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Health & Support
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Anyone else on anti-depressants or other weight-gaining drugs?

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I am in serious need of a support group, and I assume I'm not the only one having this problem.  I have been counting calories, seeing a nutritionis t who says I eat ver y well, and exercising five days a week (30 minutes on the elliptical, then strength training) since November and I have not lost any weight at all (in fact I've gained one pound).  I refused to believe at first that this was because of the ONE medicine I'm on that supposedly causes weight gain (Risperdal--though my doctor recently told me it's "famous for weight gain"), but here it is, mid-April, five and a half months later, and since I have lost no pounds and&n bsp;no pants sizes, I guess I have to admit that it's the drugs (I have no idea what else it would be, neither does my nutritionist).  I keep working out and eating right because I hope that when I stop this drug completely (I have recently cut down the dosage) the weight will fly off me, but it's really hard to stay motivated when you see absolutely no results and you feel like there's nothing you can do about it.  Anyone else in this boat?
Edited Apr 13 2007 18:36 by united2gether
Reason: moved to new Health & Support forum :)
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I am not personally on them but my daughter takes anti-depressants and yes weight gain is a very real issue.  Her psychiatrist  keeps a scale in her office and she must weigh in at every visit.  With that said, she was diagnosed with ADD last year and put on meds for that.  ADD meds have a tendacy for weight loss. So the two now really counteract each other and she hasn't had a problem with weight gain since.  But I understand your dilema. The last thing our child, who was very depressed, needed was to gain weight. It was a very trying time for all of us.  There were mornings where I had to literally force the pills down her throat because she didn't want to gain anymore weight.  Please don't stop your meds. Talk to your doctor.  There are meds that do not have that side effect.  Unfortunately for our daughter she is allergic to many, many med and that really limited what she could take.  I hope you have better luck. 
I'm not taking the same anti-depressant...I'm on 50mg of Zoloft and managing to lose weight, although I am also on Phentermine as well (prescribed by my Dr.). Now I know that comment doesn't help, but have you talked to your Dr. about alternative meds? I don't know your situation so this may not be doable...I know it's sometimes hard to find one that works for you. Are you taking in plenty of water? which I should take my own advise on that one :) Just some off the top of my head suggestions.

Edited Apr 13 2007 18:35 by united2gether
Reason: deleted part of text; please no promotional posts.
I'm not on any psychoactive drugs any more, but this subject is near to my heart and absolutely infuriates me.  I was on a Seroquel/Effexor combo some time ago and it put almost 30 lb on me despite my best efforts.

It's not good for anyone's state of mind to be fat, and it's not good for anyone's state of mind to be exercising and eating healthy and be packing on the pounds either.  It's an enforced failure and that was the last thing I needed at that time.

I know everyone's body chemistry is different (my mom benefits hugely from antidepressants) and I am not advocating that everyone should stop taking them, but this medicine made it much harder for me to recover from my problems.  I hate it.  The first step to my real recovery was making the decision to throw it all out.
I started birth control Sun. Some say it makes you gain, some say No it doesn't. I must say I have maintained my drop in weight this week. Which is great cause I heard if you do gain weight it will only be during the first week while your body adjusts.

But in the past I took a lot of muscle relaxers (3 a day) and I gained a lot of weight. Plus a lot of other pain releivers and narcotics. I think they might have had something to do with it but I probably gained because I was injured and couldn't be active at all. Plus I didn't eat healthy at the same time. But I do think taking so many muscle relaxers over a long period of time like I did can slow down your metabolism. But then again i'm not a doc. And now that I don't take any of that any more I know it didn't ruin my matabolism forever. Cause i'm doing good with the weight loss!
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PLEASE, if you are on anti-depressents do not follow Elly's example and toss them out. Go to your doctor.  It is extremely dangerous to stop taking these meds all at once. You need to cut back slowly under a doctors supervision.   Also, the meds stay in your system for up to 30 days so you won't get immediate weight loss anyway. 

P.S..  Elly - effexor almost killed our daughter.  She was on for about 40 days when I got the most horrendous feeling in my pit of my stomach. I ran upstairs to find her out standing on the ledge outside our second story bathroom ready to jump.   That  is when we found a psychiatrist that is also a psychopharmacologist.  She has been a godsend.  The new meds work. 
Oh my gosh!  Can't believe I just saw this post.  I am sitting here at my desk so damn mad about gaining approx. 7 lbs in the last 1 1/2 years.  I was nice and thin.  Ate well and excercised all the time.   Very active, no changes, EXCEPT starting Prozac for depression, anger issues and very bad night time panic attacks.  Almost immediately my appetite seemed to greatly increase; especially for sweets and carbs.  I was ravenous!  My psych then put me on Wellbutrin in addition to help the cravings.  A little effective, but not much.  Slowly I have gained weight NO MATTER what.  I have increased exercise, cut calories, vigorously watched food intake.  It's like I have lost my identity. I was always very thin with a nice flat tummy.  I now look like I did when I was about 5 months pregnant.  I was nice and thin even years after my 3rd child.  I recently felt like I couldn't take it anymore.  I am feeling  panicky about the weight; mostly in my stomach.  I don't even feel nor resemble the old me.  So, I was desperate and tried to stop the prozac first (slowly) with the plan of stopping Wellbutrin in the future.  Well, in only a few short weeks I was sooooooooo irritable with my kids, my husband, felt like I was going to jump out of my skin........then I remember why I went on it in the first place.  I resumed the prozac.  I am almost crying writing this because I can't stand what the meds have done to me but I need them to function.  ANYONE with any suggestions/help please respond.  I know there are a lot of others out there in the same situation.  I work in a doctor's office and many of our patients are on antidepressants and gain weight and the doctor's are not sympathetic nor do they have any answers.
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Then find a doctor who is sympathic and does have the answers. That is what  we did.   It was not  easy by any means.  I have to make a  90 minute drive (each way) every month (was twice a week) to get that doctor but my daughters health (body & mind) is worth it.
I must re-stress that I do not advocate other people doing as I did without medical supervision, but I think it is very important to think long and hard and talk extensively with your doctor about taking psychoactive drugs.  All too often they are the first line of defense against depression when they should be the last line, because they are actively harmful to some people.  As a side note, my doctor was aware of what I was doing at all times with my medications and I was pretty carefully monitored.

They did nothing to help and everything to harm me.  Prozac keeps my mom functional.  These drugs have very different effects in different people.

All I was really saying is that if you are having problems with weight gain from antidepressants, I really think it best if you think very seriously about whether you are really one of the people who benefits from them, because there are people who don't.
Thanks for the responses!  I knew I couldn't be the only one.  In terms of switching medicines, I have already done plenty of that.  I used to be on two SSRIs, which cause weight gain, and I switched off those to Wellbutrin (which actually has a side effect of weight loss--not for me apparently) and Lamictal (which is weight neutral).  So it's just the Risperdal (for OCD) that I'm on now, but coming off, of course under my doctor's supervision.  I would never stop taking an effective drug just because it made me gain weight, though I want to all the time.  Myfooddiary, I totally feel your pain, I wish I had some advice but I'm in the same situation.  I'll cry with you though!
I took welbutrin when I quit smoking not sure if it was the rx or the quit that made me gain weight.  Then I started taking Remeron for insomnia works great but its an antidepressant and gained more weight.  Now I am on Lexapro the remeron on occasion and xanax for anxiety and depression and gained about 10 lbs since Christmas.  I have tried to cut down the Lexapro to 1/2 a tablet a day but within 48 hours I get the panic feelings again  The remeron makes me eat like a pig Luckily I exercise alot otherwise I would probably be obese again - now I am just "slightly overweight"
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So what can be done other than, if possible, changing drugs? How about some options that work?
Dear smallis - I just started the  I have been on anti-depressants for I guess 6 years. The depression started for no apparent reason - hense the true depression diagnosis.  I was on zoloft and I think wellbutrin in the beginning It made an amazing difference in my well being I was basically laying on the couch all day just getting up enough to feed my kids and maybe eating a little my self.  After about 2 years my doctor gave me permission to try to go off my meds slowly.  IT WAS A NIGHTMARE - The biggest problem besides my original bedridden life style returning was the original medicines did not work when I got back on them.  So it took me several months to give 2 other medicines a try to find one that worked.  For me the doctor wanted me to try a medicine for at least 2 weeks maybe 3 to see if the meds would work.  So it was a long process.  I have experienced weight gain some of it is my unhealthy eating habits.  I am also on THyroid medicine - this is a very common problem in women have you had that checked.  Good luck.
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Anybody taking Celexa? My daughter is on it and she's gained some weight. We thought it was the depression that contributed to it but now I'm reading this and it's made me wonder.
I take Lexapro for depression since January.  I started it at the same time I joined the gym and started making some lifestyle changes.  I have lost 23 pounds since January 1, and and still losing.  When I started on the antidepressant, the weight gain side effect was one thing I discussed with my doctor.  I've been very pleased with how things have been going since I started the Lexapro.  Other than feeling extremely tired for the first 2 months, I have had very few problems with it.

And for dbackerfan, I am a nurse in a long term care facility.  We actually use Remeron in some of our patients who have weight loss problems to hopefully make them gain some weight.  We use it as an appetite stimulant. 
I was on paxil and lexapro at different time. I must say that I gained a ton of weight in a short amount of time while I wa son paxil.  I was getting more depressed because of the weight gain so I told my doctor I wanted off of the pills. She weaned me off, and put me on lexapro. It felt like it wasn't doing anything for me, and I still was gaining, so I told her I wanted off of them completely. 

I went from 115-120lbs before the anti depressents to 155-160 during the pills. It all happened in about a year and a half maybe (I was swimming 3 hours a day, and was a vegitarian at the time). My medical doctor thought I had a thyroid issue at the time becasue the weight gain was so rapid, but the test came back negative, I'm positive it was the meds. Now after stoping them, I am a bit happier with myself, and I have lost 10lbs and have kept them off so far. but I still have a way to go.

Talk to your doctor, they should be more helpful than mine was.
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I'm on lexapro, but now I'm getting my dosage increased. They've worked for a year, but now they just don't work like they're supposed to. If the dosage increase doesn't work, then I'll probally switch drugs.

Currently, Wellbutrin is the only antidepressent that doesn't contribute to weight gain, and helps you loose weight. My friend lost weight on it. The only problem is it makes anxiety worse, so I just can't take it.
I was put on seroquel, effexor, and stratera by my pshychiatrist. I put on 20 pounds from the seroquel so I know how you feel. Just recently I was taken off al the meds and was put on abilify, adderall, bennzotropine, and wellbutrin xl which has helped me lose some of the weight and i'm working on the rest the weight I put on./
that exact stuff - my mom took that.

she gained......

a pound a day almost


i didnt believe her until she said remember...

she was only on it for about two weeks.
she had thyroid issues in her past and personally i think that med did something in combo with that.

paxil - its what made me fat. i was only on it for about a month and i just got that feeling that it wasnt right for my body. (that girl gut feeling) so i too threw it out. (you are suppose to wean off but i was on such a low dose i just chanced it)

i couldnt lose any weight after that at all until i detoxed.
i also had those massive headaches that people complain about post paxil until i detoxed.

i dont know what that was about.
but it was wierd and i am glad its over

and i dont think those types of meds are designed for everyone.

i find my body better responds to natural treatments and nutritional therapy (like b vitamins and fish oil)

I just started Abilify today, but what I've read about it has positive things to say about weight loss.  The only thing that scares me with these drugs are side effects.  I'd hate to be one of the "rare" people for whom these drugs cause a permanent motor dysfunction or the like.

Good news: my appetite has been NON EXISTANT today.

Also, Abilify has made me incredibly tired.  I slept all day long.  I am going from only needing 5-6 hours of sleep a day, to sleeping ALL DAY LONG.  Sorry for the brief switch of topic, but if you're on Abilify, do you have an idea of how long it takes for the tiredness to wear off?

p.s. I have learned a lot about bipolar depression, and I have to say, if you are considering going off of your medication for bipolar I (or have already), I would consider going back on it.  The problem with bipolar I is that you have "good periods" and even years-long periods of time where it seems like you're fine.  You can spend that whole time thinking, "Yes!  I'm handling this on my own!"  But it comes back.  Maybe not today, tomorrow, or next year, but if it's bipolar I you're dealing with, it comes back.

And apparently most people who are bipolar have a difficult time admitting to themselves that it is a problem.  This site has some seriously eye-opening statistics on it.

Not to mention, in a more anecdotal sense, I went with natural/nutritional methods and ditched the chemicals.  I was good for two years - had a great job making $55K/year, great apartment, gave my daughter what she wanted, was chasing and fulfilling a dream of getting involved in the music industry, had a brilliant romantic and social life - and then for no apparent reason, I went into a depressive phase - despite eating right, exercise, and the whole lot, two years later, and I lost it all.

It is important to remember that these types of depression can go away for a while, and bipolar depression in particular can not only go away, but if you're in a manic period (highly productive, active, happy, high - it can last for months at a time), you can have this overly inflated sense of self-power - the sensation that you overcame it, and you don't need help.

But it comes back.  Please don't think it won't; your life really isn't worth that risk.
This is something i have struggled with for years. In 1997 I was admitted to a psych unit. At the time, I weighed 99 lbs (I'm 5'6). I lost a lot I think due to depression. My psych put me on a combo of meds. My appetite increased, I began binging.. I gained 184 lbs in one year. I was very concerned but he said I needed to gain weight and was more concerned w/my mental health. Finally, he changed the meds. As soon as I was off them I lost 30 lbs in one month but the rest didn't come off. I 've always been on some type of med. He's tried many different ones over the years. I've always had trouble w/weight gain. I've been on the same anti-depressant now for several years and I'm pretty stable. I able take a small does of Risperdal. Last year I was on an anti-psychotic and gained another 90 lbs before my doc took me off it. He has told me that it is virtually impossible to lose weight on the meds I'm taking. I'm not sure I believe that. I had to stop seeing him due to insurance changes. The doc I see now is not concerned at all with my weight issues. I've talked with a weight loss specialist recently. I'm started a medically supervised program this Friday. I told her about my medicine concerns. She says it's not the meds that make me gain weight. They just increase my appetite and I need to learn to calm those cravings. She didn't go in to a lot of detail at our initial visit but felt I could lose weight. I'm hoping she is right. I'll keep you guys posted to see if it helps. She said also the meds could be causing water retention when I told her how quickly I have put on weight in the past. I'm in a situation where I can't go off my meds. I do need them to function. That has been proved many times over a long period of time. Since I've been eating healthier, I started March 7th,2007. My cravings have greatly decreased. I've gotten a lot of junk out of my body.I still have bad times but it is a whole lot better. I'm anxious to see what kind of help this new program can help me. I've lost an average of about 9 lbs since joining cc 3-14-07. My weight has been up and down, but with a declining trend. Weight gain to me is a very sensitive thing to deal with. My docs don't seem to be able to help in any way. Or don't know how to. I don't think they really understand why the meds make us gain weight, at least no one has been able to explain it to me. My new psych said it's just a side effect of the med I am going to have to 'deal' with. I refuse to do that. I will continue to do my best to take care of myself. I may not be able to lose a lot of weight but hopefully enough to help some of the health problems I have due to my obesity. Good luck to all of you who are suffering.  Vicki
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