ssris underweight
June 6, 2010 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Any experiences of weight loss on SSRIs?

I've been on SSRIs for a few months now, switching between several to find the right one but have decided to stop as I'm uncomfortable with the side effects and other things. I spent most of that time on Citalopram, went on Fluoxetine and Sertraline for a short time.

I've been tested for various other possible causes like a bad thyroid, but they all came back fine. My doctor said it's unlikely the SSRIs causing my weight loss so I'm at a loss and would like to know if others have experienced weight loss like this. Currently considered "underweight", I was a "healthy weight".
posted by randomizer to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Wellbutrin can cause weight loss. I lost about 10 pounds in the first month of taking Cymbalta (an SNRI) and 10 more pounds the year after that. But I was overweight when I started it, and the 20 pound loss put me at a normal weight.

What are the other side effects you're experiencing? Sleepiness, fidgeting, higher anxiety, nausea? Those would have the secondary side effect of weight loss. Are you taking any other medications?
posted by punchtothehead at 7:47 AM on June 6, 2010

I completely lose my appetite on Cymbalta (which isn't quite a SSRI). As in, I need to remind myself to eat when I'm on it.
posted by Neekee at 7:48 AM on June 6, 2010

Loss of appetite is a well-documented, common side effect of SSRIs.
posted by theora55 at 7:52 AM on June 6, 2010

Weight changes are very common with many head-meds. Please be aware, however, that every person is different and what causes weight loss in some people may cause weight gain in others. For example, I gained over 30 lbs when I started using Wellbutrin, which is apparently a known side effect for a small percentage of the population and I happen to be one of those lucky few. But then, I'd rather be sane and fat.... than miserable and thin. YMMV.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 8:00 AM on June 6, 2010

Response by poster: I'll mention the Citalopram side-effects as I spent the longest time on that - sleepiness, burning skin, fatigue, confusion, no sex drive, shaking/anxiety. I've become very concerned about the effect these drugs are having on me, to the the point I feel all they're giving me are a placebo in the form of a pill and side-effects.

I don't seem to be eating less or much less anyway, friends have commented on me eating A LOT and my weight loss, so I'm finding all this very strange. So I'm not convinced it's simply my appetite even though SSRIs can reduce appetite.
posted by randomizer at 8:07 AM on June 6, 2010

My appetite decreased to the point that my hunger drive shut off. If I remembered that I hadn't eaten in a while or my husband reminded me then I would eat something. I gained 15 lbs. after I quit the Effexor XR. I went from Very Underweight to Normal Weight in a matter of about six weeks.
posted by TooFewShoes at 8:31 AM on June 6, 2010

I gained weight on Paxil, and I'm not the only one. Has your doctor discussed it with you?
posted by Countess Elena at 8:32 AM on June 6, 2010

I lost weight on zoloft but it's because I lost the desire to overeat. If you truly feel you were eating the same as before I'd continue to look for a cause.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:38 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

How long have you been on each medication? When I've started a new med (Cymbalta and then Wellbutrin in my case), I'd experience the side effects, including weight loss, for about a month or two, and then they'd disappear. It could be you're going on and off things too rapidly for you to adjust, and getting all the initial side effects with none of the benefits.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:29 AM on June 6, 2010

I gained a lot of weight on Zoloft (setraline.)
posted by callmejay at 9:30 AM on June 6, 2010

My sister experienced weight loss from GENERIC Wellbutrin (she had been on the name brand for a while with no problem, when she switched to generic, she lost about 15 pounds, which made her underweight and caused her shitty psychiatrist to accuse her repeatedly of being anorexic and not believe her that she wasn't. New psychiatrist now!). Switching back to the name-brand fixed the problem.
posted by brainmouse at 11:21 AM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not sure why you're on the SSRIs to start with, but perhaps your doctor could refer you to a gastroenterologist to rule out a digestive disorder? Have you been tested for diabetes (hemoglobin A1c, fasting glucose, the like)? Diabetes sometimes manifests with abrupt weight loss.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:17 PM on June 6, 2010

Response by poster: being treated for depression

been tested for diabetes. thanks for answers
posted by randomizer at 2:13 PM on June 6, 2010

Lost 40 lbs. thanks to being on Effexor for a year.
posted by griphus at 2:23 PM on June 6, 2010

I googled "fluoxetine side effects." This was the first result. It lists "loss of appetite" as a common side effect and "significant weight loss" under the category of "Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur when using Fluoxetine"

Your doctor is wrong.
posted by dogrose at 4:10 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I understand your decision to stop taking SSRIs since you have tried 3 and had severe bad side effects. You may already know this, but stopping SSRIs doesn't need to mean stopping depression meds - there are a lot more out there, such as atypical antidepressants. Your psychiatrist will know more about the possible meds.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:45 PM on June 6, 2010

I lost 15 pounds in under 2 months on Citalopram. I wondered WTF?! because I was warned that it might make me GAIN weight. Then after some introspection I realized that I had unconsciously stopped a lot of emotional eating/drinking -- before the antidepressants, I'd been self-medicating with candy bars and beer, and I no longer felt the urge to do that.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:05 AM on June 7, 2010

Response by poster: not convinced it's due to lack of appetite, as mentioned friends have commented on the high amount i've been eating. but it maybe appetite none the less.

plan on going back to doctor, just really want the ssris out my system before going on anything else.

weight is stuck at 9 stone, and i'm about 6'1 or 6'2(ish).
posted by randomizer at 2:55 PM on June 8, 2010

Response by poster: i should have mentioned, one of the main reasons i stopped the citalopram, is that i sometimes self-harm(cut), and i was cutting myself none stop on citalopram, my arms and thighs looked like someone had run a cheese grater over them. it seemed to coincide with the confusion.
posted by randomizer at 3:00 PM on June 8, 2010

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