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TOPIC: Lexapro and weight loss

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October 13, 2012 4:34 PM
I read a couple of posts on this subject from a while back, but I'm still curious...has anyone had experience with weight loss/gain while on Lexapro? I was just prescribed a very low dose (5 mg) and am nervous to see how it affects me. Much of my anxiety can be attributed to food; while I understand that treating depression and GAD are of the utmost importance, I'm a little concerned that taking a medication known to cause weight gain would just make things worse. Anyway, I'd love to hear some folks' experiences, and specifically any tips or tricks to avoid weight gain while on this medication (or any other SSRI). Thanks, and feel free to add me, too!
October 13, 2012 4:39 PM
I was on lexapro for years. It didn't affect my weight one way or the other. The most important thing is to remember to keep logging here. Stay within your calorie range, move more and drink water. Good luck.
October 13, 2012 4:40 PM
Thanks! You're definitely right!
October 13, 2012 5:27 PM
I also take it at double your dose (and have been for several years) and it hasn't stopped me losing so far. It may be one of the factors that slows it down more than it would otherwise, but it is certainly possible to maintain or even lose weight while on it. Good luck!
October 13, 2012 5:32 PM
I have been on it for 5 years. I gained 50 pounds. BUT I don't think all of that weight was attributed to the medicine. Some was, but some was for other reasons. However, don't stop taking the medicine. Getting mentally stable should be a higher priority than being skinny. Plus you are on a very low dosage. Stay active and you should be fine. Good luck!

P.S. I take 20 mg
Edited by lizblizz2012 On October 13, 2012 5:33 PM
  10975745
October 13, 2012 7:17 PM
i've been on a number of antidepressants and mood stabilizers over the past nine years for anxiety, depression and PTSD. lexapro was one of three that were weight-neutral for me (the other two were abilify and wellbutrin). celexa and zoloft seemed to up my appetite, which of course could read as a five-pound gain in no time if i didn't watch my calorie intake, but neither seemed to cause weight gain in and of itself. seroquel caused me to gain 15 pounds in a matter of eight weeks, but after i stopped taking it, the weight came off immediately--i suspect a lot of it was fluid retention. cymbalta is the one i REALLY struggled with. i gained 30 pounds in six months with only minor changes to my eating habits--not nearly enough to justify such a gain. now that i'm off all medications, it's taking me quite awhile to lose it (that's why i'm here).

but here's the thing: every medication is going to affect every person differently. some people have NO weight gain with cymbalta, but gained ten or twenty pounds with wellbutrin--a complete reverse scenario from mine. everyone's body chemistry is different. i've learned never to trust what seems to be the 'norm'--the best thing to do is research the medication (including side effects and withdrawal effects, if any, because someday you may wish you'd known) and work with your doctor to make an informed decision about whether the benefits outweigh the risks. when you're really struggling emotionally, it is often the best decision to give the medication a fair shot.

you'll know within six to eight weeks whether it's working AND whether it's affecting your weight. at that juncture your doctor can help you decide whether the medication is working appropriately for you, and he/she can adjust the dosage and/or change medications if need be. chances are, you won't have any problems, and your anxiety will be much better. (also, if you would notice weight gain, eight weeks would be long enough to know if it's real weight and not just your body adjusting to processing a new substance, and it wouldn't be very much of a gain, so it would be relatively easy to reverse.)

as another poster mentioned, just continue to keep a close eye on your food intake. i firmly believe that medications exist that can cause weight gain, but i also believe that when it happens, it's a noticeably disproportionate and rapid gain relative to what the individual is eating/expending. in other words, if you have to question whether it's the medication causing the gain or not, it's probably not :). the majority of the time, when people notice a slight weight gain on a medication, it's either fluid retention from hormone/chemical composition changes or a result of minor changes to eating habits.

i hope this helps and doesn't make you more nervous about taking the lexapro... i know a few other people who have taken it who have also done well with it and not noticed any weight gain. good luck to you. feel better <3
Edited by CoutureKitten74 On October 13, 2012 7:17 PM
  6496557
October 13, 2012 7:47 PM
QUOTE:

i've been on a number of antidepressants and mood stabilizers over the past nine years for anxiety, depression and PTSD. lexapro was one of three that were weight-neutral for me (the other two were abilify and wellbutrin). celexa and zoloft seemed to up my appetite, which of course could read as a five-pound gain in no time if i didn't watch my calorie intake, but neither seemed to cause weight gain in and of itself. seroquel caused me to gain 15 pounds in a matter of eight weeks, but after i stopped taking it, the weight came off immediately--i suspect a lot of it was fluid retention. cymbalta is the one i REALLY struggled with. i gained 30 pounds in six months with only minor changes to my eating habits--not nearly enough to justify such a gain. now that i'm off all medications, it's taking me quite awhile to lose it (that's why i'm here).

but here's the thing: every medication is going to affect every person differently. some people have NO weight gain with cymbalta, but gained ten or twenty pounds with wellbutrin--a complete reverse scenario from mine. everyone's body chemistry is different. i've learned never to trust what seems to be the 'norm'--the best thing to do is research the medication (including side effects and withdrawal effects, if any, because someday you may wish you'd known) and work with your doctor to make an informed decision about whether the benefits outweigh the risks. when you're really struggling emotionally, it is often the best decision to give the medication a fair shot.

you'll know within six to eight weeks whether it's working AND whether it's affecting your weight. at that juncture your doctor can help you decide whether the medication is working appropriately for you, and he/she can adjust the dosage and/or change medications if need be. chances are, you won't have any problems, and your anxiety will be much better. (also, if you would notice weight gain, eight weeks would be long enough to know if it's real weight and not just your body adjusting to processing a new substance, and it wouldn't be very much of a gain, so it would be relatively easy to reverse.)

as another poster mentioned, just continue to keep a close eye on your food intake. i firmly believe that medications exist that can cause weight gain, but i also believe that when it happens, it's a noticeably disproportionate and rapid gain relative to what the individual is eating/expending. in other words, if you have to question whether it's the medication causing the gain or not, it's probably not :). the majority of the time, when people notice a slight weight gain on a medication, it's either fluid retention from hormone/chemical composition changes or a result of minor changes to eating habits.

i hope this helps and doesn't make you more nervous about taking the lexapro... i know a few other people who have taken it who have also done well with it and not noticed any weight gain. good luck to you. feel better <3


Thank you all SO much! @couture, what are you currently doing to manage your conditions? I'm being treated for GAD, depression, and PTSD as well--though after 8 years PTSD is on the back-burner, and anxiety is the foremost problem. I have found that yoga and exercise work well for me, but not well enough to stave off anxiety when "triggered," hence the mild dose of medication. I haven't tried long-term CBT. Honestly, I just want to manage everything naturally :(
October 13, 2012 8:14 PM
QUOTE:


Thank you all SO much! @couture, what are you currently doing to manage your conditions? I'm being treated for GAD, depression, and PTSD as well--though after 8 years PTSD is on the back-burner, and anxiety is the foremost problem. I have found that yoga and exercise work well for me, but not well enough to stave off anxiety when "triggered," hence the mild dose of medication. I haven't tried long-term CBT. Honestly, I just want to manage everything naturally :(


i'm honestly just taking it day by day. taking multivitamins, practicing yoga up to three times a day, running, trying to get good nutrition from lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables while still allowing myself small treats... running is my go-to when i'm triggered right now. i also started making a list of self-comfort things i can do when i'm upset or anxious. (warm bath, cup of earl grey tea, wrapping up really tight in a warm blanket, cuddling a stuffed animal, journaling, brushing my hair, painting my nails, looking at cute pictures of animals on the internet, lying in legs-up-the-wall pose... some of them are silly, i know!) sometimes they don't help, but sometimes they do.

i'm not doing any kind of counseling or therapy right now, although i've done quite a bit in the past. i've been considering trying to see someone again. it's a good option if you find a counselor who's the right fit for you.

i still have times when i feel like i can't handle life. still have difficult nights and mornings when i don't really want to leave my bed (and the occasional afternoon mini-breakdown, though nights seem to be the worst for me). i just feel like i'm so much healthier without all the chemicals in my body. feeling like i'm doing something good for my health and longevity has really motivated me to stick with the no-meds thing. this is the first time since i was nine years old that i'm not medicated at all for one condition or another. (i take birth control pills and allergy medication, but that's it.)

it's been about a year that i've been off of all my medications. while i was on them, i truly needed them--i wouldn't have gotten through without them. there's no shame in it. i just wanted to give myself a chance to see what my personality would really be like without the meds and to find out if i could handle life on my own. things were finally getting to the point where i felt stable and ready to try. i'm glad i did.

i wouldn't say no to trying medication again in the future if my circumstances change or for some reason i begin to struggle more, but for now, i'm okay with having good days and bad days. the bad times aren't as bad as they used to be. and i'm learning a lot about myself in the process :)
  6496557
October 13, 2012 10:04 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:


Thank you all SO much! @couture, what are you currently doing to manage your conditions? I'm being treated for GAD, depression, and PTSD as well--though after 8 years PTSD is on the back-burner, and anxiety is the foremost problem. I have found that yoga and exercise work well for me, but not well enough to stave off anxiety when "triggered," hence the mild dose of medication. I haven't tried long-term CBT. Honestly, I just want to manage everything naturally :(


i'm honestly just taking it day by day. taking multivitamins, practicing yoga up to three times a day, running, trying to get good nutrition from lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables while still allowing myself small treats... running is my go-to when i'm triggered right now. i also started making a list of self-comfort things i can do when i'm upset or anxious. (warm bath, cup of earl grey tea, wrapping up really tight in a warm blanket, cuddling a stuffed animal, journaling, brushing my hair, painting my nails, looking at cute pictures of animals on the internet, lying in legs-up-the-wall pose... some of them are silly, i know!) sometimes they don't help, but sometimes they do.

i'm not doing any kind of counseling or therapy right now, although i've done quite a bit in the past. i've been considering trying to see someone again. it's a good option if you find a counselor who's the right fit for you.

i still have times when i feel like i can't handle life. still have difficult nights and mornings when i don't really want to leave my bed (and the occasional afternoon mini-breakdown, though nights seem to be the worst for me). i just feel like i'm so much healthier without all the chemicals in my body. feeling like i'm doing something good for my health and longevity has really motivated me to stick with the no-meds thing. this is the first time since i was nine years old that i'm not medicated at all for one condition or another. (i take birth control pills and allergy medication, but that's it.)

it's been about a year that i've been off of all my medications. while i was on them, i truly needed them--i wouldn't have gotten through without them. there's no shame in it. i just wanted to give myself a chance to see what my personality would really be like without the meds and to find out if i could handle life on my own. things were finally getting to the point where i felt stable and ready to try. i'm glad i did.

i wouldn't say no to trying medication again in the future if my circumstances change or for some reason i begin to struggle more, but for now, i'm okay with having good days and bad days. the bad times aren't as bad as they used to be. and i'm learning a lot about myself in the process :)

That's why I wanted to take a med break--I'm so glad it's working for you! I'm trying to get into med school, and I felt like the side effects of Zoloft were "weighing me down" a little in terms of finding the motivation to study. My psychiatrist is really pushy with medication (perhaps obviously), so I'm getting back on it sort of against my will. Progressive stories like yours are definitely encouraging.
October 18, 2012 4:58 AM
Hi there, I just wanted to remind you that you have this whole community to support you. My older sister was on Lexapro and many other meds. At times it was hard for her but friends and family were there to support her and that consistent support eventually made a big difference on her life. The interesting fact is that she actually lost weight while on Lexapro but she actually started a healthy diet and exercise program and was able to stay consistent with it. Now it has been I want to say almost 9 months since she stopped taking any type of meds and she is doing great. I was actually looking for an article about Lexapro and weight loss and found your post and this article http://workingonlinefromhomejobs.com/lexaproandweightloss I wish you the best of luck !
October 18, 2012 6:59 AM
I lost weight on Lexapro, but I also saw halos around light sources and felt more compelled to cut/burn myself than ever before. That stuff is nasty! I'd stay away from it.
October 18, 2012 8:51 AM
Personally, I gained 15 pounds on Cymbalta in 1.5 months, and 10 pounds in less than a month on Zoloft. Horrible, I hated it. I'm on Welbutrin now, and not losing weight/not gaining weight, but it's definitely much better with my mood now that I know I'm not gaining 25 pounds off of the medicine. That was from January to March, a 25 pound weight gain, even after switching meds :( Regardless, I'm off of those now, and Welbutrin hasn't caused any extremeweight gain like the other two did
October 25, 2012 12:31 PM
I've been on 20mg Lexapro a little over a year and I don't think the Lexapro itself affects your weight either way. In my case, personally, once my mood and motivation was enhanced THAT'S when I finally found the motivation to exercise. I lost 40 pounds with exercise only (because I still eat junk food indifferent )
  10985368
October 25, 2012 1:37 PM
Not on Lexapro, but on Geodon, Seroquel and Lamictal for bipolar. Was on abilify, but I gained 8 lbs in 2 weeks because I was constantly starving. The geodon still makes me hungier than normal, but my moods are so stable with this cocktail that I don't want to mess with it. I've started drinking lots of water and watching my calories and just have decided to live with being a little hungry at the end of the day. I'd rather be hungry than suicidal and hospitalized again. But everyone's brain works different and what affects one may not affect someone else. Good luck on your journey. Psychotropic meds can be tricky to get right.
  29960049
October 25, 2012 1:41 PM
Although Lexapro has been weight neutral for me, I Feel like it does make it more difficult for me to lose. That is just my experience, though. I react the same way to pretty much every antidepressant (zoloft, paxil, lexapro), so it most likely is just the way my body reacts. I am also on abilify and that made me ravenous for the first couple of weeks, but that went away eventually.

Hang in there and add me if you'd like!
October 25, 2012 2:10 PM
QUOTE:

Not on Lexapro, but on Geodon, Seroquel and Lamictal for bipolar. Was on abilify, but I gained 8 lbs in 2 weeks because I was constantly starving. The geodon still makes me hungier than normal, but my moods are so stable with this cocktail that I don't want to mess with it. I've started drinking lots of water and watching my calories and just have decided to live with being a little hungry at the end of the day. I'd rather be hungry than suicidal and hospitalized again. But everyone's brain works different and what affects one may not affect someone else. Good luck on your journey. Psychotropic meds can be tricky to get right.


We could be twins. Same meds for the same thing. :)
June 9, 2013 12:00 PM
New to this... It has been 4 months since I stopped taking lexapro after being on 10 mg for two years. I vigorously exercise cross fit and running 3-4 days a week, and eat very well. Still I have only lost 2 of the 20 pounds I gained while on lexapro. At times I feel hopeless and depressed. It is like the weight gain has caused me to be more depressed then I was before I took the lexapro. I need to know that there is so e light at the end of this dark tunnel. Does anyone know how long it takes to lose the weight after lexapro??? I read so many different time frames. I am so over this!!!
July 7, 2013 4:02 PM
I was on Lexapro for close to 7 years. I gained about 30 lbs. on it. My doctor said it doesn't cause weight gain, so I attributed the weight gain to getting older, etc. For the past 4 months, I've worked out more than I have in my adult life and have maintained a healthy diet. Grand weight loss? 0.8 lbs. Frustrating. It was at that time that I looked up Lexapro and weight gain. I found a lot of anecdotal evidence that it causes weight gain. One reason that was given behind the "no weight gain" on Lexapro was that the weight gain is slow and most clinical trials are only 8-12 weeks long.

I weaned off Lexapro over 6 weeks time and have been off completely for almost a month. The scale hasn't budged. I'm assuming it will take longer than a month. I have read on other blogs that others have lost 5 lbs. in 2 months and that it could take 6 months to a year to lose the weight.

As for weaning off Lexapro, GO SLOWLY. I cannot stress that enough. I tapered and should've taken a few weeks longer. The first week and a half after I took my last dose was the sickest I've ever been in my life. Spinning vertigo, raging headaches, zapping in the skull, nausea. The only things that helped at all were bananas, milk, and Excederin.

Also know that the tapering off of Lexapro (and other SSRIs, antidepressants) is an inexact science. Doctors are using past experience to guide them as there is no benefit to pharma companies to research how to quit their drug. Work closely with your doctor. Let them know if you want to slow down the taper schedule.

I hope this helps.
July 14, 2013 8:29 PM
I am on Lexapro and losing weight is a struggle. I know part of my problem is emotional eating but after reading so many posts, it tells me that I am going to have to work twice as hard and stick to the plan more days than not! There is hope and weight loss even on lexapro I have to believe!
Edited by buckeyefit On July 14, 2013 8:30 PM
  20516360
July 14, 2013 8:39 PM
I'm hard pressed to think of any medicines which, in and of themselves, cause weight gain or loss.

Stimulants can cause you to be significantly more active without regard to caloric intake.
Depressants can cause you to become more sedentary and/or lose passion for your fitness goals.

Lexapro is an SSRI. I'm on it @ 20mg daily.

It does not impact thermodynamics, in that my activity and consumption still must balance.

Long story short - - don't worry about gaining or losing weight. Manage your symptoms. Continue logging your food and exercise. The point at which you stop caring about your weight is the point at which weight gain will become a problem for you.

But lexapro will definitely NOT make one calorie into two calories, nor will it cause good sweat and hard exertion to be somehow diminished.
July 15, 2013 9:19 AM
I took Lexapro last year for 5 months and it didn't affect my weight; in fact, I lost 10 lbs when I was on it (from watching my diet and exercising, not from the med). It also didn't affect my appetite in any way. But as others have mentioned, everyone is different and there is no guarantee that your experience will be the same.
  65536
July 15, 2013 9:24 AM
i have been on lexapro. i definitely haven't lost weight on it, but i haven't really noticed weight gain. (tho it would explain A LOT).
  3255890
July 15, 2013 9:26 AM
I've been on a bunch of SSRIs, Lexapro being the latest. I never really noticed any appetite change due to any.

I think that it's safe to say that if these do impact your weight, it's through your appetite, which is something you struggle with anyway. So ymmv.

That being said, I do feel great on Lexapro. It's doing so many great things for my mental health that even if I were to feel extra hungry from it (and I don't), it would still be worth it.
  43805512
July 15, 2013 9:28 AM
I took Lexapro for about 2 years. I was 250 pounds when I started it, and I was 250 pounds when I stopped it.
  7967499
August 8, 2013 1:15 PM
I just saw this post and I wondering how it all worked out for you taking the Lexapro at 5mg. I am debating whether to take the pill, but I am concerned about weight gain
Edited by lbilover13 On August 8, 2013 1:15 PM

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