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Effexor and Weight Gain: Causes & Individual Variation

Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a common antidepressant medication that is classified as an SNRI. It functions by preventing reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. It differs from standard SSRI medications in that it also targets norepinephrine, which often elicits a stimulatory effect on the user. Some believe that increasing norepinephrine in addition to serotonin makes it less likely that a user will experience weight gain as a side effect.

Effexor and Weight Gain

A majority of individuals prescribed Effexor aren’t really concerned with whether they will gain weight while taking it. They are generally just hoping that it will improve their symptoms of depression. Effexor is considered the first SNRI ever approved (1993) for the treatment of major depression, and there are a significant number of success stories from those that have benefitted from this drug.

Doctors generally consider Effexor to be a “weight neutral” antidepressant in that it is less likely to cause weight gain than other antidepressants, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to gain weight while taking it. There are still plenty of individuals that notice they pack on some pounds after they’ve been taking Effexor.

How Effexor Causes Weight Gain: Possibilities

While Effexor is regarded as being mostly “weight neutral,” it doesn’t mean that nobody will gain weight while taking it. Some people still gain weight and there are a variety of possible reasons that could account for the increase in weight.

  • Appetite changes: Some individuals who are depressed don’t eat enough. When they get proper treatment for their depression, their appetite comes back and they start eating again. For people who weren’t eating enough as a result of their depression, packing on some weight is inevitable when the appetite returns. Among others, an increase in appetite may be obvious. They may feel significantly more hungry than usual after they’ve taken the Effexor.
  • Carbohydrate cravings: Neurotransmitter changes are often responsible for regulating “cravings.” There are studies that demonstrate close ties between the serotonin system and the propensity to crave carbohydrates. If you’ve been taking this drug and you all of a sudden feel like a pasta addict or are constantly buying candies to eat, it’s probably partly influenced by the drug.
  • Drug interactions: It is possible that Effexor is interacting with another medication that you’re taking to promote weight gain. When people are taking multiple drugs, they often believe that one specific drug is to blame – and in many cases they’re correct. However, it could also be that synergistically, the drugs interact to produce the effect of weight gain.
  • Fat storage: The storage of extra fat in your body is less likely when taking Effexor due to the fact that norepinephrine increases should (in theory) speed up your metabolism. However, Effexor acts on serotonin to 30 times the extent than it does on norepinephrine. Some would consider its effects on norepinephrine negligible. If your body starts storing more fat, it’s likely stemming from the serotonergic effects.
  • Hormonal alterations: Taking antidepressants can alter hormone levels, especially when taken over the long term. Really the only way to track this would be to get hormone levels checked prior to taking a drug, and then checked again after months of treatment. Some individuals notice that certain hormone levels shift and this may account for changes in weight.
  • Metabolic changes: Despite the fact that this drug acts on norepinephrine, it doesn’t mean that all metabolic effects will be positive. Some theorize that the norepinephrine increase will offset any metabolic changes resulting from serotonin increase. That said, serotonin is targeted to a significantly greater extent by this medication, which could result in a slowed metabolism.
  • Motivational changes: Some people notice that their motivation changes as they take Effexor. For some people the motivation may be a marked improvement, but for others, motivation may plummet. Not everyone experiences increased energy from this medication and is able to stay weight neutral. A drop in motivation makes it less likely that you’ll go to the gym or engage in activities that require physical movement.
  • Side effects: Not everyone will be free of side effects while taking Effexor. Despite the fact that this drug is touted as being activating, some people may actually become drowsy, tired, or lethargic while taking it. This often leads people to sleep more and get less exercise which inevitably slows the metabolism.
  • Social eating: Those who take this drug and start to become less depressed or anxious often become social again. This results in them being more likely to go out with friends to get food. Whether it’s dining at restaurants, going out for lunch, etc. – frequently eating out with friends is a quick ticket to weight gain.
  • Taste improvement: If you were depressed and are no longer, often times food tastes better. It becomes pleasurable to eat foods and go out to eat. The improvement in taste is a subjective statement, but often times altering neurochemistry can result in a perceived taste improvement. This leads some people to seek out more food because they are deriving pleasure from the taste.

Note: It may be difficult to determine which of these theories is accurate based on your individual scenario. It may be that none are accurate, or it may be that a specific combination of these factors are to blame. For example, someone may experience lethargy from the medication, crave carbohydrates, and store more fat than they would being off the drug.

Factors that influence weight gain on Effexor

There are a variety of factors that may influence the amount of weight you gain from Effexor. This includes things like your dosage, individual habits, the duration for which you’ve taken the drug, and whether you are currently taking any other medications.

1. Dosage

What dosage are you currently taking of Effexor? Those that are taking higher doses often end up gaining more weight than those at lower doses. The primary reason for this weight gain at a higher dose is that the drug has more influence over your natural functioning. Those taking a lower dose may not experience much of any weight fluctuation simply because their body’s natural functioning hasn’t become as disrupted.

Anytime you “double the dose,” you are essentially doubling your risk for weight gain. This is all too common with people that increase their dosage and then wonder why they start to pack on the weight. At this point the drug has significant influence over the individual’s brain and physiological functioning.

2. Individual factors

Although a medication-induced effects may be to blame for weight gain, it is nearly impossible to rule out individual habits and lifestyle factors. Many people don’t realize that things like: stress level, hormones, dietary intake, exercise, genetics, and physiology can determine whether someone gains weight. It is important to consider that your stress level may have increased and/or your dietary intake may have changed since starting to take Effexor. Always look at your individual habits and lifestyle factors that could account for weight gain.

3. Time span

Over what duration have you taken Effexor? People that have taken it for a longer duration are more likely to gain weight than those who only have taken it for a short term. Taking it over the long term (e.g. years) often results in tolerance, which makes the brain reliant on the drug for functioning. Unfortunately when tolerance is established, the dosing is generally increased, which simultaneously increases the likelihood of weight gain.

When a person takes Effexor for years, it may alter hormone levels and elicit unknown physiological changes. All of the changes that the drug makes may account for an increase in weight. There are often cases of people who take a drug for awhile, don’t notice any weight gain, but after a couple years they’ve packed on more weight than expected.

4. Other medications

If you are taking multiple drugs, it is important to always consider that the other drugs may be to blame for the weight gain. It is also important to consider that Effexor and the other drug may both be contributing to your weight gain. In some cases the other drug(s) and Effexor will interact to actually amplify the amount of weight that you gain; it depends on the other drug you are taking. Be sure to always consider the possibility that other medications are responsible for your increase in bodyweight.

Why Effexor is regarded as being “weight neutral”

In comparison to other antidepressants, Effexor is often considered to be “weight neutral.” This is due to the fact that serotonergic effects may be partially offset by noradrenergic effects. The norepinephrine increase is capable of speeding the metabolism and reversing some “weight gain” effects brought upon by the serotonin.

  • Energy boost: For some people, even the minor action on norepinephrine can serve as a significant energy boost. This increase in energy is thought to be activating, helping the person stay physically active and maintain motivation to exercise.
  • Metabolism increase: Certain people experience some weight loss while taking Effexor due to its effect on metabolism. Some believe that even the small increase in norpinephrine is capable of helping certain people lose weight by speeding up their homeostatic metabolism.
  • Stimulatory: While this isn’t a “stimulant,” it does act on the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is of stimulatory nature. Increasing levels of norepinephrine is known to increase central nervous system activity and cortical arousal. Therefore its stimulating properties are thought to offset some of the weight that could be gained as a result of serotonin.

How much weight will you gain from Effexor?

There’s no telling exactly how much weight you will gain from taking this drug. As was mentioned, some people may gain a small amount of weight, others will remain at the same weight, while certain individuals may actually shed a few pounds. For SNRIs, there is no exact estimate of weight amount you will gain.

It is thought that nearly 30% of people taking high-doses of Effexor will complain of weight gain. Whether weight will be gained on standard or low doses remains controversial. In most cases, the amount of weight gain will be highly subject to individual variation. It is believed that throughout the course of treatment, an individual could stand to gain between 5 and 10 lbs.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15260908

Will everyone gain weight while taking Effexor?

No. Not everyone will gain weight from this drug. There are cases of people who’ve taken this drug and not noticed any weight gain at all throughout the course of their treatment. In order to minimize the potential for weight gain, it is recommended to always take the minimum effective dose. This prevents the drug from further disrupting homeostatic metabolism and other physiological functions (e.g. fat storage).  There are new genetic tests being conducted like GeneSight in effort to determine what side effects you will be most likely to experience.

Effexor: Cost-Benefit Analysis

If you are taking Effexor, it is important to conduct a cost-benefit analysis in regards to any weight gain that you experience. For some people, gaining weight is a pretty big deal and can actually make them even more depressed. If the medication is working well to treat your depression and anxiety, you may be able to justify small or moderate changes in weight while undergoing treatment.

However, if you think the weight gain is significant and aren’t getting much benefit from the drug, it’s a relatively choice to switch medications and/or embrace Effexor withdrawal. Do your best to objectively consider both the benefits and drawbacks associated with your current treatment regimen. If the drawbacks significantly outweigh any benefits, you may be better off with a different treatment.

Did you gain weight while taking Effexor?

Realize that not everyone is going to have the same reaction to taking Effexor in regards to weight or side effects. If you have taken Effexor or are currently taking it, feel free to share whether you noticed any weight gain or other weight changes throughout your treatment. It may help others to know how much weight you gained, the dosage you were taking, how long you’ve been taking it, and any other possible factors (e.g. other meds) that may have contributed to weight gain.

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60 thoughts on “Effexor and Weight Gain: Causes & Individual Variation”

  1. I am a 63 year old female who has been on Effexor for many years. I take it for anxiety. I never knew some of these side effects. Naughty me, I didn’t read the info supplies. I was just interested in having my anxiety gone. It worked!!!

    I have always had a weight problem but over the last few years (could be when I began Effexor?) I gained a lot of weight and there was nothing I could do to lose the weight. In 2016, at the age of 61, I decided to have weight loss surgery.

    Even with surgery, I have had issues losing the weight I should have. I still have at least 20 pounds to go. It is a constant battle. I love my carbs in the form of pizza, bread, pasta, etc. During the first year after my surgery I TOTALLY stayed away from those triggers.

    Soon after my 1 year surgiversary, I started, little by little, eating some of those starches I stayed away from. Guess what? My cravings for these things have become overwhelming. Every side effect mentioned, I have. I didn’t know! Thanks for the insight!!

  2. Wow. I’m 52 now, and all my life I’ve been slim. I’m 5′ 6″, and have always weighed between 115-120 pounds. At nine months pregnant with all three of my kids I weighed 148#. Ive now been on effexor for almost 4 years and I weigh 170 pounds, a 50 pound weight gain!

    I never had to watch what I eat, I was just naturally thin. Now for the last six months I only eat a bowl of oatmeal or granola for breakfast, and at 2:00pm I have an apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter, and I eat nothing after 3:00pm and I have lost NO WEIGHT!

    I take Effexor to treat my Cataplexy, which is a component of my Narcolepsy. Without it my symptoms are out of control, and I can’t take the gold standard drug xyrem to treat my Narcolepsy as it’s contraindicated in patients taking narcotics (I have multiple chronic pain conditions).

    Plus, it’s hard to get insurance to cover xyrem and it can cost many thousands of dollars monthly out of pocket. I take many medications, but never had a problem with those. I don’t want anyone to see me anymore as I’m unrecognizable and I won’t even look in mirrors. I need this med but for me it has caused my depression.

  3. I thought I was just getting older or my vitamin D level was low. But, my blood work came back fine. I’ve never felt like such a lump – I want to nap and lay around. I have no motivation. I’ve gained 40# and was always very active and worked out daily.

    I’m just glad to read that although Effexor is supposed to cause weight loss, I’m not the only one with these symptoms. I decreased down from 150mg to 37.5mg and felt more energy at first, but now I’m feeling the same way. I think I need to switch meds.

  4. I have been on Effexor for just a month and I gained almost 8 pounds! The problem is I am a celiac and since taking this medication I have been craving carbs and sweets badly that I started eating gluten again!!! Can’t control my cravings and I am so disappointed really.

  5. I started Effexor ER in Dec 2015 because I was stressed after being laid off, starting a new job, and, of course, having financial troubles. I started a very low dose, since I am sensitive to meds, and worked up to 75mg. My starting weight was #135 and I’m 5’3″.

    Within 6 months I was #150. I craved fast food and sugar. It got worse! By mid-2016 I was #179 taking 150mg. I was horrified!

    I’m now almost completely weaned off of the drug. It really helped, but I truly believed it caused that immense weight gain. At close to 50 years old, I don’t know if I can lose all that weight! Yikes!

  6. All I have to say is do not try this drug IF you care about your appearance. I changed nothing about my diet and in a short 9 months Effexor made me gain 17 lbs. which is a lot for me. I am normally around 120. It is not a coincidence… It’s reality. This medication has made so many people gain weight. I see it all over the Internet.

    My whole family called me pregnant at my wedding because of it. And calling my husband a chubby chaser. Prior to that I never had a damn problem with my weight… Save yourself before it ruins your body. I’ve been off of it for a month now and I am just now finally starting to lose weight. I lost 8lbs in a month. Do not be a victim to the government. Remember they want you to be fat and then die. Population control.

  7. I have been on Effexor for four months. In that short time I have gained a significant amount of weight in my stomach (I am afraid to weigh myself, but likely 10 lbs or more) and I cannot fit into any of my clothes at all. I cannot stop eating bread – all carbs and sugar. I am always hungry. I am also unable to cry and am afraid that something terrible will happen and I will not be able to respond appropriately/emotionally.

    While I believe this med has helped me to remain calm in a very bad job situation, it is destroying who I am and how I feel about my body. I am relieved to hear from others above who have experienced the same effects – my body image is destroyed!

  8. I’ve been on this drug for over 15 years various doses. I have tried to stop on 4 occasions and each time I’ve ended up in hospital after trying to commit suicide. I have been diagnosed as clinically depressed but I have other medical problems to, some have needed surgery. I have had many years of counseling but to no avail.

    I will be on this drug amongst others for life, the benefits for me are definitely worth it. Trying to stop is a nightmare the brain zaps make me feel like my head is way behind my body although I also do have drinking problems. One thing I can say is my body weight has never been affected.

  9. I’m on Venlafaxine since 8 months, during that time nothing has changed in my diet but I gained 15 kg. Of course this drug worked for my depression and anxiety but as I was on 225mg – 3 weeks ago decided to go down to 150mg and want to wean off one day. When I went from 225 to 150 I suffered some dizziness for 1,5 week but then I started feeling just fine. Now aiming to go to 75mg (No signs of losing weight just yet).

  10. Hi, I have been on a high dose of 300mg of Effexor-XR for between 8-10 years. I too have gained weight going from 53kg to 83kg. 30kilos!! Previous to medication I fluctuated in my weight up to 5 kilos but always managed to come back again with a small diet or exercise change. Even when pregnant I only gained a maximum of 12 kilos and lost all pregnancy weight by the time my 2 babies were 9 months old.

    So for me to to gain this amount of weight is contradictory to how my body previously worked. Effexor-XR has helped with my depression and anxiety, 4 years ago I was prescribed seroquel and the combination paired with an extremely supportive partner of the same four years, I now hold down a permanent job. But the weight has remained around 83kilos despite my active life. I’m glad that I have found this thread.

    It has confirmed my weight gain has been due to the Effexor. Thank You everyone who contributed. Regards Mia.

  11. I’ve been on Effexor twice now, and each time I’ve lost between 5-10 pounds, without any changes in my eating habits or exercise. I’m not sure why it happens, but it does appear to change something in my metabolism. I’ve been on it for a few years, and my weight has remained at this slight loss.

  12. You can fast for 3 days and still gain weight on effexor. It slows adrenal function. Increases estrogen which creates water weight. You’ll continue to gain weight on Effexor, believe me, it’s not your low energy, it’s the effect it has on the metabolism.

  13. I’ve been on for 3 months and have lost 10lbs. I think it could be due to the increases in energy. I have stated running and working out again because I’ve felt fantastic. Right now I will say venlafaxine has been a total game changer. I couldn’t be happier with the effects.

  14. I have been on Effexor 150 for about 8 months. I’ve always been petite and slim and proud of my figure. The Effexor worked great for the depression caused by a brain injury from a motorcycle accident, but I gained 30 lbs in the past 8 months. I went from 115 to 145 as of yesterday. My appetite hasn’t changed. I still eat healthy and exercise.

    I have occasional sweets. This is the first time in my life I’ve had to go on a diet, and with eating nothing but fruits and veggies the last month, exercising more, cutting out all sweets, I still continue to gain. I’ve researched this drug, and know it isn’t supposed to cause weight gain, but there is no other explaining for mine.

    I don’t have any other health problems other than a brain injury still, I’m not taking any other medications, and not eating more than I did before. I go back to the doctor next month and will talk about alternatives. I don’t want added health problems that come from being overweight. Thank you all that have posted here to help others.

  15. I have been on Venlafaxine 37.5 mg for about 4 years and have gained about 25 lbs. Weight was never a problem with me in the past but I have packed on 25 lbs and can’t get it off. I also find I am constantly craving specific foods and eating has become a habit. I joined a gym 3 years ago and instead of losing weight I have acutally gone up another size. I am planning to get off of this medication under my doctors care.

  16. “There are often cases of people who take a drug for awhile, don’t notice any weight gain, but after a couple years they’ve packed on more weight than expected.” This is what has happened to me. The first year, no changes. The second year, my very lean body started to change. I’ve always had the body of a dancer. All single muscles in my tummy were clearly visible.

    It’s not that I have gained a lot of weight, but I have lost muscle definition and where my body was compact and tight it has now become just ‘average’, as if expanded. It is as if my muscle and tone have been replaced by softer tissue. And it happened predominately in my stomach area and in my button, without any changes in my eating habits.

    I was NOT advised by my GP about this possibility. I have now been off it for four months, and my body structure has not improved. I now start to worry that my metabolism has changed forever.

  17. I have been on 75 mg for 2 months now. It helped me from crying all the time so tremendously that I don’t hardly cry at all. BUT, it has also made me GAIN weight rather quickly, snacking constantly, craving foods. I can’t wait to get off of this pill!!!

  18. Effexor/Venlafaxine saved my life, or rather gave it back to me. I had/have GAD and couldn’t even wander down the street. That’s all behind me now, but yes I have gained weight but also found I could fight it by diet and going to the gym. I found that exercise fights the unmotivated feelings as well. No way in the world am I going back to those dark days…

  19. I’ve never really gained a significant amount of weight except pregnancy. Was always pretty active, despite depression. I’m 32 and have taken Effexor XR for about a year and have just, finally, weaned off of it (!). I gained 20 KILOS on it! I have never had that much of a problem with my weight.

    I found the hunger cravings uncontrollable. I didn’t care if I was hungry, I would eat what I want. This is such a weird drug. I functioned totally normally otherwise but I just wanted to eat and didn’t even realise how much I was eating. Anyway, I hate the way I look now, but I’m trying to be gentle on myself because my weight shouldn’t define me.

    I just wanted to share and hopefully warn others. Ask for anything else!

  20. I’ve been on the drug for over a year, gained 30 pounds, anxiety has resurfaced and my blood pressure is off the charts. I had no idea about the weight gain until my mom told me the other day, now my depression is worse because I’m FAT, tired and unmotivated. It’s very difficult to get motivated to even go to work, I’d rather stay in bed and sleep and eat baguettes with lot’s of butter. Time for a change…

  21. I started taking effexor in October and I weighed around 225 lbs. By January, I was sitting at 172 lbs. It gave me such a decreased appetite that just the thought of food made me nauseous. When I did eat, I made healthy choices and still do to this day and I’m just here at 172 still. Then again, I was taking it with a combination of clonazepam and prazosin, so I’m still not sure what the main culprit was in the extreme lack of interest in food.

  22. I have been taking Venlafaxine ER 150MG for about 6 months. The weight I have gained on this is 12 lbs. The other side effects I have noticed include feeling tired often, lower metabolism, sleeplessness. My diet hasn’t changed, other than making better dietary choices. this leaves me feeling very disappointed and ready to stop taking venlafaxine altogether.

  23. I take Effexor 150 mg and I have been taking it for about 6 months or so. I was also taking Risperidone 2mg along with it. I thought the Risperidone was the cause of my weight gain so I stopped taking it. I’m still taking Effexor and I am still gaining weight. I was 100 lbs, then 120, and now I am 135 lbs. I am a short ‘gal so I’ve always weighed less than 110. I don’t want to stop taking my Effexor because the withdrawals suck. Wish there was something I could do :c

  24. After reading all these comments I’ve decided to get off this drug… I’ve gained so much weight! I have problems with binge eating and have gone to 12 step programs on and off for years. Now I realize it’s from the Effexor. Got to get an appointment and wean off!!!

      • I have been on Effexor for 12 years due to anxiety and panic attacks. I was always on the skinny side but gained about 60 pounds and even with dieting and exercising could not lose. Effexor made me hungry all the time and I could never feel full as I ate. I am taking Prozac and weaning off Effexor.

  25. I have been on Effexor and have gained 22 pounds in 3 months. I am so tired and sleep too much and have no energy or desire to do much. Trying to wean off now.

  26. My therapist has suggested I go on Effexor. I’m yet to discuss with GP but having read all the above comments about weight gain, I’m seriously concerned about being on it at all! I’m already over 50lbs (4 stone) overweight and have high blood pressure – both (along with other things) contributing towards being depressed, so going on medication that could possibly make this worse is a no brainer really. Surely it’s not worth it. Were the side effects not clearly communicated before taking?

  27. I don’t really know how relevant this is but I’ve been on Venlafaxine for nearly two months and I am so grateful that I have a life again rather than the depths of despair in which I was struggling to survive that I really don’t care HOW much weight I put on! My guess is that it’s easy to say that now, and in a few months time I will undoubtedly regret that comment, but for the moment I’m just happy to be back to normal (whatever that is).

    If it’s any consolation I appear to have developed a total addiction to jelly beans and anything containing salted caramel – I could easily eat them all day, I really could. So maybe my weight gain is around the corner, just waiting to pounce…

  28. Thanks to everyone for sharing. I have been on Effexor for about 18 years and have gained a lot of weight as well. I’m frustrated about my weight but afraid of the results if I didn’t take it.

  29. I’ve taken 75mg of effexor for two years. At first I lost about 10 pounds, but in the second year I have regained that and 10 more. In the last few months particularly my weight just seems to keep climbing no matter what I do. I get a lot of exercise and my diet hasn’t changed.

  30. I’ve been on this drug for nine months. Was on 75mg for 6 of those months then 150mg the rest. I have gained so much weight and I also have pain in my legs and lifting my arms hurts. I’ve never had that problem before. I need to get off this after reading I’m not the only one.

  31. I took Effexor for about a year and within the first month or so my leg muscles started getting super tense from bicycling. I was biking 5 miles every other day and slowly lost the ability to bike even one from muscle stiffness. A co-worker of my boyfriend has the same problem on Effexor – he used to be a runner and slowly had to stop from muscle stiffness and pain.

    I gained back the 15 lbs I worked to lose before Effexor plus 5 more lbs. It’s been about a month off the drug now and I’m trying to get back into biking but the muscle tension so far has not improved. I know this isn’t a matter of being out of shape either because when I first got my bike I was off Effexor, the same weight I am now, hadn’t biked for 2 years and could easily do 2 miles without pain.

    Will this side effect wear off and when? What’s causing it? I read that Effexor can cause hormonal changes – I know my thyroid is fine, but could it be something else? I’ve read about “serotonin’s ability to relax muscles and control the dilation of blood vessels.” Can adding more serotonin it have a paradoxical effect on some people?

  32. I started on venlafaxine in March of 2015 and in the summer I had to take off 10 extra pounds that I had put on. I then increased my dosage to 225 mg in September and put on 15 pounds in 30 days. I crave sweets and am constantly snacking. I also started to get dry mouth in October. I’m going to see if I can decrease my dosage. It is difficult because it has helped me feel happier and more motivated. My happiness is more important than my weight gain, problem is however, feeling out of control with food makes me feel very down.

  33. I have been on Effexor for probably over 10 years now. I switched from Paxil with which I gained very much weight. I have been able to loose some while being on Effexor with a low fat 1200 calorie diet, but as soon as I go off the diet, I gain it all back within 3 months. I can’t live on a 1200 calorie diet for the rest of my life. So I have started weaning off of Effexor.

    I was at 225mg and have gone down to 150mg. Today I will talk to my doctor about going to 75mg. It takes about a month before I don’t feel any withdrawal symptoms, so it will be tough for awhile. I just have to see if the weight gain/inability to loose is from the Effexor.

  34. I experienced rapid weight gain on Effexor – 30 lbs in 6 weeks! It was the first time in my life that I had ever been overweight. I experienced no change in appetite, I wasn’t taking any other meds, and I was on a low dose. To top it off, I started experiencing mood swings. I got off it as quickly as I could (had to wait 3 months for a psychiatric consult before starting the weaning process – took it for 8 months altogether). Now, 7 years later, I still can’t lose the weight.

  35. I have been on venlafaxine on and off (mainly on) for about 8 years. I have gone up 2 dress sizes. I have decided to wean myself off it and to try a different medication for my anxiety and depression. I have the desperation to eat and start panicking if I don’t. It really needs to get sorted, as I am so depressed, tired and have no motivation at all! I will be making an appointment with my doctor tomorrow!

  36. I have been taking effexor for 3 months, and just now I started looking for the side effects. My weight have been always around 110 lbs, but suddenly I started gaining weight like crazy; 20 lbs in 1 month. Now I am more depress than before, because I don’t want to go anywhere, my clothes won’t fit. I look as 7 months pregnant, plus my butt and legs are huge. I am going to stop taking it because the side effects are making me feel worse than before.

  37. I have been on Effexor for 4 years now and now at 187.5mg and afraid to come down because I don’t want to get depressed again. But I have gained over 40 pounds now. I am a fitness instructor and personal trainer and it has taken a toll on my job. I workout 5 days a week and don’t understand how I could gain weight so fast. Has anybody been able to move down in dosage, still be happy, and lose weight?

  38. I’ve been on a 100 mg dose for 2 years and have since gained 30 pounds, but it has helped me with my symptoms. For how active I was, my friends tell me that they never thought to see me so heavy. You really have to restrict your diet to avoid weight gain.

  39. I’ve been on Venlafaxine now for 4 months and have already gained over a stone in weight. I have never been so heavy and it’s making me feel so sad and sick. Hate my body it’s disgusting!! I’m also on Quetiapine which is known also for weight gain. Struggling and have had so many medications I am limited. Feel like just coming off the lot and living life with bipolar! So fed up and nothing fits me. We aren’t cash rich so can’t afford new clothes. Hate life with these meds ?

  40. Venlafaxine helped me post breast cancer with hot flashes and anxiety. I have taken 75mg a day for the past five years and gained 30 pounds in weight. I am weaning myself off it now and so far the withdrawal has not been too bad although I was tearful this morning after years of not being able to cry. That could have been caused by the shock of weighing myself today! I have never been so heavy and all of my clothes so tight. I am determined to come off it and lose weight. It served its purpose and helped me through a bad time. I am 56 and glad to be alive. I will never have the looks or figure I had before cancer but just want to feel comfortable and be healthy.

    • Hi I’ve been on Effexor xr 37.5 mg now for 18 months after I had my second baby for anxiety, even though it is only a maintenance dose, it does work for me however over the ten years that I have taken it off and on, it has always made me gain about 5-8 kgs (sorry don’t know lbs). I’m a personal trainer and I eat very well so for me gaining this weight and not being able to lose it is very frustrating and is makeing me very unhappy about myself. Anyways, I’ve decided to come off it.

  41. I’ve been taking Effexor for many years. Prior to this one I’ve taken many other anti anxiety and depressants. Every time I start a new one or my dose changes I gain weight , minimum 20lbs. I started a low carb program 2 yrs ago when I went into alcohol and drug recovery, my doctor increased my dose to 225mg to help my withdrawals. I eat like a saint and exercise and I’m 50 lbs overweight no matter what I do!

    I told my doctor I want to cut down to the minimum dose I’m down to 112mg quit smoking and lost 5 pounds! I’m not saying I quit smoking because I the lower dose but I’ve never heard of anybody that loses weight when they quit. I think all this weight will slowly come off when I’m at the 75mg recommended dose (I hope) it works for me so unfortunately I don’t think I can come right off, but the weight gain is horrible!

  42. I have been taking Venlafaxine / Effexor for a year and a half. It helped me with depression, as I was going through an especially difficult time. However, I’ve gained 35 pounds in that same time-frame! I’m only 5’3″ and now weigh 185. Fortunately, I have gotten through that difficult time and will be seeing my doctor this week to start getting off this medicine entirely.

    I am working out 4 times a week for an hour each time, follow weight watchers eating plan and start working out with a trainer this week as well. I’m hoping that my weight gets back to a healthier place very soon. This medicine works, but can cause depression for other reasons like weight gain. So, just be cautious with any medicines you are prescribed and take your time to evaluate the pros and cons so you can make the best decision for your health.

  43. I have been on Effexor 150 mg for 4 months. I have gained 20 pounds. This is ridiculous. My doctor told me I should not see much weight change. I was told I may lose weight. I have become more depressed over the weight gain. I will have to get off this medication. I will ask my doctor how to wean off this mess. There has to be a better way.

  44. I have been taking Effexor for about a year. I have gained about 40lbs. I was told that I would probably lose weight….instead I have gained weight. When my dosage was doubled I gained 20lbs in one month. I am even more depressed then I was before. I am unable to lose any weight no matter how hard I try.

    • These are the symptoms I am facing I have been on Venlafaxine for 12 years and the moment I started taking it my weight started to shoot up. I had to maintain it by training in the gym almost 5 days a week. I find it very difficult to lose weight unless I am on the strictest diet regimes. I am planning to come off this medication soon.

      • James, could you please tell me how you are doing physically and mentally now that you have decided to come of of Effexor? I to have been on it for 12+ years. I would like to decrease slowly off of it, but every time I do I get these excruciating headaches. Please let me know how you were able to do it. Thank you.

        • I gained 30 pounds in 6 months on effexor. I weaned myself off by opening the capsule and taking out 5 to 10 grains at a time. It took awhile but finally got off this horrible drug.

    • Why can’t you get off of it and change your medication? I have been on it I think 6-9 months and have gained 10 pounds. I felt so much better but now that I am craving food all the time and gained 10 pounds I feel more depressed!!! I hope I can call in and see my. Dr ASAP TO HAVE MY MEDS CHANGED. I always try to eat healthy and work out and I have no motivation.

      I lay around and feel like I need a nap every day and will 5 kids at home you just can’t do that! I hate the way I feel. So I guess I’m writing here because I wondered why you haven’t gotten off of Effexor and changed to something else. Is it hard to do? I need a change I can’t live this way feeling fat and depressed

  45. I have been on effexor for about 5 years I hate it, I have gained about 40lbs of weight from it, my doctor has now slowly been switching me to bupropion. I have had no energy at all and just want to sleep all the time well taking effexor. I have never been this heavy or overweight in my life. I use to be very active and a real outdoors type guy, that all changed since I started the effexor 5 years ago, I was on 112.5 mg/day.

  46. I have been on and off Effexor for a couple of years now. My dosage is 150mg. With each time I start Effexor I can definitely see changes. The longer I stay on the worse the effects get. The effects I experience are: lack of motivation, weight gain 20lbs plus, constantly being tired, and the urge to eat more. The good news is when I wean myself down to 750mg then stop the medication I usually return to my normal weight within a couple of months. My energy also returns.

  47. I’ve been on effexor since September and have definitely become lethargic and have lost all the motivation I used to have. I find it really hard to work out and have gained weight in my lower body. I MUST get off this and start taking wellbutrin, my doctor increased my dosage of the effexor and have noticed I’m getting more and more body fat. I’m short and struggle with body fat to begin with, plus I’m on olanzapine for anxiety, might also be causing it.

  48. When I took effexor it felt like ice going through my veins. I wanted to eat and sleep. I became lethargic and gained weight, mainly in my bottom. I never had a bottom, but, now I have to much! I had my doctor take me off this medicine. And would like to know how do I lose this weight? I eat right and can’t exercise because of “PSS.” My self image is worse! From the effects of Polio and a Severe case of Scoliosis now my big butt, I fight this image everyday. HELP PLEASE.


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