to explain to him that I had only been experiencing these bouts of anxiety after a stressful time at work. I guess he thought "yeah right" and decided he should put me on this heinous drug. He told me it was a nice little pill that would "calm me down during stressful times".

Well, I guess it did just that. I was just a vessell, with no emotion or feeling. I just sat there, grinning like an idiot, staring into space and sleeping like a koala all day. I appreciate that it took the anxiety away and stopped then stress, however I lost my spark, I lost my passion. I was tired ALL day. I would have 12 hour sleeps at night, yet still want to crash for a nap in the middle of the day. This drug made me virtually useless. The biggest side effect however, would have to be this uncontrollable weight that would just pile on. I was eating the same as I was before, if not less as I started noticing the weight gain. I allowed 5 kilo's weight gain initially because I thought "yeah I could do with a little weight gain, it wouldn't hurt", however I am only 5'4 and as the weight started to creep up to a dramatic 11 kilo increase, people started asking me about my stomach and I even had a stranger ask if I was pregnant. (The weight was most noticeable around my stomach and butt).

I am a student, so it was really hard for me to afford an entirely new wardrobe as none of my clothes fit anymore. The bloating and the weight continued to increase and decided I needed to put a halt to this thing before it got any worse and I reached the point of no return. I booked an appointment with another doctor at the same clinic (because I knew the one who prescribed me Effexor would defend it til the end of the Earth) and I exlplained to her what was happeing to me. She checked the records and observed my starting weight and she was gobsmacked that I could pile on 11 Kilos (20 somehing pounds) in a six month time frame. I exlained to her that I am eating less than I was before I went on this drug because I was so concious of the weight gain. She exlained she also had a few other patients that had experienced the same problem. She agreed that it would be a good idea to wean myself of this destructive piece of crap.

At this time I was on the 75 mg, so she told me to lower it to 35 mg and take this for a month and then take one every second day after that. I must say, I was terrified about the withdrawls, as I had pervioulsy skipped one pill by accident whilst I was on the 75's and became a hot, shaking mess. However, I believe by correctly and slowly tapering off, I was able to get off them completley and I am proud to say it's been 4 days now with very little comedowns.

The first Effexor day was the worst, I had this seething anger and resentment towards anyone who ticked me off in the slightest and this feeling lasted up until about day 2. I also had little crying episodes for now apparent reason during these first few days and very mild brain zaps. However, I am pleased to say, it's day 4 and I feel fantastic and very positive. I even weighed myself to compare and I have lost 2.5 kilos, although this might just be the water weight and I won't hold my breath because I have heard it might stop there or might even fluctuate for a good while post-Effexor, but so far so good.

However, I need to make clear I have been taking 5 Omega 3 tablets for about 2 years now, as well as tumeric capsules so this might be why I have been more successful with others in regards to weight loss. I also want to remind people, DO NOT JUST GO OFF THESE COLD TURKEY! If you were suffering severe depression/anxiety please talk to your doctor about alternative meds, if you have the same concerns or work out a good weaning off plan with them. I also want to say, if Effexor is working for you, then great, make sure you keep at it and if you hate the side-effects, be sure to weigh up the pro's and cons before stopping.

I will try and keep you guys updated about my progress post-Effexor and hopefully I can report back with good news.

Good luck and best wishes to you all!
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