I started lamictal a bit over a year ago and now I’m at 350 XR and since I started I have gained over 100 pounds. I have improved my diet and increased my exercise since I started and the only thing that changed over the year was the addition of lamictal. I know “it doesn’t cause weight gain” and “it is weight neutral” but that’s not a 100% guarantee that it won’t cause you to gain weight. So I’m still on it and I need to lose weight. It is effecting my depression, isolation, self confidence, and self image and I don’t know what else I can do besides eat extremely healthy, exercise daily, sleep 8 hours, drink at least 8 cups of water, no alcohol or fried foods, and I don’t sit all day. My psychiatrist doesn’t understand how much this is effecting me, I won’t leave my house because of how disgusting I am. I quit school because I was going to be a dietitian and then depression hit and now my BMI puts me in morbidly obese class 3. I can’t be this fat and a dietitian. I obviously know how to eat healthy so that’s not my problem. I don’t know how to lose this weight or get my psychiatrist to actually hear me or take me seriously. I need help and suggestions but please don’t say it’s not supposed to make you gain weight, it’s not lamictal, eat vegetables, or exercise.
Hi, Fakingit! You're absolutely correct. ALL psychotropic drugs have the POTENTIAL to cause weight gain. Lamictal is considered weight neutral because it can cause weight gain OR weight loss:
Common (1% to 10%): Weight decrease, weight gain"
You can minimize the weight gain as you have done, but the metabolic changes are going to make losing any more nearly impossible. Your psychiatrist needs a reality check... 100lbs is more than medically significant, it's morbid obesity.
You need a change in medication and if your psychiatrist can't see that is there a possibility of getting a second opinion? Mind you, I'm not in the habit of second guessing a medical doctor... but you've got yourself a real problem both physically and emotionally. Could you see a GP who could, in turn, consult with your Pdoc?
I wish you the best of luck and please give us an update if you would, okay?
Get off the Lamictal NOW, and hopefully it won’t be too late for you to get the weight back off. (Be sure to go through the gradual weaning process that your doctor sets up, as this particular drug is extremely dangerous to withdrawal from too rapidly!)
Supposedly, Lamictal does not cause weight gain. Ha!
My psychiatrist began switching me from a different mood stabilizer to Lamictal about 3 years ago, and I gained SEVENTY POUNDS in the first 3 months that I was taking it!!! How does ANYONE gain that much weight that quickly? I was 57 years old at the time, and had been a size 6 throughout my entire adult life. I have never eaten compulsively for any reason, and at the time of the weight gain, there had been absolutely zero change in either my food intake or my exercise regime.
When I discussed the problem with my doctor, he “guaranteed” that Lamictal had absolutely NOT caused the weight gain. But there had been no other medication changes for a couple of years and, as I said above, zero eating/exercise changes. I have had an under-active thyroid for years, but my levels have continued to check out as normal.
I actually had several people – including my doctor! – suggest that it was simply a metabolism change due to age, and I might have been able to consider that explanation, except that 70 pounds in 3 months is so far beyond what an aging metabolism could explain! And I tried everything to lose the weight! As I have no neurotic attachment to food, it was easy for me to make significant calorie cuts (down to about 1,000 calories a day), and I doubled the length of my dog’s brisk, twice-daily walks (my primary source of exercise these days).
NOTHING I did made the slightest bit of difference. I finally insisted that my doctor switch me back to my old mood stabilizer, while he continued to insist that it absolutely was NOT the Lamictal. By the time I was completely weaned off of the drug, about 2 years had passed, and the weight was still there. Now, I have been off of the Lamictal for about a year, but the weight still won’t budge.
I am a scientist (a geochemist), and I KNOW that the laws of physics dictate that, even if I had been strapped down – completely immobilized – and force fed pure fat for 3 months, it would be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to experience that much weight gain in that short a time! I have bipolar II disorder, and suffer from nearly constant depression. This obesity had aggravated that situation to the point that I’m embarrassed to have anyone see me – even my grown children – like this, and It’s still excruciating to see myself in mirrors. My depression has grown substantially in both prevalence and severity, and it seems that, whatever the Lamictal did to me, has proven to be irreversible. Even after 3 years, I still feel like I’m living in someone else’s body. It’s a nightmare.
I gained 100 pounds over 15 years. It’s devastating and miserable. Mine was different meds but mainly amitryptline, gabapentin, and ambien.
REWORK your medicine w your psychiatrist. If he is unconcerned about your weight, find a new doctor.
First, if you never give up, never take a break from your diet and you will get to your desired weight.
TWO join an app for food behavior modification (Noom or something similar)
THREE go to an eating disorders MSW or psychologist. Overweight and overeating is its own eating disorder. I have a doctor I see every 2 - 4 weeks for the diet and I take appetite suppressants which will have to be weaned painfully slowly when I enter weight maintenance.
FOUR Go to YouTube and start meditating about your problems w food.
FIVE You have to be your own advocate. Research for ideas but ultimately you have to find your motivation. Use positive self talk and “cheerleading” to keep yourself compliant. ie “I’m not going to cheat”- 50 times a day.
SIX- see if ketamine works for you to maybe at least decrease your medicine. It’s expensive and insurance won’t pay for it, but it helps depression and impulse control ie cravings and overeating. It’s worth every penny. Generally it’s 4 to 6 treatments at $375/treatment and then once at regular intervals -as soon as once per month or -as far as once per 6 months.
Record everything you eat, exercise, I’ve lost 90 pounds in 3 years on a keto diet and my motivation changes every couple of months or so.
EAT 3 to 5 cups of cooked vegetables per day.
V-8 JUICE w 1tsp beet powder and 1tsp kale powder for breakfast. It helps me not be as hungry through out the day. I eat 8 ounces(measured before cooking) of meat at lunch and dinner and vegetables.
For sweets I eat 1 cup frozen berries in Greek yogurt or chocolate protein shake. I am still doing low fat for weight loss. I don’t try to find substitutes for flour, rice, or pasta. I need to skip it. I normally use broccoli or cauliflower or carrots as my starches. For instance at Olive Garden I eat sauce poured over broccoli instead of pasta.
PS- Honey, I am a Dietetian and that didn’t stop me from weight gain. Being fat isn’t caused by a lack of knowledge.
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