Mirtazapine - can you lose weight?

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For those of you struggling with your weight loss whilst taking this drug, I thought I’d tell you about my experience and conclusions.

I started on mirtazapine around 4 years ago for major depression and nausea/lack of appetite, and it worked really well for me, banishing my depression within days, and reviving my appetite and enjoyment of food. It also virtually cured my migraines, stopped my itching and IBS, and helped me sleep and cut my temazepam right back to around once a fortnight.

I quickly gained weight which I put down entirely to my increased appetite. I thought all those stories you here about not being able to lose weight despite cutting calories were just people underestimating how much they consumed. I was wrong.

After 6 months on the drug I had gained 26lb and none of my clothes fitted me. Despite cutting my food intake down, I kept gaining weight. In desperation, I came off mirtazapine cold turkey and suffered the most awful withdrawals. After ten days of hell, I was forced to go back on it. But I had dropped 7 lbs. I managed to keep my weight stable at 152-154lbs for two years. I couldn’t eat what I used to eat, but at least I was no longer gaining weight. Then in January this year, I saw a picture of myself in a bikini and hated the way I looked. I decided to seriously slim.

January 2015 I weighed 152lbs and cut my calories to between 1500 and 1800 a day. The weight fell off and I got down to 143lbs by March. I thought once again that mirtazapine was not affecting me being able to slim. I was wrong.

April 2015 I stalled, despite keeping to my diet. So I added a daily cardio work out. I actually GAINED weight!

July 2015 I still weighed in at around 143lbs as I had lost the weight I gained in April but after 7 months was no further on than I was back in March. I was forced to recalculate my maintenance level of calories from 2000 down to 1800. I have an active job and being 5 ft 10, I should need more calories than this to maintain my weight. I realised then that mirtazapine was interfering with either my metabolic rate, or my ability to burn fat or both. I still couldn’t lose any weight.

August 2015 I cut out alcohol which meant that I had effectively cut my calories still further and I have lost a further 2lbs. I now weigh 141 lbs.

Conclusion:

Mirtazapine affected my weight by increasing my appetite AND by some other means, probably slowing my metabolism and interfering with my fat burning process. You CAN lose weight on mirtazapine, but it is much harder than if you are not on it. Is it worth it? Well yes, for me it is. It has turned my life around for the better. I love it, and I hate it. I love it for helping me fight my depression, sleep well, be free of migraines and IBS, and not have to take antihistamines daily for my itching. I hate it for forcing me to stay on a rigid diet with very few indulgences, and for being such a difficult drug to kick.

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12 Replies

  • Posted

    Thanks for the info for people suffer. I'm one of the lucky ones who has actually lost weight almost 2 stone on this. I have been going the gym but I don't get the hunger off it a sign in think this isn't working for me proper wd is very hard I tried it aswell and failed. I'm very interested in what you said about the ibs though. I have ibs and ibd and in fact I think matazapine has made it 10 times worse so I'm rather jealous lol I didn't see an improvement like yourself. But living with this I say if it working for you it's worth the strict diet to be free. X
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    • Posted

      That is really interesting. I'm sorry it hasn't worked very well for you. You may be right that the fact you have lost weight and had IBS, and you haven't experienced the extra appetite on mirtazapine, may well mean that it isn't working as it should for you. I hope you are able to get free of it. I don't mind so much being stuck on it if it is helping me, but would hate it if it wasn't. I think that mirtazapine works extremely quickly if it is going to work. I always tell people to get off it quickly if it isn't working for them within a couple of weeks or so, because it is such an awful drug to come off.
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    • Posted

      I've been on it since Feb had a bit of a bad time with ads sides effects ect. But matazapine seems to be OK for me. I'm on 30mg I can't go up as it sends me manic it has worked improving my mood but a lot of that has been work on my behalf aswell but does nothing for the aniexty. Currently I'm in theraphy but after that I am going to wd and swap ads. I've cold turkey an ssri at highest dose before medical life or death reasons not through choice that was he'll but it was over within a week so not too bad. But matazapine even though wd is mild Compared to that believe me it just lasts so long you give in. BTW wd from ssri I was having fits most the day. So I can't afford to be I'll for that long and miss my theraphy I waited 6 months for it and single mum to 3 kids x
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  • Posted

    Very well stated. For some reason this medication causes weight gain for most. Myself included. For me that was a good thing as I'm quite slim, as well as the effect it has for making a person sleep better. I'm now free of the medicationas as of one year, but coming off of it is quite difficult. Sounds like you are doing well and good to hear that you're able to lose weight despite what the drug is known to be causing as a side effect.
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    • Posted

      Thanks, Ryan. I am pleased that you managed to get off it successfully. I am dreading trying to.
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  • Posted

    Absolute graft and dedication to lose weight

    Perhaps there is a little bit of hope here. I have been on mirtazapine for many years (mainly 30 mg). Weight gain was a problem as I was always slim. Although not massively overweight (BMI 28) no matter what I did I had a potbelly (which I hated), which was leading to pre-cursor to Type II diabetes (results indicated impaired glucose tolerance).  Also had high cholesterol and triglycerides. Not great. At 50 (male) with an office job, lifestyle changes were needed.

    For the first time ever I counted calories and stuck to 1900 goal via a well-known app. Weight loss was stubborn and painfully slow with demoralising fluctuations.   I blamed the mirtazapine so I cut from 30 to 15 mg. I was not overeating and had had no increase in appetite as reported here; I strongly agree there is something in this little tablet that affects metabolism/storage of fat.

    Cutting to 15 mg and becoming more strict and honest with calorie counting weight loss started, albeit too slow for me!

    I felt I needed to do more than just diet so I bought a bicycle. After three months my average distance is now 15 miles a day of moderate cycling. Indeed, this greatly helped with my depression and I have found a new hobby.

    With the very strict calorie counting, extensive cycling and reduction to 15 mg I have lost in past five months 15.5 kg (or 34 lbs to our American friends). I can honestly say this has been absolute graft and understand not everyone can do or is able to do such high levels of cardio. BMI is now 23.8, cholesterol and other tests due in Oct (or the Fall!).

    I have no intention of stopping mirtazapine as I cannot sleep and was losing time off work due to severe insomnia when trying to stop them. Hopefully, with the ongoing diet maintenance and cycling it is under control. I sleep and manage ok on the 15 mg.

    Top tips:

    •Weigh yourself at a set time once a week ONLY and look at long term trend.

    •Get a fitness tracker or pedometer

    •Don’t cheat and underestimate calories

    Good luck everyone

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    • Posted

      Excellent post, Philip. You really have done very well. I agree that it is all too easy to underestimate your calories, but in the end you are only cheating yourself. It is a long hard slog, but it's worth it. It means changing your eating habits for ever, and that may be too hard for some. But for me, I'm actually starting to like it. I am now used to feeling hungry for much of the day, and it isn't so bad. As Kate Moss says 'nothing tastes as good as skinny feels'.
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  • Posted

    I hear you.

    I was a painful 84lbs prior to Mirtazapine. I went on this drug due to anxiety caused by a very traumatic time in my life and I guess I had mild depression, I was far from happy with being stuck at home anxious. 

    Mirtazapine helped me feel calmer and happier but with it I gained weight. Much needed weight of course and I went up to 128lbs. Now at 5ft tall that was alot for me. I am now at about 116lbs I have managed to lose some weight but like you I have hit a stumbling block and cannot lose anymore weight. I have to watch everything I eat and I cannot have many treats. If I do I gain alot of weight. 

    I lost weight by excessive exercise and a low carb diet to boost my metabolism. It helped and it did work but now it has hit a stop and i  cannot lose anymore weight. I can't workout due to some other health issues at the moment and I am gaining again. It sucks. I would come off this drug if I wasn't so scared of withdrawal.

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    • Posted

      You have done really well! It really is a tough drug. You makemore and more cuts to your intake, each time you lose a bit and then you stall again. It is as though the drug tries to sabatage any attempts to lose weight that you make. I would love to come off it because of this, but it is easy to forget what a mess I was mentally and physically before mirtazapine. The only withdrawal I am afraid of is the insomnia. If I sleep well, I can cope with most things.
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    • Posted

      Hi Evergreen

      I've often wondered, if cutting right down to minimal calories has the effect of making the mirt stronger ? Just starting my we'd now ! Here we go, it's been a year & ive put on about 20 lbs ggrrrrrr

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