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weight gain and lexapro
  1. #61
    Fitness Friday Girl is offline New Member
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    Like so many of you, I am so glad I found this thread. I've been on lexapro (5 mg) for 2 yrs, 2 mos and have gained 15 pounds during that time. I have been physically fit and a complete health nut most of my adult life (I am 41 years old). My weight has always been between 125 and 135. I am now at 145. The only time I have weighed this much is during 2nd trimester of pregnancy.

    In the last six mos, I have been to 2 doctors, a nutritionist and a personal trainer to try to find out what is going on with this weight gain. It never occurred to anyone--even me--that it could be the Lexapro. Mainly, because the weight gain didn't start until a year after I started it, then it came on rapidly. 2 pounds a month for seven months. Now it is everything I can do to keep it from coming on any more.

    I just saw my psychiatrist a few days ago for a check up and didn't even mention the weight gain, because I didn't think it was significant. Duh!!!!!

    I absolutely LOVE the way the lexapro has eliminated my depression. But this weight gain is taking its toll on me. I've been in the same size clothes since I was 25 years old...I'm now having to go out and buy new shorts for the summer in a bigger size. Like most of you, all the fat is in my belly, hips and thighs. My upper body is still very toned. I work out several times a week with weights and cardio. From the waist down, you can hardly tell. From the waist up, I look great. I'm wearing lots of flared skirts these days.

    After reading all of this, I'm very nervous that this 15 lbs will turn into 20 then 30 then 50...Thinking I will start a wean tomorrow. My doc has given me permission to wean any time I see fit. I wasn't going to mess with it because I like not being depressed. But now I think summer may be a great time to try--low stress, lots of sunshine.

    I am very interested to hear from those of you previously who went off. Did you lose the weight?

  2. #62
    johnhopps is offline Member
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    Good News- Reduced meds by 80% and still feeling good.

    Bad News- Have hit a plateu weight wise and I really want to lose the rest of the weight gained.

    I hope something isn't permanentaly messed up and I start losing again.

    And just an FYI to all. I do weights 3xs a week and kickbox(real not a class) 3xs a week. Jog 1 or 2xs per week. I also eat well and not too much. Around 2000 cal per day. So whoever says it's not the medication can follow me around 24/7.

  3. #63
    tylex is offline New Member
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    Tapered off the Lexapro very slowly, took about four weeks and there were only a few days of discomfort but all in all not bad at all. I can feel my emotions more strongly but nothing bad at all. I feel good. Now that I have been off it completely for a week I will now concentrate on losing the weight. I will keep you informed!

  4. #64
    BrigitteB is offline New Member
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    Default Update

    I quit lexapro quite fast. I went from 20mg to 10 mg (5 days) and 5mg (5 days). I had all the side effects such as dizziness (2 weeks) and mood swings. I still have mood swings and swear I will never get back on an antidepressant again. Mr. Dr. told me that you could get on and off lexapro no problems. That is not true. My brain is still trying to adjust. I am making the effort to exercise and eat right. I lost 6 lbs the first week, 2.2 lbs the 2nd week and 1.5 lbs the last 2 weeks (on weight watchers) and feel more energetic than before.

    The weight gain and the lethargy induced by the medication made my depression worse; I did not recognize myself. I am trying to get healthy and change my lifestyle (food , exercise, meditation, etc). I believe I can be happy off the meds. I am trying to take care of myself as best I can. I am still dealing with side effects and I think it is going to take a few more weeks.

    I'll let you know how I am doing but the good thing is that I do not have these crazy cravings and can lose weight like a regular person. I am positive that it is because I am off lexapro. Let's face it any antidepressant affects your brain and for me, it has not been a positive experience.

  5. #65
    johnhopps is offline Member
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    I've been totallyoff the meds 2 weeks now. I haven't lost a pound. This is very discouraging.I'll be covered up this summer until if and when the weight comes off.

  6. #66
    Whidbeyhead is offline New Member
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    Default Get this weight off!

    I am so glad to have found this info from fellow Lexapro users. I have taken 10 mg for around 6 years, with huge success. It has completely helped my moderate depression and anxiety. However, the scale has creeped up in a way that I have never experienced - with the weight being freakishly around the middle. I have put on 30 lbs. Interestingly, as the weight has increased, I thought that it was an acceptable trade for the positive affect that it had upon my mood and anxiety. However, the weight just keeps going up and up...I have never had a weight issue - always been thin and athletic - and now I don't recognize myself. I can accept 10, even 15 lbs, but this? And where does it stop? Would love to hear more about others' experiences with this, and what, if anything, you have switched to. Does this weight come off?

  7. #67
    johnhopps is offline Member
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    Welcome aboard and keep up with some posts here and there.

    If you can, start reducing the meds or see if you can change meds. That's the only way it will come off. You should start to lose weight fast if you do either of those, however if you start a new one then you may start to lose to begin with then the weight gain side effect of the new drug might kick in. So far there is no known cause as to why some people gain weight while on ssri's. I'd like to know if you create a calorie deficit then where does the body go to for energy if it can't burn fat cause of the meds. These pills could be given to skinny weightlifters who want to bulk up. The only positives are that the meds help, I have learned to eat extremely well since I've been trying extra hard to lose weight and when my body finally goes back to normal weight wise I will really have good form. The last thing is that I haven't lost a pound of muscle which is highly metabolic. Good luck.

  8. #68
    SmillaJ is offline New Member
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    Default another Lexapro fatty

    Hi all,

    10 years ago, at 28, I weighed 98 lbs (I'm 5'2"). I went on Lexapro at age 33 and immediately started noticing a slowdown in my metabolism. Today I weigh nearly 120.

    I began tapering off Lexapro a couple of months ago and haven't been taking anything for a couple of weeks now. Still have some slight withdrawal effects--mainly the "electric shock" sensation in my brain. Haven't seen any weight come off yet, but I'm hopeful.

    Like so many others, the weight is almost entirely in my midsection. I have normal sized arms and legs but then this big middle! It's ridiculous! The other day I was sitting down and I could feel fat rolls on my stomach touching each other--it disgusted me. (Mind you, *I* don't disgust myself, because I don't necessarily see this as my "fault!" But fat rolls touching each other is just gross.)

    Except for the weight gain, I was extremely happy on Lexapro. While the weight gain had something to do with my decision to go off SSRIs, I also thought (hoped) that after 7 years, I might be able to discontinue use. I'm also continuing with my psychotherapy in hopes that it will be "enough" for me. Really really hoping that this weight starts coming off...

    Smilla

  9. #69
    Olydale is offline New Member
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    Unhappy Dose anyone know why I gain weight on Methadone?

    I have been on methadone for some time because its the best pain med. for the liver,if you have to take one! I have always gained a lot of weight on it,and its not a steroid! Dose anyone else have this or know why? Is it because it slows your metabolism down to a crawl?? Please Help?

  10. #70
    cleaningup is offline New Member
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    Default Tapering progress

    Hi all,

    I thought I'd post my progress with lex withdrawal incase it helps anyone.
    I started taking it October 2006 as I was severely depressed and after 6 months had probably put on 25 pounds. I have always been slim - eaten well and exercised regularly. I noticed mainly that I was craving more carbs and didn't care I was putting on weight - didn't care much about anything actually!

    Last December I tried to quit and felt really angry and had severe brain zaps... my first European Winter probably didn't help!!

    I decided to reinstate the lexapro and gradually reduced the dose over 6 months until I quit 9 days ago. I have slight blurred vision, occasional brain zaps (though a lot more subtle than when I tried to quit cold turkey 6 months ago), extreme tiredness (which is beginning to subside) and irrational irritableness. (I am lucky I have a patient boyfriend). It is all manageable though and I do not feel depressed and I am remembering to be self aware through this period so I do not let the symptoms dictate my feelings.

    The lexapro really helped when I started to take it - the first 6 months I was quite recklessly uncaring though. After 6 months the feelings of numbness plateaued out and I felt fine.

    I want to be drug free and have my once responsive body back to prime health so I have made the decision to be off SSRIs.

    I'll report my progress and weightloss as this is a weight issues thread. I hope this is of help to some people.


  11. #71
    Fitness Friday Girl is offline New Member
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    I have been completely off the Lexapro for almost 3 weeks, after weaning from 5 mg to 2.5 mg (7 days) to 2.5 mg every other day (7 days). I felt terrible for a few days. Dizzy, tired, brain zaps, moody, irritable. But every day, I feel a little better. Not completely normal, but better.

    I talked to my psychiatrist who said the weight gain is absolutely from the Lexapro. She said some people have success losing weight at a very low dose. I had already weaned completely off by the time she told me this and didn't want to go back on.

    I have not lost any weight yet. I have a vacation planned next week and then intend to hit it hard when I return. I already exercise 6 days a week for about an hour a day and eat very healthy about 90% of the time. So for me to "hit it hard" I will have to hit it HARD. I'm not looking forward to this, but I would like to be able to fit into my clothes again. I'll keep you all posted.

  12. #72
    cleaningup is offline New Member
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    Smile

    Goodluck Fitness Friday girl!

    I'll be interested to hear how you go as I too will begin hitting the training hard starting this week and will see if I can lose the excess weight. I have been off completely for two and a half weeks now and feel a lot more clear headed, connected and motivated so I'm hoping everything will work out A OK.

  13. #73
    johnhopps is offline Member
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    Thumbs up

    The weight is finally starting to come off. Very slow but it's not taking many pounds for my stomach to be much slimmer. I've done a lot of excercise and this has been very fustrating. I'd like it to come off faster but I'll settle for this as long as the scale is going down. So for me it was immediate weight loss after stopping then an increase of 5 pounds about 2 weeks after stopping, then a plateau for 2 more weeks and slow weight loss since. Good luck everyone.

  14. #74
    cleaningup is offline New Member
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    Hey Johnhops,
    Congrats on the hard work!
    Losing the weight slowly is probably better for your body in many ways so I'd be pretty happy as long as the scale is going down.

    What do you think caused the 5 pound gain 2 weeks after the lex cessation?

  15. #75
    johnhopps is offline Member
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    Thanks. For the 5 pounds. Who really knows. My guess which has no medical support is that once I stopped initially my body lost the weight it gained strictly from not having the medicine in my body ( Water/other fluids etc.) But since the body knew of a way to gain weight even though I was eating correctly and exercising, it put the pounds back on. This may be the furthest from the truth but hey they don't even no why antidepressants cause weight gain.
    FattyMcFat likes this.

  16. #76
    jbel1021 is offline New Member
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    Default Weight Gain with Lexapro

    Hi all,

    I found this thread by Googling "Weight Gain with Lexapro." This year, I was on Lexapro from April to July for anxiety and depression issues. I stopped taking Lexapro on Friday because I mysteriously went from 175 pounds to 190 pounds from April to July (3 months) with no change to my eating habits. Lexapro definitely causes bloating and weight gain in the midsection. I have also noticed weight gain in my cheeks and neck. It's funny because before I considered Lexapro, I asked my doctor if it increased appetite and he said no.

    I started on 10mg a day then increased my dose to 20mg a day about a month ago. I just poured all the meds in the toilet. I am done taking Lexapro. I am a recovering anorexic and taking Lexapro made me gain weight. Thus, I felt even more anxious and depressed than I already was.

    The withdrawal symptoms I am experiencing include moodiness, fatigue, trouble sleeping, brain zaps, dizziness, and loss of appetite.

    I am already down to 183 since last Friday. I will weigh myself at the end of the week to see how much more I have lost then update you all back here. I have already noticed a difference in just DAYS of being off this measly drug.

  17. #77
    cleaningup is offline New Member
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    Johnhopps - who knows right? I definitely felt I lost a 'bloating' in my tummy as soon as I completely stopped.

    jbel1021 - I hope you do feel better. Did you stop cold turkey straight from 20mg?
    I hope the side effects subside for you soon.

  18. #78
    jbel1021 is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by cleaningup View Post
    jbel1021 - I hope you do feel better. Did you stop cold turkey straight from 20mg?
    I hope the side effects subside for you soon.
    Yes, I stopped cold turkey straight from the 20 mg. I was on the 20 mg for about two months too. Today I felt really tired at work and get in these dizzy spells. I hope it doesn't last long.

  19. #79
    johnhopps is offline Member
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    Default Theory on weight gain

    Since people that take lexapro or other antidepressants apparently have an issue with serotonin and messages being sent in the brain, maybe the ssri increases messages including messages to gain weight.

    I would like to see if there is a dosage low enough that doesn't make you gain weight but also helps you out a bit. Maybe certain people are overmedicated so they feel well but now have too much seratonin causing weight gain and if you can find the right dosage that can put your serotonin levels at the closest level to where it is supposed to be then you won't gain weight and you will fell better.

  20. #80
    Fitness Friday Girl is offline New Member
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    I find it amazing that doctors are still saying this doesn't cause weight gain. My doctor warned me before I started taking it (though I felt invincible because I eat healthy and excercise daily). And she asked at every appointment if I had gained weight. When I told her I did, she said there was no doubt it is from the lexapro. And she also said that many people have successful weight loss at low doses. I would prefer to stay drug-free, so I'm going to see how it goes.

    I put my scale away until I finish with summer vacations and the drug is completely out of my body. It was only making me sad to see the weight creep up.

    I will update in a few weeks after I've had a chance to work at the weight loss more intentionally.

    Good luck, everyone!!!!!

  21. #81
    jbel1021 is offline New Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fitness Friday Girl View Post
    I find it amazing that doctors are still saying this doesn't cause weight gain. My doctor warned me before I started taking it (though I felt invincible because I eat healthy and exercise daily). And she asked at every appointment if I had gained weight. When I told her I did, she said there was no doubt it is from the lexapro. And she also said that many people have successful weight loss at low doses. I would prefer to stay drug-free, so I'm going to see how it goes.

    I put my scale away until I finish with summer vacations and the drug is completely out of my body. It was only making me sad to see the weight creep up.

    I will update in a few weeks after I've had a chance to work at the weight loss more intentionally.

    Good luck, everyone!!!!!
    Yup, of course Lexapro causes weight gain. It lowers thyroid function and causes carb cravings without a doubt.

    But yea, sorry about the Lexapro! I have been off the drug for a little over a week now and have lost about 10 pounds.
    Last edited by jbel1021; 07-25-2010 at 09:31 AM.

  22. #82
    JKDNYC is offline New Member
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    Red face PLease tell me what happened AFTER you withdrew from Lexapro.

    THANK YOU. I found these posts three weeks ago and suddenly- wow, it all made sense. Four years ago I lost more than 60 lbs- I became an active person- running, biking, weights, swimming, kickboxing classes-everything. I went on Lexapro 1.75 years ago... and slowly the weight crept on. I'd gain a pound and no matter what I did i couldn't lose it. I started weight training- I got toned, but gained more weight, so I blamed the weight training and went back to hard core cardio. The lbs all started adding up, and 20lbs later here I am. I never considered it was the Lex- I blamed my birth control and went off it, then I blamed myself. I agree with the poster John- follow me for a day. I still do Weight Watchers, every week since 2004 I weigh in. I write down every bite of food I eat. I go to the gym 3-5 times a week.

    Finding this page was an epiphany. I realized- those times I woke up with the sheets drenched in sweat? It only started recently- about 3 months ago. Also a side effect. The missed periods? Ditto. The decreased libido? Yep.

    The side effects were gradual, but now I feel like they are piling on. I can show you my food journals for the last year- you'd be remiss to find out why I have been consistently gaining weight-- my WW leaders, who I approached, were.

    Lexapro helped me through a really tough time. But for me, IMO, it is not meant for the long-term.

    The fact is- people say it's not the medication- you guys hear me- we know it is. I have started to decrease slowly under my doctor's care.

    What I need- and implore you all to tell me as I go through this miserable withdrawal-- (I am so forgetful. I've quelled the brain zaps but the edginess is there)--

    Did you lose the weight when you withdrew? Did you body readjust? Please- tell me what happened AFTER you got off Lexapro. THANK YOU.
    Last edited by JKDNYC; 07-29-2010 at 09:48 PM.

  23. #83
    JKDNYC is offline New Member
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    Your note helped me tremendously. I am weaning off the drug- I got brain zaps when I reduced to quickly. How are you doing now, having been off for a while?

  24. #84
    UngAffect is offline New Member
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    I started taking Lexapro recently. In the past I was on Setraline and Bupropion but the sexual side effects from the Setraline were overwhelming and weren't offset by the Bupropion like I had hoped. The side effects and withdrawl symptoms mentioned here make me even more nervous, but they say you have to keep trying different meds until one works right? So far with the Lexapro I'm fine except really tired. It's been a few weeks and hoping it goes away. I found this page Lexapro Fatigue and thinking of asking my doctor for Modafinil/Provigil. If there's few or no side effects then what's the harm? If the tiredness isn't gone in a week I'll probably ask him about it.

  25. #85
    cleaningup is offline New Member
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    Hi all,

    It has been a month since I stopped lex after weening slowly down from 10mg per day. I took a 10 mg tablet daily then took half, then 1 third, then 1 quarter, then nothing.
    I took something at the same time everyday rather than every second day - I felt for me it was better to be as regular and consistent as possible so my body was constantly adjusting down.

    I talked regularly with my boyfriend about how I was feeling. This definitely helped me keep perspective. In his opinion each time I went to a smaller dose I was angry and depressed for nearly two weeks then felt normal and fine till I lowered the dose again.

    Once I stopped I had a brain fog (like a flu coming on) for 2 weeks. During the same time I had quite regular brain zaps, though nowhere near as severe as when I tried to quit cold turkey 6 months ago. I felt extremely tired for those two weeks also. And then......

    The last two weeks have been really good. No brain zaps. No fatigue. Extreme clearheadedness. I feel more emotional connection to my life - as in normal cycling highs and lows that correspond quantitively to daily events. I feel involved and not apathetic like a used to.

    My body also feels more responsive - I have always exercised regularly but my body feels like it gets more out of it - as in my muscles ache more after pilates - in a good way. Yes I have lost a few more kilos and I feel and look less bloated in my midsection and face.

    Sexual desire has returned to normal. I no longer have that 'whatever' feeling and instead feel excited and involved in all things and thoughts sexual.

    I also no longer feel the false contentment I felt on lexapro - I now feel more driven.
    I realize none of these/ a lot of these/ all of these feelings may be placebo and I understand that we may all respond differently at different stages of withdrawal.

    I will keep reporting. I think talking to someone or writing down your responses regularly during withdrawal does help keep perspective as I certainly had ups and downs in this process.

  26. #86
    johnhopps is offline Member
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    Default Weight loss

    So.I started reducing about 3 quick months ago and I have lost half of the weight I gained. The max weight gain was 21 lbs. I have 10-12 more to go. The weight loss is weird to say the least. I lose 4 then gain 3/3.5. Lose 5 then gain 4.The top of my midsection is about where it was when I started. The lower part still has some to go.

  27. #87
    msukeg is offline New Member
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    Smile My Turn

    "...The lbs all started adding up, and 20lbs later here I am. I never considered it was the Lex- I blamed my birth control and went off it, then I blamed myself. ....
    I realized- those times I woke up with the sheets drenched in sweat? It only started recently- about 3 months ago. Also a side effect. The missed periods? Ditto. The decreased libido? Yep. The side effects were gradual, but now I feel like they are piling on. Lexapro helped me through a really tough time. But for me, IMO, it is not meant for the long-term. "

    Why I didn't search for this discussion thread before...?? I've tried to have this discussion with my dr., but to no avail. As has been reported here above, the response has been that my weight gain could not have been caused by my meds. AND we're trying to determine the cause of my chronic and building fatigue. I'm now on thyroid meds, trying to see if that will solve the issue of both problems.

    I started on Lexapro 2 years ago, switching from Zoloft, first to 5 mg then to 10 mg. We've added Deplin around January this year to "enhance" or increase the effect of the Lexapro's delivery. I have to say from a depression or moods perspective, it solves that problem, and I am not necessarily wanting to go cold turkey (because I know just what a b*tch I can be without). So is it back to the Zoloft? Or is this Wellbutrin worth a try? All I know is that the 10 lbs last year was one thing, but I've gained 20 lbs in 6 months this year. And on a 5'3" frame, that is NOT acceptable.

  28. #88
    Valentina86 is offline New Member
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    Unhappy Please help me

    PLEASE HELP

    Do you gain weight because lexapro slows down your metabolism or is it because of the cravings?
    While on lexapro I gained 15 pounds in a month, I'm very depressed because of my figure. I want to go off lexapro completely, but I want to know what causes weight gain because if it is for the cravings I can stop, with willpower but if it messes up your metabolism I will quit inmediately (I know I shouldn't do this) but my figure depresses me so much hope someone can answer me thanks

  29. #89
    cleaningup is offline New Member
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    Valentina - the short answer is I don't know. I can't find a clear answer to that question. There is no official statement about it.

    I believe I personally did crave more carbs - but I also 'didn't care' in the initial few months of starting the drug that I was putting on weight as I was so relieved to be out of the dark place I was in.

    Though when I leveled out mentally/ emotionally on the lex - I did care - but found it very difficult to lose weight - even with exercise and dieting.

    My body feels more responsive to diet and exercise now that I am off the lex.

    Whether it effects your metabolism - I don't know. I think it does. Though I am sure when I was really stressed before taking lex - my metabolism was faster as a result and I do not want to go back to that place!

    Is the lex working for you as an antidepressant? If so maybe take some time on it to sort out some emotional issues and then begin to slowly - very slowly - ween off...

    I don't know what other people think - but do you think it is more harmful for one's metabolism and body/ mind to be swapping meds?

  30. #90
    johnhopps is offline Member
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    I'm now down 12 of the 21 pounds I put on. Absolutely it is because of the medication. For the reason, I don't know. Maybe it does slow down the metabolism but I think it's more than that.

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