Gained a lot of weight on venlafaxine

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I've been on venlafaxine for 6 months and seem to be steadily gaining more and more weight. Before starting antidepressants, I was one of those people whose weight never fluctuated by more than 5 lbs at most- I'd consistently been the same weight from my mid teens. Started sertraline 2 years ago- no weight gain, but it wasn't effective. Switched to citalopram after a few months, and that was where the weight gain gradually started, although my diet was pretty much the same. However, it was when I changed to venlafaxine that it really started to go up.

In about 1.5 years, I've gained 2 stone. I don't look or feel myself anymore, my clothes don't fit, and whilst the venlafaxine is really helping, this weight gain is getting to me a lot. I did a BMI check this morning and for or the first time ever, I'm now at 25, in the overweight category.

I know I can't completely attribute it to the medication, as I also used to run a lot and haven't kept this up regularly over the past year. However, there were previously periods where I'd stopped running for a month or two and my weight wouldn't change at all. I've mentioned it to my CPN who insists it's not the medication.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Is it the medication, or am I fooling myself?

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  • Posted

    I came off Ven a year ago and have lost two stone since, I'm now back on it but am determined not to gain weight. Unfortunately it's become a bit of an obsession and I barely eat at all. It does make you gain weight which doesn't help with feeling better x

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  • Posted

    Hello,

    I was on Ven for approximately 16 years and the weight gradually crept up, despite healthy eating and at time, quite intense exercise (1 hour + per day).  I gained about 30-35 lbs. over the years.  At the time, I didn't really dwell on it because I was getting older and thought it just was more difficult to lose, the older I got.   But, I decided to taper off the ven a couple of years ago, and have not taken it (or any other prescription drugs) for  the last 15 months.  For me, the weight loss was almost immediate.  Within the first several months I had lost 80% of the weight I'd gained over the years.  I was surprised because I had never connected the original weight gain to the ven, but later, after reading numerous posts I realized that was what had caused it!  To be fair, I have also read some posts where people did not experience that at all.  However, I do believe weight gain is a very common side effect of this drug.  Also fatigue. On weekends I used to feel I needed to take long naps to get enough rest after the work week, which, of course didn't help with exercising!  That is frustrating that your doctor seems to not be familiar with side effects of this drug.  I have found that throughout this journey, and it has been quite alarming to me how little is actually known/shared about these drugs by doctors prescribing them.  Sorry for a long-ish answer to a short question, but all the best to you!

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    • Posted

      Anne1968, I hope they have a solution for you.  I was pretty much okay while taking ven (other than fatigue and weight gain) but as I started tapering off, I had a whole huge host of symptoms that I had to go through, some of which I am still experiencing..  I've seen some posts where people describe being off this drug for a while and going back on and it doesn't seem like it is easy to pick up where they  left off, e.g. there is a stabilization period or their body just doesn't adjust as well the second time around.  I hope your doctor can offer some insight tomorrow! Take care!

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    • Posted

      I was on it for about 20 years but doc had me come off a year ago to swop to Sertraline, what a nightmare! I haven't been right since and really didn't want to go back on. If the tiredness doesn't go I'll be coming off it. I don't think it helps that I'm so angry with my GP for leaving me on it and never suggesting I wean off.

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    • Posted

      I know what you mean.  I actually needed it for maybe the first 2-3 years I was on it due to life situations at the time, but my doctor (who I otherwise consider excellent) never inquired whether I felt I could stop, just kept filling prescriptions for lo those many years.  There never seemed to be a convenient time to stop.  When I become alarmed due to some cognitive decline after taking it for over 15 years, he said "That's a hard one to stop. I don't write new prescriptions for that one any more due to those difficulties."  Well. Thank you very much, that makes me feel great.  I did reduce from 75 to 37.5, stayed on that dose for 7-8 months, and then did about a 8-9 month taper off 37.5.  It was not good, but worst part for me is after 15 months off, cognitive impairment continues and is worsening. Affects every aspect of my life--work--social interactions.  Really discouraging.  I understand from reading other sites that this can be a side affect of long term usage, but I was really hoping that once I stopped it would gradually improve.  Seems we are caught in a Catch 22 here.  Hoping you get some solutions from your doctor...

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    • Posted

      All I hear is 'well you've tolerated it all this time so it's ok' I didn't realise how numb and tired it made me until I stopped it. I'm not even sure if my current depression is me or from coming off it too quick. I've spent the year trying Ven, cymbalta and mirtazapine with no relief from depression, I've also got anxiety and ADHD which I take meds for. The doctors don't realise how bad it is when they give you a new prescription and say see you in a month, it's just like torture x

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    • Posted

      Yes, very difficult to sort it all out.  I feel the same way, wondering what is actually causing what symptom.  Thank goodness, at least, for the internet and boards like these where people all over can share symptoms, comments and support.  I know I would feel even worse if I hadn't had these resources.  Take care.

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    • Posted

      With hindsight I should have reinstated the Ven last year but I don't know then what I do now! A full year of torment with no end in sight x

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  • Posted

    I put on weight but I think it was mainly antipsychotics, not the ven. I was well into the overweight BMI category. I am now on a diet and I am losing the weight fast. I am on 300mg ven. I have 1 stone to lose before I am back into the healthy weight category and I am sure I can get there soon. Not saying ven does not cause weight gain, however I believe it is possible to fight against it.

    BW, BM.

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  • Posted

    After 8.5 years I have gained 6 stones. Not everyone has the weight gain issue but many of us do. My CPN said you will lose weight but it'll be slow, that's nonsense for me, exercising every day, fewer calories and I am still unrecognizable. My weight is now affecting my mood as I was never overweight before, I rarely look in the mirror it's distressing, I look years older than I am, this drug saved me but I hate how it's made me look.

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  • Posted

    Since being on Venlofaxine for night sweats I have gained at least 3 stone. Like you; they say it’s not the drug just me eating too much. I am so angry that no healthcare worker will admit the truth. We know our own bodies, what we eat and how we feel. I Know it’s down to the drug. Not only that but I suffered the most awful withdrawal symptoms when I ran out of tablets. I am now coming off them slowing and will hope that the weight will start to come off. I hate myself looking like I do it’s just not me and never has been. Keep strong and know you are right! 
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    • Posted

      Hello Linda,

      I am please interested to know if you have succeed to lose the weight or not. I stopped effexor 3 weeks ago and i am still not losing anything.

      Thanks a lot

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  • Posted

    1) I have OCD with intrusive thoughts. I gladly take on weight gain and some congnitive decline considering the alternative. The alternative being I get sudden thoughts of violence while trying to rituals in order to keep the world from literally blowing up. I seriously considered checking myself into a hospital because I could barely handle my thoughts. So, if you really do have a mental illness, and I take 300mg of the generic for Effexor daily plus Xanax when I am having a full on brain tilt-n-whirl, then weight gain and becoming a ditz is worth it so as not to feel like you are well and truly insane.

    2) I read the comments and I don't think you guys realize how bad off you are. You are all complaining about your doctors when it sounded like the Effexor was helping. So what you gained a lot of weight? If your bloodwork checks out okay, then but new clothes and move on with your life. 

    3) I am 100% Effexor and generics of such cause weight gain. I have known people on strong doses of anti-depressants turn into carbohydrate vaccuum cleaners. There are no miracle drugs. When you have a mental illness, you have to take the good with the bad. I am not saying to just let yourself go. But if you're tired, then sleep when you can. If you're hungry, then eat. Try to eat healthy if you can, but don't stress if you can't. If you find yourself over-eating, talk to your doctor. If may not even be anything more sinister than you are simply feeling better and food appeals to you again. If that is not the case, your doctor will work with you. Maybe you need different vitamins or minerals, ones you never thought of or at a stronger strength than what is available over the counter. I had to get B12 shots for a long time to fight fatigue. A blood test will show if you are lacking in anything.

    The long and short of this is simple. Is it causing weight gain? Probably. Should you tell your doctor? Absolutely. Should you stress having to get new clothes for your expanding waistline? Not in a million years. 

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  • Posted

    I too am trying to find more information, but on weight loss instead of gain. I was at my Doc's this morning and we were talking about my weight loss during 2 years from 67kg to now 48kg. I am not ill with anything sinister, so the only answer my Doctor and I came up with was that the weight loss has been caused by the Venlafaxine. Two years ago I was very very ill with depression I probably should have been hospitalized but I have 4 pets, 2 little dogs and 2 cats who are my children , I don't know anyone that would be able to look after my little dogs as they are tiny in size and only weigh a few pounds each and are always looking for ways to sneak out of the house. They are always with me and the toy poodle starts crying as soon as I leave the house to go somewhere. I was unable to have human children!

    I had gone through a lot of difficult situations and mentally I was totally exhausted since returning from the USA. I was taking more than the highest dose, I was taking 6 Venlafaxine per day, and at first I didn't tell Doc that I was taking an extra tablet. My prescribed dose was 5 tablets per day but of course I had to tell him after about a week. He was not very happy but it was too late I;d already taken the tablets, so from thereon I had to check in with Dr every day and I started to feel better quite quickly. Since then we have decreased the dose to 4 a day.

    It was only last week that I weighed myself and saw that I was only 48kg. Strangely I've been able to eat almost everything without having to worry about gaining weight As far as I'm concerned Venlafaxine has saved my life and I don't intend to stop taking it Has anyone else had such a big weight loss over the same period of a couple of years???

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