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Paxil and Weight Gain: 24 lbs In 6 to 12 Months?

Paxil (Paroxetine) is a drug that has been approved since 1992 for the treatment of major depression. It is considered by many to be a highly effective medication for various types of anxiety, specifically: generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, OCD, and panic disorder. Paxil functions as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and is considered to be one of the most potent drugs in this particular class.

While many people find that Paxil works well to treat their anxiety and depression, like all drugs it carries side effects. Some of these side effects may be minor, but others may actually make it difficult to justify continuing treatment with this particular medication. Despite the fact that this drug may effectively treat an array of psychiatric conditions, some people avoid Paxil for the fact that it is one of the most likely SSRIs to cause weight gain.

Paxil and Weight Gain

Nearly everyone taking Paxil is at risk for weight gain. While not everyone taking Paxil is necessarily guaranteed to gain weight, those taking moderate to high doses of the drug will likely pack on a few pounds. A majority of people speculate that the drug alters the body’s baseline metabolism, and slows it to a significant extent. Others believe that the drug may cause increased cravings for unhealthy foods like simple carbohydrates.

How Paxil Causes Weight Gain: List of Ideas

There are a variety of ways in which Paxil may be contributing to weight gain. Some experts believe it causes the metabolism to slow, while others believe there is a link between serotonin changes and food cravings. I’m of the mindset that it’s likely a combination of factors that vary based on the individual.

  • Appetite boost: Many people who take Paxil notice a change in appetite. Prior to taking the medication, a person may have lost weight or remained a low weight because they weren’t eating enough while depressed. When the drug works, some people feel better again and start taking better care of themselves, which can lead to eating adequate sized meals. Additionally some people notice that the drug gives them a significant uncontrollable appetite boost, leading them to eat more than usual.
  • Carbohydrate cravings: Some have claimed that Paxil has made them more inclined to seek out unhealthy foods like refined sugars, processed foods, and carbohydrates. There is a clear link between carbohydrates and the serotonin system, but it is unknown specifically how it is influenced by Paxil on an individual basis. If you experience food cravings that you didn’t previously have, it could be a result of the Paxil.
  • Drug interactions: There are notable examples of drugs that interact with Paxil to markedly amplify weight gain. An example would be taking Paxil and Risperdone (an antipsychotic) together. These two medications have been found to lead an individual to gain nearly 30 pounds in just 5 months of treatment. Researchers believe it is a result of a drug-interaction that inhibits the CYP4502D6 enzyme.
  • Fat storage: The changes induced to a person’s physiology from the drug Paxil could account for changes in the way that the body stores fat. In homeostasis, the body body’s fat processing mechanisms aren’t disrupted. However, when introducing a psychotropic drug and taking it over a period of time, the physiological changes that ensue may lead to storage of fats.
  • Hormonal changes: Many believe that Paxil is capable of depleting certain hormones when taken over a long term. Some believe that the mining of specific hormones is what makes Paxil stop working and weight gain likely. If you want to note any hormone changes, you could get your levels checked prior to taking the drug, and then again after you’ve been in treatment for awhile; then compare the results.
  • Metabolism slowing: Some experts believe that Paxil is capable of slowing the metabolism. This supports the idea that no matter how healthy and portioned a person’s meals, they will still gain weight when taking the drug. Many people have had this exact experience, which is why certain doctors are even buying into this theory.
  • Motivation drop: Certain individuals experience a major decrease in motivation when taking Paxil. While it may help their depression or anxiety, it may also make them relatively lazy. This is due to the sedating effects of the drug that are experienced in some people. Paxil can make it tough to get out of bed and exercise instead of watch TV and eat sugary foods.
  • Side effects: It is common to feel increasingly fatigued or sleepy when taking Paxil. Those that feel tired from this drug may be less likely to work out or even get adequate physical activity. The sleepiness may render them lazy for an entire day. If a person’s eating habits remain the same (or increase as a result of an appetite boost), they are going to gain weight.
  • Social eating: When people are depressed or anxious, they are less likely to go out to eat with friends and family. When their depression or anxiety is lifted through treatment, there’s a greater chance they will do some social eating. This means the person will go out to eat more frequently with friends and gain weight as a result of this new habit.
  • Taste improvement: Sometimes antidepressants seem to alter our neurochemistry in a way that food subjectively tastes better. It was already mentioned that people may have carbohydrate cravings and/or notice that carbs taste particularly delicious, but this can apply to all foods. If you notice that your taste is enhanced from the drug, don’t second guess your experience.

Note: Rather than honing in on one particular possibility or factor, it is important to consider that each individual scenario involving weight gain from Paxil is likely different. In many cases weight gain is due to an individualized combination of the factors listed above.

Factors that influence weight gain on Paxil

There are other important factors that need to be considered when taking Paxil. These include: the dosage you took, your individual genetics and physiology, the time span over which you took the drug, and whether you are on any other drugs.

1. Dosage

A good rule of thumb to follow is that the less of the drug you take, the less likely you are to gain weight. On the other hand, the greater the dose of the drug you’re taking, the more likely it is that you’ll gain weight. Unfortunately most doctors will prescribe whatever dose they want you to take, but in reality, they should always have you start low and titrate upwards to the “minimal effective dose.”

By finding the minimal effective dose, you decrease the likelihood of significant weight gain as a result of this antidepressant. Higher doses tend to alter our brain and nervous system to a greater extent than lower ones. This allows the drug to make more changes that disrupt homeostatic processes (potentially hormones, metabolism, etc.). The bottom line is that each time you double your dose, you may be doubling the amount of weight that you’ll gain.

2. Individual factors

It is important to account for individual factors that may be leading you to gain weight. Have you all of a sudden stopped exercising and eating a healthy diet? Have you become more stressed than you were in the past? While no one ever wants to blame themselves for the weight that they gained, it is possible that your particular lifestyle is contributing to the weight gain.

This would mean that not only is the drug leading you to pack on some weight, but you are doing nothing to combat the effects. Some people may be doing a lot to counteract the effects of the drug and may end up gaining only a minimal amount of weight.

3. Time span

Have you been on Paxil for a short period or a long term? People who take Paxil for several months may not notice any fluctuation in weight. In fact some people may actually lose a few pounds in the early stages of treatment. However, there is evidence supporting the idea that those taking this drug for a long term are likely to gain weight. The longer you take the drug, the more changes it makes within the nervous system, and the more likely it is that you’ll eventually increase the dosage (leading to further weight gain).

4. Other medications

It is highly important to consider whether other medications may be contributing to your weight gain as well. It is easy to blame the Paxil that you’re taking, but can you be sure that it’s the Paxil and not the other drug. Certain medications do have a tendency to cause weight gain – especially if they are psychiatric. Also consider the fact that both the other medication and Paxil may be contributing equally to the weight gain and in some cases may be synergistically promoting weight gain.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12410060

How much weight will you gain from Paxil?

Evidence is somewhat unclear regarding how much weight will be gained with treatment on Paxil. Experts like to generalize and promote the idea that you won’t gain any weight, but that’s not generally true. Some uncontrolled studies have suggested that on average, those taking therapeutic doses of Paxil for 6 to 12 months gain an estimated 24 lbs. – this is considered the highest of all SSRIs.  Some researchers however, like to generalize all SSRIs by stating that the weight gain is only roughly 10 lbs. throughout the entire course of treatment.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181155/

Will everyone gain weight while taking Paxil?

No, not everyone will gain a significant amount of weight while taking Paxil. In fact, some people will actually lose weight in the early stages of treatment if they experience an activating effect from the drug. While many people will gain weight, it is important to highlight the fact that not everyone is destined for weight gain.

Some researchers speculate that individual genetic differences are often responsible for determining how someone reacts to the drug. This is why tests like GeneSight are being developed to determine how well your genetics will tolerate Paxil and its effects. In general, those who take Paxil for a shorter duration and at lower doses may remain weight neutral.

Paxil: Cost-Benefit Analysis

When taking any psychotropic drug, it is important to compare the costs (e.g. unwanted side effects) with the benefits (e.g. depression reduction). If weight gain is a big deal to you, first analyze how much weight you’ve gained directly as a result of taking Paxil. Then assess how well the drug is treating your condition.

If you’ve gained a small amount of weight, but are getting a huge benefit from the medication, it should be common sense to continue treatment. However, if you aren’t really getting any benefit from the drug (or are feeling worse) and are gaining weight, you will likely want to undergo Paxil withdrawal and/or switch medications. The main focus should always be on treating your mental illness, but if the drug isn’t really working and/or the weight gain is excessive, the drug probably isn’t a good fit.

Personal Experience with Paxil: Marginal (10 lbs.) Weight Gain

In my personal experience taking Paxil, I experienced very minor weight gain throughout my 8 months of treatment. My appetite increased, I craved unhealthy carbohydrates, and experienced bouts of lethargy throughout my treatment. I also did significantly more “social eating” with friends at various restaurants and wasn’t very selective with what I ordered.

My guess is that in those 8 months I gained roughly 10 lbs. At the time, I was still active in various athletics and regularly lifted weights, biked, and went for runs. When I was first on the medication, I had no knowledge of any potential side effects, and my last concern was weight gain.

Since I was still a teenager at the time, my guess is that my metabolism was still higher than most adults – so I had that working in my favor.  It should also be mentioned that I was taking Paxil CR 12.5 mg.  This meant I was on the lowest possible dose of the controlled-release version.

Did you gain weight while taking Paxil?

If you gained weight during your treatment with Paxil, feel free to share some details in the comments section below. It may help to know what dosage you were taking, how long you had been taking the Paxil, and any other factors that may have contributed. If you have successfully managed to keep weight off throughout your treatment with this drug, others may find benefit in you sharing your strategies.

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58 thoughts on “Paxil and Weight Gain: 24 lbs In 6 to 12 Months?”

  1. I started taking Paroxetine in 2002. My peak dose was 40mg daily and after 16, of trying to come off, I have just managed it. So far so good. I definitely craved carbohydrates from sugary sweets to bread and pasta.

    I felt lazy and working out was a chore, so I’ve had to take large amounts of coffee, to get motivated to train, which in itself, has its on side effects. I’m about 14 pounds overweight and whatever I tried, from running, boxing to weight training, eating healthy, I cannot lose the last 14 pounds.

    I’m now off the medication after tapering for nearly 4/5 months, dropping roughly 5% of my dose each time. Paroxetine did wonders for my depression and anxiety but carried a lot of unwanted side effects, from fatigue, loss of libido, confusion, mild IBS symptoms, headaches and a state of lack of empathy at times.

    I would seriously consider other medications before this one. I hope my time with the drug is over. After 16 years, I’m 2 days off the drug and hope never to use it again.

  2. I started Paxil 8 months ago. It’s for GAD that came on rapidly after making a huge life change of moving out on my own. I’m 32, 5’0″ and have always been blessed with a beautiful figure. I’m a foodie, not gonna lie. But since being on Paxil?

    It’s like the trigger in my brain that is supposed to tell me I’m full is not in service currently. I crave chocolate, breads, pasta, and waffles! Oh the waffles… but I also eat lots of healthy greens, fruit and meats. I have gained approx. 28 pounds to date.

    As hard as it is to see the extra weight on my bones, I feel this way…. the severe anxiety, panic attacks, and daily crying fits? It’s no comparison to the fluff on my bones. I would rather be plump as a partridge and rock that bod than sit in my beautiful house crying and shaking for no reason.

    I know the fluff will start to go away when my treatment is complete. But until then? My mind and frame of it is way more important. Rock the fluff, and get rid of the anxiety.

  3. Guys, it’s been only 2 weeks since I started taking this medicine and I’m already feeling a lot better in my mental state. I’m taking this treatment for anxiety and panic disorder. I feel much better in only 2 weeks, but my weight is increasing while being on a strict caloric deficit.

    Also, I’m taking the lowest possible dose which is 12.5 mg. I should be eating 2000 calories to maintain my weight, but in past few days I have had only 1200 calories at max, but still I have gained 1 pound which is quite strange – as generally I would have lost 3-4 pounds by now.

    So ironic and strange, but this establishes that I guess it definitely slows down metabolism for sure!

  4. I’m only sharing in hopes this information can help others. Although paxil has truly helped me and my quality of life I have gained around 15lbs on 10mg in the first 2 years of using it. I have become lazy compared to before medication when I would road cycle, run 5ks and hike a few times per week.

    Now, I sit and watch Netflix. I should be more upset about my weight gain, but I’m so much more comfortable not having anxiety. My advice is to be informed and decide what’s most important to you.

  5. Been on Paxil for 11 years. I was robbed at gunpoint and suffered a heart attack. I have gained over 40 pounds, eating everything in sight. I gradually weaned myself to a lower dose and now I’m off Paxil altogether now. Controlling my depression on my own now. Patients should be informed of weight gain before talking this medication.

  6. I have been on 60mg for about 11 years now and I gained about 24lbs in all of that time. No matter what I do (karate, gym, walking) I can’t seem to shift it!! I have tried, and failed, 3 times to get off of it due to side effects.

    • I spent 16 years on doses from 20-40mg. I tapered off over 4 months. I’ve has some dark days but the slow taper of about 4-5% each time, worked wonders. Be patient with coming off, good luck.

  7. I’ve been on paroxetine or about 2 years now and I’m also a college student. In my 4 years at college I have gained 35 pounds, and I do think a lot of it was because of the pill. I have no energy to workout and when I eat I always keep eating, especially with junk food.

  8. I’m 20 and I’ve been on Paroxetine for close to a year and I have gained so much. I’m on 40mg a day and had previously suffered from anorexia but recovered the necessary weight before starting the drug and was stable. As someone who is fairly active and had been stable for 1 & 1/2 years, this sudden gain was a shock.

    I’ve put on 2-3 stone without reason. I noticed the gain after 6 months and never thought it was the drug so I upped my exercise and began eating healthy etc., but weight was still piling on. I began slipping into anorexic habits such as limiting my intake, but even that wouldn’t shift it. After a bit of research I came across this and it’s so reassuring to finally have a reason!

    I’ve tried reducing before but it didn’t end well. This time I’m going in with a plan (and a helpful doctor). I was never warned about the weight gain side effect which angers me, but at this point in time, it seems my only option is to come off this drug for the sake of my mental health!

  9. I’m terrified. I have put on about 10 pound in 4 months. I wasn’t sure why. I exercise for hours everyday and don’t eat too badly.

    I had started to really restrict my eating. I thought I was just getting older. Now I have a gut and I hate it. I work in a gym and feel so disgusted with myself.

    I’m on 40 mg which seems higher than most people. I wasn’t told about the weight gain or the withdrawals. It has helped my mood a lot but I just can’t tolerate the weight.

    The weight gain really depresses me. I’m going to start to wean off tomorrow.

  10. I started taking paxil about a year ago and have upped my dosage once. Since I started taking it I started gaining so much weight. I gained 25 pounds in the last 6 months which is crazy for me. I’m not a small person at all but now I feel huge. It works so well with my anxiety but it’s making me so sad that I’m gaining so much weight.

  11. I have only been on 10mg of paxil for 50 days as of today. I lost 5 pounds the first little bit on it and haven’t gained anything yet, I feel and look great! All your stories of the weight coming on over time are definitely freaking me out, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. At least mine is a pretty low dose that seems to be effective for my PMDD, so hopefully any weight gain will be minimal. I’ve always been slender, 5’8″ and around 120-125 pounds.

  12. I have been on Paxil for 8 months and have gained 20 pounds! I am quite short so that is a lot on me. I had always been a little chubby but whenever I’d gain weight in the past due to over eating or laziness it would only be 5 pounds max. During the time I was on Paxil, at one point I was going to the gym at least 3-4 times a week.

    I weighed myself one day and realized I’d gained 12 pounds. My boyfriend tried to reassure me it was muscle but I knew it wasn’t because my clothes were getting tighter. Eventually the pounds kept packing on and it frightened me that I would start to have health problems so I spoke with my doctor and I’ve recently weened of of it successfully.

    It was scary to gain so much weight so fast. The first 4 months or so I didn’t notice the weight gain but the last 4 months it came on with a vengeance. Although I an say the drug works well for anxiety, the rapid new weight gain was a whole new anxiety for me I was willing to deal with.

  13. I started Paxil to help with severe social anxiety and minor depression stemming from what I believe to be an undiagnosed personality disorder or Asperger Syndrome. It made my anxiety and depression much worse and I gained a grand total of 60lbs in about 7 months. I promptly quit the Paxil, unfortunately the weight gain along with my worsened anxiety and depression led to my first suicide attempt and my relapse into bulimia.

  14. I’ve been on Paxil about a year and have gained about 25 pounds. We reduced dosage and still continue to gain weight. I have tried to cut out some carbs and drink water and not eat snacks but nothing has helped. I definitely am not as active and am always sleepy and are taking frequent naps which I have never done. The depression is really better, but am going to try to get off of Paxil by just continuing to reduce dosage.

    • The same thing happened to me. Same amount of weight gain in a short period of time. I weaned myself off of it. It has been about 3 weeks since I did and so far so good. I have already lost 5 pounds.

  15. I have been taking 40 of paxil for over 8 months now. In the past 8 months I have gained 18 pounds. This is the heaviest I have ever been. I also have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I am constantly tired no matter how much sleep I get. I have out weighed the good and bad and have decided I need to get off of this medicine. I can no longer take it!

  16. I’ve been taking 12.5 mg paxil daily for about a year for hot flashes. It has made life bearable…but suddenly gained 10 lbs in a month. My blood pressure is up but it was always low so now I am pushing the upward limits. Not sure what I will do since I can now function without hot flashes. Very discouraged with the gain.

  17. I have been taking Parox 20mg for severe depression for the past 4 years. I have gained at least 20 lbs since I have started taking it. I am terribly sleepy all the time. I sleep after I come home from work at 4 pm each evening. I’m exhausted. My GP said it could not be the parox tablets and did blood tests.

    He found my thyroid was low so has recently put me on Eltroxin 20mg. I’m still just as sleepy. I lack motivation to do exercise. I used to walk a lot but don’t even have the motivation to do this. Hence, the pounds have piled on. I’m 47 year old female with teenagers at school who I devote myself to helping them with school work because I’m a teacher.

    This is part of the reason I feel drained. On the plus side, I no longer suffer with depression, which was very severe. I’m going to continue taking parox cause I’m never going back to that black hole of depression again! I need to know from anyone if they were able to lose the weight gained whilst on parox. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!

  18. Without a doubt paxil has made me gain weight. I was on a strict bodybuilding diet, and exercise plan. I just could not lose any weight when it should have been flying off me. I stopped taking paxil an instantly lost weight, and felt healthier. I went back on paxil three weeks ago, still exercising and a healthy diet, and boom 10 pounds and a bloated belly. It seems to slow my metabolism.

  19. I have been on paxil/paroxetine for 10 or 12 years. I am now 30 pounds over my “normal” weight. I have taken weight loss drugs which worked for a while (I lost 18 pounds), but they eventually stopped working. I know if I wean myself off the paxil, I will be miserable and depressed. Does anyone have a suggestion for another antidepressant that does NOT cause weight gain?

    • Did you go off Paxil? I have gained 25 pounds even with reducing carbs drinking mostly water and trying to cut out snacks. I am going to go off paxil but wondered if you had problems going off. I also am really tired and sleepy all the time and my memory is foggy.

  20. I have been on paroxetine for 1 year I have gained 3 stone. I have only just realized it could be this (so dumb) can anyone tell me how quickly I can lose it if I get back in the gym and exercise like mad… I have come down to 10mg for the last week and may just completely stop now. It’s making me feel awful.

  21. I have been on Plaxil for approx 7 years and in this time I have been running a business and working as a Registered Nurse, both pretty stressful jobs at the best of times! I have been taking it for Anxiety and slight depression where it has worked very well.

    I have recently sold off the business and am now just nursing. I have started to reduce the dose over the past couple of months but have found that I get increasingly angry at my kids which kills me as i have wonderful children. I have also found that I cannot concentrate or sleep as I used to!

    I have put approx 6-8kgs on and continually feel lethargic and unmotivated like never before!! The stress level from selling the business has reduced dramatically and I feel as though I can handle things a lot better now! It’s proving to be a huge challenge!!

  22. I have been on Paxil for 13 years now. I take 40 mg a day. Every since I have been on Paxil I gain weight constantly. I gained 100 in 13 years. I tried to join WW and I had to constantly exercise to lose .5 pounds. I seemed like I was exercising all the time. About 3 years ago I was so upset over the weight gain and I asked my doctor to wen me off.

    That was bad, but I wanted to lose weight so I was willing to put up with the withdrawals for a few weeks. All the reading I did it told me that Paxil withdrawals are worse than Heroin withdrawals. I cannot say that since I have never been on Heroin, but that is what I read. I was determined to do it. I was off for a few months and I was doing great until I had a change in my life.

    I was changing jobs. The first few weeks of the job were fine than the stress set in. I was doing so bad in my mental state that my doctor tried different meds to put me on with no success. In one month I lost 30 from not eating and being depressed. I begged my new job to fire me. I had to take care of me. The only drug that helped me was the Paxil.

    So I had to go back on it. Since 3 years I had gained 55 pounds. I think I am going to try and get off the meds again. I am depressed from the weight gain and I am not happy inside this body. I say stay away from Paxil unless you need to gain weight.

  23. I am 33 and I was prescribed paroxetine one year and a half ago, after a series of stressful events, compounded by a number of erroneous diagnoses and medications, after which I just couldn’t cope with insomnia, irrational fear and crushing negative thoughts. I had never been in any similar situation before in my life. I started with 5mg, going up to 20 mg, and after 6 months of treatment I started lowering the dose during the following 10 months, until I stopped last October.

    The medicine worked perfectly for the problem I had and, besides a lot of side effects, I’ve been feeling like myself again even after I stopped.
    Unfortunately, the weight gain has been drastic. I’m 62 inches tall, and I weighed about 118 lbs. I’m now about 143 lbs and it happened really fast, in between the 5th and 7th month of treatment. And extra 25 lbs is way to much for my height.

    I’ve always been an healthy eater, almost no sugar, low carbs. I hadn’t changed my eating habits at all, and I even became more active. Since the gain weight I started cutting the doses I eat but with no effect. I was hopping to start going back to normal after I stopped paxil 3 months ago, but until now I see no difference at all. And I feel tired all the time.

    The doctor told me about a possible weight gain of a maximum of 5 lbs, not 25! It is a really nasty side effect, that now affects my daily life, I feel very tired and unhealthy, no matter how active and healthy eater I am. The latest blood tests came with some changes in thyroid and liver functions. This should be an important point before deciding which treatment to take, and it seems that doctors just don’t care.

  24. I gained around 16lbs from 8 months on Paroxetine. I started losing it after 8 months off the drug and had lost it all by 1 year off. I still eat the exact same as I did when on it. It had nothing to do with my eating or exercise habits. I also gained weight from Prozac.

  25. I’ve been taking Paxil for almost 3 years and have gained like 15 lbs…maybe a little less. From reading the comments, I see that that’s actually not that bad BUT I’m only 5 feet tall so weight distributes differently on short people. I tried to get off Paxil… and it was the worst experience of my life. I’ve never been that down.

    I thought the weight gain would stop at a certain point but it hasn’t. I have been bad these 3 years about eating a lot of carbs in excess and I have finally resolved to eating healthier so I’m hoping I will get results. I tried to get off Paxil thinking it wasn’t fair that I couldn’t eat what I want because of it, but I need my mental health to stay stable. I’m just going to have to change my diet.

    I totally understand why everyone wants to get off Paxil. If it was easier, I would. But just a word of caution: do not do it cold turkey. Your doc might say it’s ok but to be safe don’t do it. Taper off of it VERY SLOWLY. My pharmacist told me that after 3 days, it’s out of your system. It’s not like Wellbutrin and Prozac where you can just stop taking it and it tapers itself. I just don’t want anybody to go through what I did. Hope everybody finds a solution!

  26. I have taking Paxil for roughly 9 or 10 months and have gained at least 25 lbs! I do crave alot of foods I know I shouldn’t be eating but really I don’t over-eat. Also I feel extremely tired alot of the time. Or I feel like I don’t have the energy or the desire to get up and move around and go do things.

    So yeah I’ve definitely gained weight from taking Paxil. Also I don’t feel as though it’s helping my anxiety very much. Which is the reason I’m on it. So I’ve been putting off going to the doc and being taken off of it, but that’s what I do plan on doing.

  27. I have been on Paxil for over 18 years. I have gained a lot of weight and noticed now to stay away from starch and sugar. I also take Xanax for anxiety. I am now going to the gym and taking abs + for weight loss. I will tell you how this goes. In my opinion the best doctor is you yourself. There is a lot of other treatments such as yoga and meditating that really works for the mind. Try to slowly take less dosages and treat anxiety with natural products. Our mind is very powerful and we must control our thoughts and not to over think. Let’s beat this taking of Paxil and live a long healthy life.

  28. I’ve been taking Paxil for 6 months, and have gained 15 lbs. Since middle school, I have always been 120-130 lbs with a normal diet and minimal exercise routine. I’m now 21, and decided today to quit Paxil because of the weight gain side effect. I also have had issues with waking up or being on time to classes the past semester due to the drug itself.

    Obviously, if the medication is helping you mentally and you don’t mind the physical side effects such as weight gain, continue taking this antidepressant. However, at this point in my life, I am too self-conscious and even more stressed about the weight gain to continue. To all those out there fighting a mental illness, know that you are not alone. We will get through this, together.

  29. I was prescribed 10 mg of Paxil about 6 months ago. Since then I have gained 10 lbs. I constantly feel hunger for carbs and sweets. I have fatigue and lack of energy,which makes it difficult to get up in the mornings. I also discovered that hair loss is another side effect. I really do not want to take this anymore!

  30. I have been on Paxil for anxiety since April 2015. Since then I have gained 20 lbs. Before then I was under weight due to my anxiety. Every keeps on telling me the weight gain looks good on me, except that I hate it. As long as I don’t gain anymore weight from the drug I will be okay with the slight gain…but from research it seems like up to 24 lbs is the normal weight gain on Paxil. Although I would take an extra 24 lbs over my anxiety any day.

  31. I am 37 years old and I have been on Paxil since I was 23 I started out at 10 mg and finally worked my way up to 30 mg for the last 10 years. My panic was so bad I couldn’t function. But I have gained probably 100 lbs in that whole time. Not by choice I have had to quit paxil cold turkey and my life is an utter nightmare, but I am dealing and have decided that after 13 days of no paxil, I can get through this. But the withdrawal symptoms are not gone. I am just hoping now that I can finally get this weight off because I am miserable.

    • Hello, I’m 38 and have been taking Paxil for a long time along with Lorazepam. I am currently taking 25mg of Paxil CR daily and 2mg of Lorazepam. I was up to 50mg and 4 mg of the Lorazepam until I started a healthy lifestyle journey this April. I quit smoking and with the help of Atkins have lost almost 40 pounds since the end of April.

      Over the course of the last 10 years I have put on a tremendous amount of weight and notice that my appetite is much more controllable since starting a lower dosage of both meds. The plan is to switch to another SSRI that works for me. The withdrawal I felt when I first started to get off the medicine last year was an utter nightmare.

      I was giving up the fight to quit. Now I promised myself I will keep going and get my mental clarity back. Living in a fog is no life for anyone. Best of luck to you!!

  32. Hey guys, it all started when I moved 100 miles away from home (and all family). One day I just started panicking really bad and it lasted the entire week. I couldn’t sleep I couldn’t eat and I was constantly shaking and pacing around my apartment. I finally found a family doctor to go to and she prescribed me 10mg Paxil every day. I have gained at least 15lbs in the last 3 months.

    I have tried weaning myself off and have been successful but the the attacks come back. I really don’t want to depend on medication my entire life but at the same time I don’t ever want to go through a week long panic attack again. If there’s anyone out there that can help me out please write back.

    • Hi Cayla, I felt the same when I moved to Switzerland from England,really understand what you are going through. I’ve been here 3 years now and finally feel more settled. It does take a while to adapt to a new home no matter how near or far away. I’m gradually come off citalopram because of the weight again, hair loss and decrease in sex drive. I hope all is well. Linda

  33. I’m desperate. I’m 25. I have bipolar deoression, PTSD, anxiety disorder and panic attacks. About 2 1/2 years ago, all of my trauma hit me at once. I was crying constantly. I became agoraphobic and afraid to leave the house. I totally isolated myself. Then, about a year and a half ago, I began getting daily migraines. I’ve been unable to work for about a year now from migraines in combination with ny PTSD. I’m taking 20mg paxil in the morning, and .50mg Xanax twice a day.

    This keeps me pretty much at a base level, but literally anything can trigger anxiety at any time. I’ve gained 30 lbs in 3 years. For the first 2 years I worked out CONSTANTLY. I ate very restrictive diets, no sugar/no processed food, etc. I lifted weights 4-6 days a week and really took a lot of pride in my lifestyle. My weight gain didn’t budge. After 2 years, I became frustrated, feeling like nothing I did made any difference.

    I still eat pretty healthy, and I still work out, but due to my migraines I’m much less consistent… this weight gain is really causing some serious self loathing for me. My doctors have been treating it like it’s no big deal, and that I’m healthy and fine. Until an endrocanologist told me to try weight watchers. I’m done. I’m at a loss. Now I’m gaining about 5 lbs every 2 or 3 weeks… I started at 125 and a size 0, now I’m 155 and an 8.

    I just don’t know what’s going on… My husband says the weight gain is a small price to pay for my functionality, but I don’t think he realizes what self loathing can do to your mental health. (And I’m actually not that functional. I’ve all but ended all social interaction, and I’m about to start working again, but I’m terrified.) Help?

  34. It is even hard to begin to tell my story here because I am so weary and think how much energy I have to exert to put down my thoughts as it will take so long. I am 63 and have been sad, anxious for most of my adult life due to horrible parents that didn’t love me and a life of not fitting in anywhere. I have taken antidepressants in two sections. First for many years in late twenties to late thirties. My weight went up significantly. I can’t remember the name of the drug. After a few years off the drug I had a hard time at work and ended up being put back on aropax 20mg in my early 40s.

    I have been on this drug ever since and my weight is horrific. I am now 50kgs over weight I have type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia and absolutely no motivation to do anything to help myself. I am totally lost. I increased my dosage to 30mg about 10 years ago due to feeling so sad and anxious. In the past month I have tried to reduce but I can’t cope and am crying all the time so go back to 30mg and the crying and coping with life settles down. I eat sugary foods everyday and crave them everyday. I am obese now and ashamed of my weight, but what can I do? I hate my life.

    • I’ve been on paxil for one year 20mg. I weighed 132, now I weigh 149 and barely 5’0… I crave strawberry toaster strudels regularly =) yum… I’m definitely not happy about my weight gain, but if I had to choose to be a little fluffy or have anxiety/panic attacks. Hands down I’ll take fluffy. Going through trial and error of antidepressants/anxiolytics was pure hell for me.

      Paxil works wonders for me no bad side effects other than weight gain. I decided to pick my battles wisely and anxiety is not one I want to battle. I do want to lose weight so I guess I’m going to try exercise and not buy strudels =( . I hope all works out for you.

    • Dear Robyn, I’m so sorry about how you feel. I believe one of the reason why you feel so bad is the medication. Nobody knows what are the long time side effects of antidepressants. I mean long time effects, when you are taking them decades.

      Some experts suspect they lead any kind of health problems with the brain and nerves. Of course they do, these meds alter the brain chemistry!!! I think this is your case too. I took Seroxat (Paxil) ten years, I was on and off it. For a year it was a highest dose, 60 mg.

      It made my anxiety to cease, and I put on around 20 kg. But the scariest was that strange feeling which I often had when laying down, like I’m floating in the air. I literally felt my head buzzing!!! I decided I don’t want to end up like a drug addict so I stopped taking it. Now I’m fighting the anxiety with fish.

      Eat every day a portion of mackerel and feel much better – without antidepressants. Omega3 capsules don’t work, because they don’t dissolve in the gut. The body much easier absorbs omega3 fatty acids in the form of fish, it really helps.

  35. Hi, everyone. I’ve been on Paxil for nearly nine years and in that time I’ve gained about 40 pounds. In some ways I blame Paxil, but I think there are many factors. The main one, I think, was that before Paxil I had terrible anxiety stomachaches. I didn’t know for the longest time that other people didn’t have them! I thought it was somewhat normal to feel ill immediately after eating a meal.

    Having these stomach issues in turn caused more anxiety and more issues. When I went on Paxil an unexpected effect was that my stomach no longer cramped up in anxiety every day. Suddenly I was able to eat a sandwich…and chips…and a cookie…and feel fine. It was like a miracle, an awakening. I had deprived myself for so long, only eating small things like yogurt and bananas, that I went all out. I know for a fact that contributed to my weight gain.

    Also, I’m 36 now–of course my metabolism has slowed down, and I actually used to work out pretty regularly. I’m sedentary now with my job, and I come home to my dogs and sit on the couch for hours. We walk, but it’s certainly not enough. I have had some success with weight loss when I really put my mind to it and keep a food journal to make sure I’m not going overboard with my calorie intake.

    I think it would help to start lifting weights and working out regularly, too. I also read that taking fish oil can help replace some of what’s “taken” with Paxil. I’m very discouraged by my body, but Paxil has worked wonders for my mental health (I have OCD), and I want to do whatever I can to lose weight on the medication before I switch to something else. I’ll be honest, I’m terrified of relapsing.

  36. I’ve been on Paxil for about 10 months – 10 mg a night. I’ve gained 10 lbs. Before I started taking it, I needed to lose 10 pounds so I’m about 20 lbs overweight and really hate it. I’ve decided to start weaning off of it, which is why I found this website. I was going to go from 10 to 5, but that’s way more than is advised, so I’ll try the 10% a month. I will chat with my doctor first. What is another SSRI that does not cause weight gain?

    The lady above with the boss who made fun of her weight gain is a saint. That person has serious problems, not you. I would have gone to HR if someone I worked with was harassing me like that.

  37. I have been on Paxil for a little over a year and i went from a size 6 to a size 12… I’m off now and just staying on Welbutrin… YOU WILL GAIN WEIGHT!

  38. I’ve been on paxil for 6 months, and in the first month I felt very nauseous, and had no appetite. I lost weight. As the paxil started kicking in an I started to feel better so did my appetite. I started craving sugar, specially peanut butter, ice cream and chocolate and pasta. I’ve gained 11 lbs. I’m now weaning off, I’m down to my last 2 pills and for the last few days I feel dizziness, mild headaches, nausea.

    And I’m really scared if my panic attacks come back. Paxil really helped me, I was having constant panicked attacks, I felt moody, yelled, no concentration and after a few months on it, I was back to my old self again. My doctor and I decided it was the right time to wean off, I really don’t want to take anymore medicine for anxiety, so I’ll see what happens next.

    • How has the transformation gone so far? You sound exactly like me. Except I’ve gained 20lbs. ? I’d also like to come off meds but I’m soooo worried about panic attacks returning. The Paxil has completely kept them at bay.

  39. I have been on Paxil 20 mg exactly a year now. Before taking the medication I had lost 10 lbs due to my anxieties being so bad. Since then I have gained 20 lbs and I am not happy about it. Yes I needed my 10 lbs back to look healthy again but I sure didn’t need the extra 10 pounds that followed. I have done everything to get the extra weight off and nothing seems to work. It’s frustrating… I’m in the midst of cutting my meds down in hopes that the lower dose will let me get that extra weight off. I’m also hoping the lower dose will still give me the benefits I need to help keep the anxiety away as well. Maybe I’m asking to much but I’m falling into a depression with the extra weight.

      • I recently lost my husband of 32 years. I lost 30 pounds in 90 days. While I wanted to lose 10 as always, this was drastic and not healthy. I just started the lowest dose of Paxil yesterday. I woke up so sick to my stomach, is this normal? I have not been to the gym since he passed so I am hoping I will have the energy to get back to my routine. I would hate to gain all of it and then some back. Right now sleep is what I need and we are hoping the Paxil will help. I also take xanax and trazodone. Oh yeah high anxiety and deep depression not a good combo.

        • I had ‘morning sickness’ for the first few weeks of starting on generic paxil. I also had migraines from hell. I switched to brand name and both symptoms have gone away. Although the 20 lb weight gain has me now contemplating changing my meds. I could live with a size 18 butt, but to be able to get into my hubby’s pants (literally) is rather embarrassing.

  40. I was on paroxetine for about two years and stopped taking it because of the severe weight gain. I can’t remember what dose i was taking but I do know that it was high as my mum was concerned about it. As far as I was concerned and can remember, my appetite didn’t change and I was getting a total 40 mins of fast walking every day (to and from work) Within the first 3 months of taking paroxetine, I gained 24lbs!

    My boss at the time started making extremely inappropriate comments about me being “the size of a house” and how my “massive arse had to squeeze between the desks”… I went back to my GP and she agreed I had gained weight severely. Rather than address the problem she had me stand on the scales and then prescribed a weight loss medication – diet pills! I went away in tears.

    I read about the awful side effects of the diet pills and decided that they weren’t good for the body so I decided to come off paroxetine. The weight gain was really affecting my mental health, along with the bullying from the boss at work and that completely out weighed any good that the medicine was contributing.

    It’s taken me 2 years to lose the weight and the trauma I went though whilst on paroxetine was enough that I was too scared to try other antidepressants so I’ve had to battle my illness by myself. I wouldn’t advise that to anyone else but I know my mental state and character and was strong enough to do that.

    • Oh Alice, I feel so terrible for you! Your horrible boss should be fired!! What an ass! I gained around 25 lbs when I went on Paxil and feel the effects of the weight gain. Sorry this happened to you!

    • Maybe I misunderstood, but you speak of the side effects of the diet pills, but there’s no mention of the withdrawal symptoms when you got off Paxil. From what I heard, that can be pure hell.

      • Oh my yes, pure hell. I was on Paxil for maybe 5 months and I gained about 25 lbs. I decided to get off the drug and after what I read figured reducing the amount I took slowly would be best. It was not. I did 1/2 my dose for a week then cold turkey. I have been sick for 2 weeks straight. I have electric shock feeling, dizziness, numbness and tingling along with a sea sick feeling.

        I slept for nearly 3 days straight and continue to need naps (2-3 hour) to function. This was all within the first week on a reduced strength. I contacted my dr and he suggested stopping the medicine cold turkey. It has been 2 weeks since I started this process and I’m finally starting to feel more my old self. I’m looking forward to being normal again so I can get this weight off.

  41. I’ve been on Paxil (not CR, just the good ol’ original) for 20 years–20mg daily for the first 16 years, and now 15 mg daily. The only time I noticed weight gain was when I was overeating unhealthy foods consistently and not exercising (the former something that any emotional eater does off and on throughout their life; the latter…see the former). I do think it’s possible it has affected how often and when I crave certain foods; however, it’s more likely my cravings are stress-induced and psychological.

    At 2 times during this 20-year span I have lost 25+ pounds when adopting a moderate, healthy, and reasonable (non-restrictive) diet with added moderate exercise (which helps a lot with mental wellness as we all know). Although I wish that I had gotten off of Paxil many years ago and was not dependent on it, the low dosage (15 mg) I take daily has helped me a lot with generalized anxiety, so the benefits outweigh any costs, in my case.

  42. I’ve been on paxil for 10 years and if anything I lost weight! For the first year I was chubby, but afterwards until now I’ve been the smallest I’ve ever been. I went from a size 7 in pants to a 1-3. & a medium/large to a small/xs. I find when I don’t take my dosage one night the next day I have cravings for food. Also I’ve tried multiple times to get off of this medication but can’t for the life of me.


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