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Celexa and Weight Gain: Causes & Factors To Consider

Celexa (Citalopram) is a drug that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression. It works as an SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) which increases extracellular levels of serotonin. It is believed that by increasing serotonin, it is an effective treatment for major depression as well as various forms of anxiety and panic disorders. It has been around since 1998 and is still regarded as a very popular antidepressant treatment.

Despite the fact that many people get relief from depressive or anxious symptoms while taking this drug, many people experience unwanted side effects. Perhaps the most obvious and difficult side effect to deal with is that of weight gain. Packing on a few pounds isn’t generally considered a big deal, but some people end up packing on more than just a few as a result of the treatment.

Celexa and Weight Gain

There is research showing that anyone taking SSRIs like Celexa for a long term (e.g. 6 to 12 months) will likely gain some weight. Not everyone will gain a significant amount, but the fact is that certain individuals gain so much weight, that the weight gain itself becomes a source of depression and anxiety. This ends up becoming a Catch-22 – treat the original symptoms, but gain weight and feel depressed and anxious about it.

How Celexa Causes Weight Gain: List of Theories

There hasn’t been much scientific research conducted as to why antidepressants, particularly SSRIs like Celexa cause people to gain weight. In the past, most patients were told that Celexa won’t cause any weight gain. Now, we know that it probably will, but most professionals don’t really know why. Below are some possibilities of how this drug causes people to gain weight.

  • Appetite increase: A number of people may be so depressed prior to taking Celexa that they experience a poor appetite and/or don’t eat much. When the drug starts working, they may become hungrier and start eating more meals. The amount of appetite increase that a person experiences is subject to individual variation.
  • Body’s fat storage: It is possible the mechanism by which the body stores fat becomes altered when a person takes an SSRI. This leads to some people experiencing an increase of body-fat in places such as the stomach, chest, and/or hips. While not everyone accepts this theory, it is still a possibility.
  • Carbohydrate cravings: Many people start taking Celexa and notice that they crave carbohydrates. Since there is a clear link between the neurotransmitter serotonin and carbohydrates, some speculate that the drug-induced serotonergic alterations are responsible for making some people crave carbohydrates. If you start eating junk food, sugary food, or develop cravings after you start the drug, it’s probably a byproduct of the Celexa.
  • Drug interactions: If you are taking other medications (or drugs), the Celexa may be interacting with it to further increase weight gain. Those taking an antipsychotic along with an SSRI often notice this to be the case. Some drugs work synergistically to alter homeostatic functioning and can significantly slow metabolism.
  • Hormonal abnormalities: In some cases, it is believed that Celexa is capable of altering hormone levels. As a person continues long-term treatment with this medication, it is possible that the drug changes levels of certain hormones, which causes weight gain. When our bodies don’t produce adequate amounts of certain hormones and/or produce excess amounts of other hormones (e.g. cortisol), it’s easy to gain weight.
  • Improved taste: Many people notice that their tastebuds perk up when they take an antidepressant. This leads them to enjoy food more than prior to being medicated. The improved taste may lead to more frequent snacking and food consumption than in the past.
  • Motivation deficit: It’s possible to become less motivated when taking medications. Many people taking antidepressants have a tough time getting to the gym or even getting some basic exercise because the drug depletes their intrinsic motivation.
  • Side effects: Certain side effects from this drug may lead someone to become lazier than usual. If you feel lethargic, sleepy, sluggish, or drowsy after you take this drug, chances are that you’re not in any hurry to get out of bed, let alone get physical activity. The side effects alone can make a person so tired, that they have a difficult time staying active which leads to a slowed metabolism.
  • Slow metabolism: A well-accepted theory is that when a person takes an SSRI, it slows a person’s metabolism. This means that even if a person is eating the same diet they were prior to taking Celexa, they are going to experience some weight gain. If you are exercising and eating healthy, but are still packing on pounds, it’s likely due to a metabolic alteration.
  • Social eating: Those that find this drug helping their depression and/or anxiety may start doing things with friends and co-workers. One such activity that they may take up is that of social dining or going out to eat with others. While going out to eat isn’t bad if healthy foods are selected, most people order comfort foods when eating with others. Continuous social eating is often a fast-track method to gain weight.

Note: The above theories are all possibilities as to how Celexa may contribute to weight gain. Keep in mind that one specific change such as slowed metabolism may cause you to gain weight, but a combination of changes is the more likely cause.

Factors that influence weight gain on Celexa

There are a variety of factors that influence the amount of weight you’ll gain from taking Celexa. Keep in mind that these include individual factors like genetics, the dosage you’re taking, how long you’ve been on the drug, as well as interactions with other drugs.

1. Dosage

The drug comes in 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg tablets. Those that are taking a relatively high dose like 40 mg are more likely to gain weight. The more you increase your dose of a drug, the more changes it elicits upon your physiological functions. Each time you increase your dosage, you also increase the potential (and possibly the amount) of weight gain. If you are taking a low dose such as 5 mg or 10 mg, you may not gain any noticeable weight.

2. Individual factors

There are a variety of individual factors that will influence how much weight someone could gain on this medication. These include things like: environmental stress, baseline metabolism, genetics, hormones, sleep patterns, dietary intake, exercise, and habits. Those who eat healthy foods and get plenty of exercise may be less likely to gain significant weight.

People who don’t get sufficient sleep, eat a lot of carbohydrates, and don’t exercise are thought to gain more weight. It is always important to consider the efforts you are making to keep your weight healthy. You may also want to consider checking out GeneSight, a test that analyzes your genetics to determine how well you’ll tolerate Celexa.

3. Time span

The duration over which you have been taking Celexa plays a role in determining whether you’ll gain weight. Those who take the drug for a short-term (e.g. a few months) may not gain any weight. Some studies show that most people gain weight after they’ve been taking this drug for 6 to 12 months.

This is likely due to the fact that the body has become increasingly reliant on the drug and certain homeostatic functions have been altered. Most people also notice that their antidepressant stops working as a result of tolerance when taken over the long term. This typically leads to an increase in dosage, which is known to further increase weight gain.

4. Other drugs/medications

Always think about the effect of other medications (besides Celexa) on your weight. If you are taking any other drugs, they may be interacting with Celexa to increase the amount of weight you gain. If multiple medications are slowing your metabolism, the cumulative weight gain resulting from combined treatments may be even more significant than just taking one or the other.

Individuals that suspect multiple medications are causing an increase in weight may want to talk to their doctor about alternative strategies. Figuring out which drug is having a greater impact on your weight is often tricky, but may be worthwhile if you can afford to stop one of the treatments.

How much weight will you gain from Celexa?

Many studies suggest that compared to other SSRIs, Celexa seems to be the least likely to cause weight gain. Those that take the drug for just a short-term (e.g. less than 6 months) may actually lose weight or remain weight neutral. In general though, those that take any SSRI medication for over 6 months are likely to experience some weight gain.

Experts suggest that the amount of weight gained is an average of 10 lbs. over the course of SSRI treatment. Another study found that people gained an average of 15.7 lbs. after just 2 months of treatment. There appears to be conflicting evidence in regards to how much weight you’ll gain (on average) from this drug.

Will everyone gain weight while taking Celexa?

Not everyone will gain weight while taking Celexa. Those that are taking adjunct treatments (e.g. stimulants) that increase activity in the central nervous system may gain no weight. Others that take particularly astute care of their dietary intake and exercise habits may not gain much weight from this drug. Some studies suggest that 1/4 individuals taking an SSRI will gain weight. However, if you’re on Celexa for a long-term, some weight gain is likely inevitable.

Celexa: Cost-Benefit Analysis

When taking any drug, it is important to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment and compare it to the drawbacks that you’re experiencing. In other words, analyze the benefits (degree of efficacy) and compare it with the costs (side effects). If Celexa has stopped working or isn’t working well, plus you are gaining weight, it may be worth considering another medication and/or pursuing Celexa withdrawal. If this drug is working well, and you only gained a little weight, the little bit of weight is likely a fair tradeoff for the significant improvement in mood.

Did you gain weight while taking Celexa?

Although not everyone will pack on excess weight while taking Celexa, it would be nice if the people who gained weight could share their experience. Feel free to discuss what you think caused you to gain weight, what dosage you took, how long you had been taking Celexa, etc. Sharing your story may help someone else relate who may have also experienced the inevitable, dreaded weight gain associated with SSRI medications.

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107 thoughts on “Celexa and Weight Gain: Causes & Factors To Consider”

  1. On 40 mg of Citalopram for 1 year put on 26 pounds. Always ate carbs before I went on it but was fairly active. No change in diet but a big change in activity. Now I can’t get motivated at all most days. Hardly go out and have to pace myself to do things like getting a bath combing my hair doing housework which I congratulate myself for achieving as it is so hard for me to do. Not happy or unhappy; comfortable numb.

  2. I started taking celexa about 4 months ago and have gained about 15 pounds. It’s been good for me because I was skinny as a rail and now I’m putting some weight on. I’d like to gain another 20 pounds and I’ll be happy.

  3. I took 40 mg of Celexa and Wellbutrin XL for four years. Gained 50 pounds. All of it in my stomach area. My partner stopped having sex with me. I tried and tried to lose the weight and didn’t lose an ounce. That only added to my depression. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. All I did was sleep because I was so depressed about being fat and thinking my partner didn’t love me anymore.

    I stopped taking it and the Wellbutrin ten months ago and made a couple of simple changes to my eating habits. I have lost thirty pounds since then, without having to drastically reduce my caloric intake and without having to endure workouts. I no longer sleep as much as I was either. My sex drive is back to normal but sadly my sex life has not yet returned.

    However, I’m starting to feel good about myself and am enjoying the attention I’m getting from other people. I feel sexy and energetic again, and I can live with that. I’ll find other ways to deal with my anxiety if it means not being fat.

  4. I have been taking citalapram (celexa) for a year now. It certainly helped me feel much better, I have gained weight over this period, about 7 lbs, despite consistent exercise, which I have always done. I put it down to my own indulgence? But have put a lot of time and effort to eating less to no avail. About a 6 weeks ago I decided to discuss coming off it with my GP.

    She gave me a plan of slowly decreasing the amount over a period of 2 months. I will be taking my last tablet mid week next week (10 mg down from 20 mg per day.) I do feel tired and a little weepy but hope these symptoms will pass. What I gave noticed is a small but consistent drop in weight over this time of about 3 lbs.

    It had not occurred to me that the weight gain was anything to do with the antidepressant. Perhaps it is? Let us hope that the weight loss continues and the depression stays away. Hope this gives you cause for optimism.

  5. I gained about 30 pounds in the 3 months after starting celexa. I had to work really hard to stop anymore being gained and despite my best gym and dieting efforts I couldn’t lose any. It’s been about a year now and I’ve stopped taking it with no withdrawals. It was easy to stop and it’s been 2 weeks so I’m hoping I’ll be able to start shedding some of this weight.

  6. I’m on 10mg of Celexa and over the course of 9 months I gained a significant amount of weight. My eating habits and exercise habits stayed the same, my only change during those 9 months was starting Celexa. It works very well for me, but I wish I knew a way to combat the weight gain.

  7. I have been taking Celexa for two years and have noticed weight gain in the stomach area. I am trying to hit the gym more often and walk 15 miles per week. I feel good on the Celexa as the trade off. JM

  8. I’m so glad I went on this site and researched the affiliation of celexa and weight gain. Never had any issues with weight gain and I work out 4-5 times a week. I’m very physically fit and after about 12-13 months of taking celexa, I noticed a weight gain. A few lbs at first, then continued weight gain no matter what I did. 1,000 calories a day, logging calories. working out like a maniac! I decided to research. Like anything else, we have to be our own advocate. Doctors don’t tell us about all the wonderful side effects. I’m stopping cold turkey today. I’ve had enough of a 14 lb weight gain!

    • Hi Tammy, have you now stopped taking the Celexa? If so have you managed to lose any weight? I have been completely off Celexa now for 7 months. I have been exercising and eating healthy (exercising when I have the energy because I still feel quite fatigued some days) and still have lost nothing.

      It is all in my hips and stomach area and I get very bloated (do you find you are bloated now since you have had Celexa in your system?). Most of my clothes still don’t fit! It is so frustrating! All my life I have been thin and never had problems with my weight. Thanks, it would be great to hear your progress as well as others on this discussion.

  9. I have been in citalopram (Celexa) twice. 1st time gained 10 lbs, it did eventually come off (not sure exactly how long it took). 2nd time being on the citalopram gained 10 to 15 lbs. I have been off the medication for 5 months now and NO change I my weight. It is very frustrating. I am putting much more of an effort now to exercise 4 days a week and eating much cleaner.

    It has been a few weeks and nothing, I just feel like I am starving. And I am still feeling the extra fax jiggling, it is driving me nuts. I am not going to stop, I am absolutely determined to get rid of these extra pounds. I will NEVER take this medication again. I am not myself physically or mentally, I just don’t feel right, even after being off the medication.

    This stuff is messed up!!! Has anyone lost the weight? If so, how long did it take to come off? Thanks.

  10. I have been on 10mg for just over a month. While I have to admit, it has helped with anxiety, after the 2nd week, I began to feel lethargic in the daytime and drowsy early in the evening, dozing off by 8:30pm. Usually a deep sleeper, nights became restless and I began to sleep in a bit. In the 3-4th weeks, I suddenly have gained 5 pounds. And I work out on a regular basis. But I have also become amazingly hungry all the time. Between the lethargy, sleep issues, weight gain and anxiety over that, I plan to quit Celexa.

  11. I have been on antidepressants/anxiety meds on and off since I was in my teens. I have severe anxiety and panic attacks. Last February during a period when I wasn’t taking anything, I had a couple severe panic attacks and decided to get back on something. I had taken zoloft before with extreme weight gain and my doctor decided to have my try celexa. And WOW, did I gain weight.

    Over the course of almost a year I have gained probably 20-30 lbs. I will attribute some of that to my diet as I am not the most healthy, however from past experience I can tell that the meds are causing me to gain like crazy. I feel terrible. The weight gain is causing my depression and anxiety to spike and increase tremendously. And it is IMPOSSIBLE to lose while on this drug.

    I am so disgusted and insecure that it is affecting my relationship with my boyfriend. Over the last couple of weeks I have weaned myself off and am hoping that with some vigorous exercise and better diet the weight will start to come off. The withdrawal symptoms have been terrible for me- mood swings, anger, irritability and the severe anxiety is back again.

    I am trying not to feel hopeless and stay positive. I am glad I am not the only one with the same side effects and I am also glad I am not the only one feeling this way! If anybody has any tips on dealing with withdrawal symptoms or how to get rid of some of this weight let me know! I would love to have any advice, tips, or words of encouragement!

  12. I’m usually so busy that I haven’t had time to think much about this topic and didn’t put 2 and 2 together, but after reading all of these stories, I am convinced that I have gained weight because of the citalopram. I am a pretty active person who walks a lot and does a lot, eats pretty healthfully, etc. I think I’ve gained about 40 pounds in the last 10 years – and I eat the way I have always eaten. I can only attribute this problem to having been on Citalopram for about this much time.

    Today I walked, probably, 5 miles – and this is typical. I am very often hungry, and today I finally was wondering why and decided to look into the problem. I weaned myself off dairy (drink 30-calorie/cup almond milk) because I am a singer, eat very little red meat, eat sweets only once in a while, don’t drink sodas, etc. I do drink red wine but only moderately. That’s about my worst vice, but again, the weight gain has been ridiculous.

  13. I took Celexa for about 5 years (20mg daily dosage). During this time, I was experiencing a large amount of major transitional changes, some of which I was able to cope with with the help of Celexa. However, I managed to gain over 35 pounds during this time. It wasn’t until I completely stopped the medication (after switching to a reduced dosage of 10mg for a few months) when I noticed myself slimming down completely without any major changes to activity or diet. My whole life I have eaten a mostly plant based diet, and stayed quite physically active. Now, a year after stopping Celexa, I am steady at a normal weight. I truly believe Celexa was slowing my metabolism to the point of unhealthy rapid weight gain.

  14. I am glad that I have found this site. I have been on this drug now for 10 months and have gain loads of weight. I am doing nothing that I haven’t done in the past and am still gaining weight. I am going away for X-mas and I am going to go cold turkey. I will still take the tablets with me just in case, but I had wondered if the tablet was causing the weight gain.

  15. Hi. 5 years ago I was put on celexa at the hospital. It took away the anxiety that I had but made me very lazy. In the morning I took the drug with my coffee and watched the news, 2 hours later I was falling asleep and went back to bed. 2 weeks ago I just stopped taking it cold turkey. Putting on 50 lbs over the 5 years. When I was searching the web for info on side effects from stopping celexa I came across this site and read everything, saying to myself that fits me all the way.

    I feel fine, no more going back to bed in the middle of the day. Waiting to see if I will lose some of this awful belly fat and I am so self-conscious about it. If you stop taking it, talk to your doctor first and find out if you really need to keep taking it. I did have a little withdrawal problems, but I knew why so with a lot of deep breathing and doing things they are no more. Let me tell you why I was on it…

    I was a smoker and took a drug which helped me stop, it did so I stopped taking it. The side effects of stopping the drug made me homicidal and suicidal. My whole way of thinking went wrong, I even bought a gun (illegally) and was prepared to take other and then myself. I was still sane enough to go to the doctor, who put my in the psychic ward for 3 weeks, thats how I ended up on celexa, which solved the problem.

    If you’re a smoker, taking Chantix should be done only under a doctors continual supervision. The withdrawal symptoms of this drug can be deadly. Now I am smoking again, better than blowing your brains out. I got my personality back now, I can shout, get upset, and have fun. Just thought I would share.

  16. I am 43 now, about 2 years ago, I went on Celexa for nearly a year. I gained 30 pounds. All in the stomach and pelvic area. An area I never really carried fat. It’s been a year since I took the Celexa and it has been slow going getting the weight off, but it is happening. I was comfortable in a bikini… now I am not even comfortable in a one piece.

    I may need to have surgery to get the pelvic fat removed. It is killing my sexuality. Everything in outside of that area is just fatty. No matter what weight I lose in other places… My stomach is half the size it was, but the pelvic area just looks bigger now because of it.

  17. So, I was put on citalopram/Celexa after my hysterectomy, and have done nothing but pack on pounds. I cannot lose it. I would like to come off this medication, BUT I feel it is the only thing keeping my Crohn’s disease in remission. My weight gain has caused problems between my husband and myself, and I feel powerless to fix it; I wish SOMEONE could make him understand that this really isn’t my fault.

  18. I’ve been taking Citalopram for 8 months now and I have seen a massive increase in appetite and weight gain of approximately 15lbs. I am absolutely devastated. For me, it is all carbohydrates… bread in particular. I can find myself craving a full loaf of bread throughout a day. I have recently had an increase in my citalopram dose to 30mg and as you say it is a catch-22 situation.

    The doctors believe my weight gain and cravings are severe due to a combination of this and the contraceptive impant therefore this has been removed. My cravings are still there and I am trying my best to keep them under control. Thanks for the article. It is an eye opener for many.

  19. I have been on Celexa for about 4 years, I slowly weaned myself off of it. I haven’t even told my Dr. I am doing this. I gained 55 pounds, and I also have a bad thyroid so you can imagine how difficult this is. I have been off of it for 2 weeks and lost 3 pounds so far, not much but it is a start. Won’t get back on this stuff ever again, it helped in the beginning but dang the added weight caused more depression that anything.

  20. I have been on citalopram 20mg for 4 years. I have gained 20lbs, yet I do more exercise than ever. Just doesn’t come off. Going to come off them soon, I take it at night as it also makes me drowsy.

  21. Hi. I have been taking this drug (20mg) for 6 months, after a prolonged period of stress resulting in depression and anxiety. Although the I lost a few pounds during this unhappy period, before this I maintained my weight for many, many years quite successfully. However, I have gained 10lbs without really changing much about my diet. It has been a wonderful help to me, and has enabled me to get back to work and start enjoying life again.

    However, I am conscious that I don’t want this weight gain to continue. I plan to chat to my GP about reducing the dose to 10mg, as I am also experiencing problems with tiredness which I think is also being caused by the medication. However, it is somewhat comforting to know that I am not alone with the weight gain issues!

  22. I have been on 40mg of Celexa for about a year now and have gained 30lbs! I guess I’m just going to have to stay overweight because if I go off Celexa I might rip someone’s head off!

  23. I’ve maintained the same weight for the last three years. After two months of taking 20mg I have gained approximately 10lbs without a noticeable change in eating habits or activity level. I suspected a lowered metabolism is the cause. I will be ceasing treatment for a couple weeks to see if that makes any difference.

  24. Hello everyone, I am so glad that I decided to do some research about my Celexa. I have been on this drug for about 8 months now and I have gained a whopping 35 pounds! I can’t stop eating, and I have zero energy or motivation to exercise. This is not like me at all. I feel HORRIBLE about the way I look, and am depressed because of it. I think it’s time to wean myself off of this, and deal with my problems the good old fashioned way. Thank you everyone for opening my eyes. For the first time in months, I have hope. Holy irony.

  25. I can’t believe it! I was put on Celexa 20 mg back in 2001. I have gained over 86 pounds. Just went off of it six months ago and I’ve lost 46 pounds. My GAD has come back in full swing but I’m too afraid to try anything.

  26. I have been taking 40 mg for over a year and my weight gain has been from 210 to 250… I would like to lose the weight but how? I have an enormous appetite. What is a solution?

  27. I started celexa for post partum depression and anxiety… It was a horrible first four months while I was waiting for it to work, then it just clicked. I’m still on it 18 months now at 40mg. I know my weight gain was due to nursing and huge baby syndrome (10lbs!) so I have extra skin. Ok I thought. I got new clothes cuz I’ll never be size 7 again… But now I’m 13, or size 11?

    I’ve gained 20lbs in just two months alone. My new birthday clothes are quite tight. And to think they wanted me in a higher dose, this weight gain is making me lazy and more depressed. I have a kid to care for, I can’t complain about something like this… But the weight gain is too noticeable. I’ll ask tomorrow about weaning down.

  28. What a relief to see that I’m not alone!! I’ve been on Celexa 20mg for a little over a year now. I’ve gained over 20lbs but attributed it to being not active and eating the wrong foods. I got motivated within the last 3 months and started working out and and eating healthy and have gained 5 more pounds!! It’s depressing to see hard work not going anywhere. I was prescribed the Celexa for adjustment disorder and anxiety, but with the weight gain I’m actually feeling depressed. I’ve called my doctor and hope to get weaned off this med so I can feel like myself again.

  29. For some like myself…I lost weight on CELEXA, alot of weight (16kg/35Lbs). I’ve been on Celexa for about 4 months (started at 10mg (8 weeks) then increased increased to 20mg. I do not workout. I just do not eat as much, I enjoy food – but I no longer overindulge. Due to anxiety I use to find myself eating just to eat or waking up in the middle of the night to snack…almost every night.

    Lack of appetite is a S/E my doctor is aware and monitors my weight monthly. Based on the BMI chart – I was considered obese when I started Celexa…now I am in the normal range. This medication works differently for each person…I was nervous about weight-gain – but the benefit of the medication and my mental health outweighed the risk.

  30. I went on Celexa for about a year and a half. It has been a couple of years but I believe it was 40mg. I was never told that I could gain weight on it. While I was on it, I just so happened to be drinking more water and working out more than ever. I started to notice that I was gradually gaining weight which did not make sense as my habits were better than ever. I started to accept that since I was turning 40, that my metabolism must have slowed down.

    Then, it dawned on me that my weight gain might be from the celexa! I googled it and was horrified to find out that most people do gain weight while on it. I had gained about 45 lbs for no good reason!! I immediately went to my doctor and weened off the Celexa. It has been 4 years, and I have not been able to lose any of it! Its almost as if the Celexa destroyed or damaged my metabolism for good. It has been a miserable 4 years. Please don’t use it unless you have lots of room for extra fat!

  31. I’ve had anxiety for years and although I’ve had many different prescriptions, I am currently on celexa 20mg. I eat clean and I work out, hard, 6 days a week with a personal trainer. I have gained muscle but my body fat is not improving. Like the article mentions, it’s a catch-22. If I dare stop the celexa, I’m aggressive, sensitive, and have really dark thoughts, but when I’m on it, my weight gives me anxiety. My doctor added buspirone in the hopes my chest tightness would go away but after 2 months, no change…

  32. I was on citalopram (cipramil) 20mg per day for 3 months due to extreme anxiety. It worked a treat, I loved it. I didn’t gain any weight until I went off it. I went from 55.5kg to 64kg in a matter of 3 months. I started eating half of what I normally do and I just kept going up. I ended up so stressed out I went back on it 8 months later to find out it doesn’t have the same effect as the first time around (3 weeks).

    I am slowly coming off now, I am scared it will happen again but I can’t take it if it doesn’t work. Now it makes me feel depressed, introverted and anxious. I am seeing doctors but all say it’s in my head. I will switch to another SSRI and a lower dosage until I can get over this hurdle. I wish I had of put weight on while on it so I could just stop and go back to normal. Has anyone else had this problem??

    • I’m encouraged to read of someone else whose experience is like mine. I’ve always been slim, fit and healthy and have always known how to count calories and make adjustments whenever I’ve put on a couple of pounds over holidays etc. I went on 20mg of Citalopram July 2015 because of depression. It was a great drug and within a few weeks I felt normal again.

      Over the first 4-5 months I only gained one or two pounds which I could not shift but decided I could live with till I came off the drug. In months 5-6 that became 3-4 pounds. I slowly weaned myself off over months 6-7 and have been drug free for around a month now. But my weight gain is now up to around 6-8 pounds. Yep – it’s gone up since I’ve stopped taking the drug!! I’ve continued to work out at curves 3 times per week over this whole period, and sometimes run on the days in between.

      I’ve kept up my calorie controlled eating. Over the last month I’ve seriously cut my calories again and am working out even harder. But the weight just won’t shift. It’s really starting to get me down. I’m worried that the drug has permanently damaged my metabolism or hormone levels and that this is just a new norm. Very worried.

      • I completely relate to your story, I’ve been off it about 3m and I gained 6 lbs and I was so depressed and the withdraws were so strong I hated my self. Just in the past two or three days I noticed 1lb-2lb diff big wow but hey it’s better than going up. I’m not giving up I need to get back to my self BC who I see in the mirror right now is not me. I wish you the best of luck.

      • I feel your pain. I am 5’2 so the weight I try to keep is 112 – 113 at the most. Whenever I was 115 I started to cut some carbs and sweets and I was able to back to my weight easily. By the time I started taking celexa 20mg I started doing weight watchers and more exercise to lose weight for my wedding.

        After about 4 months I was 107. Then after my wedding I started gaining some weight but I did not worried about it until I weighted 116 then I started cutting back some carbs and sweets as I was doing before but this time nothing was working. Now I am 122 some weeks 125 and my libido disappeared. I stopped celexa in November and started Wellbutrin to try to recover my libido and lose some weight.

        I also started a low carb high protein diet. I have been very strict.. Like I never was before and almost 2 months after doing that diet and exercising more, my weight and measurements remain the same. I just took out a couple more pants that don’t longer fit me. It is very depressing.

        I never had this issue with my weight and even worse now that I stopped the celexa my depression came back. I already had a great metabolism, but after 2 years on celexa all that is gone. I know I just turned 40, but I don’t think your metabolism changed so drastically in 2 years and you gain the weight I gained as quick as I did. Reading all these comments gave me the answer.

        • Diana, I’m 44 and have always been a slim person. 125 lbs range. I’m 5 ft. 6 in. tall. I have been on celexa for years, maybe 10 years? I get really moody and depressed during that time of the month, is why I started taking this med. In the beginning I only took 5 mg, then over the years, my doc upped it to 10mg, and recently, my doc upped it again to 20 mg, and boy I have really noticed the weight gain.

          I’m 139 pounds now and I’m so depressed about the weight gain, but on the other hand my mood has really been much better and I feel much happier. I’m now considering tapering myself off to 10mg again as I can’t stand the way I look and my clothes are all so tight. It’s very frustrating. I too work out 4 days a week, watch what I eat, etc.

          I’m gluten free due to food intolerance and I thought that would for sure help me lose weight, but nope! I’m fairly certain it’s the celexa. These comments helped me as well and I feel a little less frustrated about the weight gain, knowing I’m not alone.

  33. Weight gain from Celexa is absolutely not “inevitable.” I’ve been on Citalopram for close to ten years and it hasn’t affected my appetite or body weight at all. The only real side effect I’ve personally experienced is some withdrawal symptoms upon forgetting to take it for a few days (nausea, shakiness, “brain zaps”). To suggest that weight gain is an inevitability with no real evidence to back that up is irresponsible. Some may gain weight, but from what I’ve been told by doctors and others on this medication, those people are the exception — not the rule.

    • Drs knew very little about the weight gain celexa causes until recently or I would’ve been off of it 8 years ago when I had the calories in calories out argument with my primary. Now they say “Oh yeah, you were right, it was the celexa” you don’t simply gain 65 lbs with no change in habits for no reason. Not gaining is likely the exception. I’ve not met a single person who has not gained with celexa. It’s a great med otherwise, so it’s good to hear from someone who hasn’t experienced this very depressing side effect.

  34. I took Citalopram for 2.5 years. 20mg for the first 1 year and 10 mg after that. I gained about 8kg / 17lbs during the journey, and I did not change anything in my diet or exercise habits. I came off it two months ago and slowly I started to shed the fat.

  35. I have been on Celexa for 3 years now to help with depression. I did find that the drug helped with my symptoms but the weight gain was immediate and intense. I went from 127 to 182 in 3 years (55 pounds!!). My energy level and sex drive took a major dip. I am a biker, runner and fitness trainer and I couldn’t even bring myself into the gym or for a run for the first 2 years on the med.

    I attributed it to working through my depression, which did get better, but the weight gain added a self-esteem issue and of course the disappointment of continuously growing out of my clothes. Last year I forced myself back into the gym and running, but carrying the extra weight around has made it difficult. I’ve been back into working out consistently and the weight had not budged even a pound on the dose I was on. My diet is and always has been on point.

    I went from 40 mg 3 years ago and have weaned down to 10mg over a 3 months period. I’m down 10 pounds so far and feel better. I plan to ditch the drug entirely with my doctors guidance. I understand the research and results on Celexa is different for everyone, but I attribute my weight gain, decreased sex drive and decreased energy to this med. Hopeful to get my body and desire back soon. Talk to your doctor about all options before selecting which med is best for your situation.

  36. I started on 10 mg and noticed a strange sensation in my stomach. My doctor increased the dose to 20 mg which stopped my panic attacks. After 2 months I gained 15 lbs so we tapered back to 5 mg. The weight I gained was pure fat and now I have cellulite on my legs which I did not have before. I was a runner and it’s hard to motivate myself to run. I still enjoy tennis but can’t get to the ball as easily as before. My body fat went from 20 to 27%.

  37. I am so relieved to hear that it is not just me who has gained weight. I am so upset over my weight gain, but celexa is really helping me. I have been taking celexa for about 9 months and in the past couple of months I noticed my clothes not fitting and feeling the weight gain. I have gained 6-10lbs. I don’t work out but I am very active. I coach soccer and I an involved in practice. I have not changed my eating to an extreme of gaining the weight. So now I have to but new clothes b/c nothing fits me. :(

  38. Thank you to everyone sharing their stories! I’m an active and otherwise healthy adult. I started taking 20 mg of citalopram 9 months ago to help with symptoms of post-concussive syndrome. It was almost immediately therapeutic! We upped my dose to 40 mg 7 months ago to see if I could experience even more symptom relief. I did, but I started getting restless sleep with the most bizarre dreams. 6 months ago to, I dropped to 30 mg.

    I noticed I’d been gaining weight but it wasn’t until I had a follow up appointment and weighed in at over 200 lbs (!!!!!!!) that I realized something was going on. I looked at my weight data over time and noticed that I started spiking 6-7 months ago, when I started taking the higher doses. Nothing else has changed. Rather, I trained to run around that 6 month mark. I’m calling my doctor today to reduce my dose to 10 mg.

    • My story is similar to yours. Was on Celexa for almost 4 years… gained over 60 pounds. I hate my appearance… will start weaning myself immediately.

      • Thanks *EVERYONE* for sharing. For the first time in over a year or more I feel like there may be hope for me after all. I’ve been on Cylexa for a few years now & for those same years (now that I really think about it), my weight has climbed from the 150lb range (perfect for me as I’m 5’7″) to 200+. In 2012 is about when I began Celexa after my boyfriend had to move out of state & I finally quite all recreational drugs for good (still clean btw).

        I loved Celexa because it helped me live life where all other drugs failed so I quickly went to 40mg. My weight just kept climbing so much that I decided to stop dating til I got back down to at least my ability to wear my “regular clothes”, not my “fat clothes”. Last doc visit I was 234lbs!!! I look in the mirror & don’t see myself. Sure I don’t cut myself or cry constantly, but I certainly skip social events and family gatherings-including weddings & funerals. Yes I did eat ice cream but I always had (b4 Celexa).

        For the past few months I’ve cut all sweets, cut soda completely, cut processed sugar & try to stay under 1000 calories. I work at *** which involves 10 hours of walking in addition w/random labor so my heart rate is up all day & I sweat like crazy while drinking sometimes 12 (yes 12!) refills of my 20 oz. sports bottle of ice water. I drink light soy milk & eat plenty of fiber & protein. However you’d think I sit down all day stuffing doughnuts & cokes down my throat.

        I HATE WHAT I HAVE BECOME!!! My doc offered a weight loss drug as I’m now pre diabetic, SURPRISE!… right? Grrr. But the side effects are frightening. I can do w/o strokes, cancer & possibly permanent memory issues. Finally he’s given me something called Trintellix 10mg to try in place of the Celexa.

        It’s an SSRI, however studies have shown that there is zero weight gain associated. I’m reluctant because I’m afraid of it not working, however something’s gotta give. I never considered Celexa being the culprit. My doc mentioned the possibility of it causing my fast & immense weight gain but I didn’t think much of it.

        I’m so VERY thankful for everyone that has shared here. I’m now motivated to stop the Celexa ASAP & give the Trintellix a try! After gaining 60-70 lbs… I’m ready now that I know I’m not alone in this nightmare. I wish that we all find a way to happiness w/o weight gain!!! Thanks again all. :)

  39. I’ve been taking 20 mg. of citalopram (Celexa) for a bit over a year. I have gained 20+ pounds. I am even more depressed than when I started taking the meds (I take the Celexa and Wellbutrin). I quit smoking 2+ years ago and gained a little weight, but when I started taking the Celexa is when the weight really started piling on, and I just cannot seem to get rid of it! Any solutions? I’m actually thinking of getting off the medicine and dealing with my crying jags!!!

  40. I was on citalopram (celexa) for 2 years and in that time I gained 24 lbs. I did not eat anything extra, no cravings or added calories. It was the meds for sure. I have now gradually weaned myself off. I am 52 and also know my metabolism is slower but not like this. I have fat in places I never had it before, even after 2 kids. I am now on the Atkins diet and losing weight at last.

    • My story is very similar but I was at 40mg when I notice the weight gain was from the medication. I’ve stopped for almost 3 months and it’s been really hard to loose 1lb. How are you doing now?

  41. I have been on citalopram for nearly 1 year. I have always struggled with my weight but I have now gained an extra 2 stone in this time. The point of the meds was to make me feel better, but now I’m depressed about my weight. Thinking of coming of it cause dont wanna gain even more. Doing loads of exercise and getting no rewards. Dont know what to do for the best. Really want to come of it but don’t think I’m mentally ready… so torn.

  42. I have been on Citalopram for 12 years now. I have gained a total of 75lbs! Nothing has changed. My job is physically demanding and I eat relatively healthy. (Mostly veg and fruit).

  43. I’ve been taking 20mg of Citalopram since December 2013. Within a month I noticed weight gain, but chalked it up to Christmas goodies. Then back to my walking and eating healthy and still the weight didn’t come off. By Jan. 2015 I had gained 15 pounds and in the last 5 months I gained another 5. So, 20 pounds in 17 months. None of my clothes fit, and the weight seems to be concentrated around my belly.

    I know due to my age, 52, my metabolism had dropped, but I normally walk 3-4 miles a day and really watch what I eat (plenty of veggies, fruit and only complex carbs) and I can almost watch the weight pack on. I finally went to my doctor and said enough is enough. She weened me off Celexa and is weening me on Wellbutrin. Fingers crossed. And I hope it also helps with my libido, which had dropped to zilch. UGHHHH!

  44. I have been on citalopram 10mg almost two years. I have gained 20lbs during this time, even with regular exercise and the same diet I’ve always had. To lose a even a few lbs is a massive challenge for me right now. This was never the case for me before this drug. I discussed this with my Doctor and he felt that the med had served its purpose and did want to wean me off of it.

    He also thinks it could be some of the cause of the weight gain. It does make me a bit tired, and I nap very easily so it could have just slowed me down in general in many ways. I took mine at dinner time because of it’s sleepy effects. I am slowly weaning myself off of it. It did help even out my emotions, anxiety, OCD and helped me through a difficult situation. I’m very sensitive to meds in general so I’m not surprised it may have added to weight gain or effects, but I will say this drug worked for me and helped me cope through some things in my life.

    I just accepted the weight gain to survive some stuff and now I am looking forward to some of it coming off with the weaning, diet and exercise and new found energy. Slowly taking yourself off any SSRI or similar drug is highly recommended. I went almost cold turkey off Zoloft in the 90s and I was a huge mess. Very sick. Wean yourself with your Doctor’s guidance!

  45. I’ve been taking citalapram (10 – 20mg) for about a year and a half, everything was great until this last 6 months where I’ve gained a whopping 10kgs in weight! I have not changed my diet and couldn’t understand what has happened, it really upset me. I have now decided to go cold turkey coming off them.

  46. On Celexa for about 10 years, for first 6 yrs 40mg, last 4 yrs 20 mg. Gained 60lbs. Started weaning myself off 3 weeks ago, have lost 10 lbs and energy levels are climbing. Yes it helped my panic attacks, but happy to be making a comeback.

  47. I began taking Citalopram on October 12, 2014 because I was experiencing some severe short term memory loss. I started out taking 20 mg and when my symptoms began to return, we upped the dosage to 40 mg. This dosage seemed to help for a few months. Once it started to seem less effective, my doctor tested me for ADHD and my results were inconclusive, so in order for me to focus, we added Concerta to the mix. Soon after beginning the ADHD medication, March 2015, we reduced my Citalopram dosage to 20 mg, since I was noticeably beginning to gain weight.

    Since beginning Citalopram, I have gained a total of 55 lbs. I am hoping to be off of the Citalopram soon because none of my clothes fit. This weight gain was caused by nothing other than the medication. Besides increasing the amount of water I drink and cutting out soda since weight gain had become an issue, I haven’t changed the way I eat, sleep, or exercise. It doesn’t always have this effect on everybody, but I will personally be staying away from this medication for as long as possible after this ordeal.

    • I feel your pain. After having heart palpitations back in May of 2014 with no identifiable cause, my doctor suggested that these may have been panic attacks (which I thought – and still believe is ridiculous) and put me on a 20mg dose of Celexa. Since that time, I’ve gained nearly 60 lbs – and can’t take it off no matter what. Beginning about 2 months ago, I decided to taper off the Celexa and I’m down to 5mg. I’ve also gone hardcore on a no-carb, high protein diet.

      Guess what? As of today, I’ve lost exactly zero pounds! Yes that’s right – 2 months carb-free with a lower dose and haven’t lost an ounce! Ok, yes, I’m 47-years-old, but I’m also a former professional ice hockey player and I was still actively playing in the adult leagues, basically, until my equipment no longer fit thanks to Celexa, a drug I neither wanted nor needed. Best of luck to you and everyone else here on getting back into shape!

      • I have been taking Citalopram form about 6 months and I have gained 25lbs after maintaining my weight for several years. The only thing that changed was me taking this pill. My diet and exercise has not. No clothes fit and don’t like the way I feel or look. I gradually went off it. Today is day 4 of not taking any of it.

        A couple days were rough emotionally, but today I feel pretty good. I am hoping to get this weight off and back to where I get comfortable. Oh and my doctor actually argued with me that it was not the pill. But as I said, nothing else has changed to warrant that much weight increase. Glad I am not alone on this.

        • I have taken Citalopram a few times on and off over the last 5 years, this last time starting around June of 2014. This time around they had me on a 20mg dosage and from June of 2014-November of 2015, I put on 70 pounds despite still staying active (going to the gym, playing soccer twice a week year round). I am only 26 now so this rapid weight gain has become very distressing. I started to taper off in November, and am now off the meds entirely.

          I can’t say I have noticed any changes in weight yet but I don’t expect the results to be dramatic. One thing I will warn about tapering off, be sure to do it either in a way prescribed by a Dr. or slowly weaning off of it. I am not good with taking pills routinely, so there would be stretches where I would go maybe a week or so not taking the meds (typically just forgot) and I would start to experience some pretty big withdrawal symptoms.

          Best I can do is describe them as a sense of vertigo, light headed-ness induced from rapid eye movement or turning my head to fast, and limb numbness also induced by the eye movement. This could cause some problems while driving, for example, scanning your gauges and mirrors. So I just advise caution of going cold turkey. This last weening, I stretched a 1 month script out for about 2.5 months before kicking it completely.

      • I too experienced heart palpitations with no known cause and it scared me big time. So, thanks to my pharmacy giving me advice about heart palpitations, I am now weaning myself of the citalopram. I also gained about 16 pounds and hardly eat anything at all throughout the day. Praying I get through the withdrawals of this medication BC I darn sure don’t want to go back on it…ever!!!!!

    • I have been on celexa since June of 2014. I noticed a little weight gain around October of 14. Now it’s March of 2016 and I am up 60 pounds. I walk 3-4 miles a day, cut down my soda intake, and watch what I eat. I have been unable to drop any of this weight. It’s a catch 22 because now I’m depressed about my weight. I may cut down to 10 mgs and see what happens. Thank you all for sharing your experience too.

      • Thank you for sharing your stories. It has given me hope that I can feel like myself again by stopping this medication. I have ballooned. I feel more depressed because I weigh more than I did when in was 9 months pregnant. The common denominator is this medicine.

  48. I’ve been taking 20mg of Citalopram for about 2 years and gained probably between 10-15 lbs. As soon as I started gaining the weight I tried really hard to keep it off, but nothing really worked. I eventually just kind of gave up and accepted the added weight as my own haha. I’ve now just gone off of it, with taking only 10mg for about 3 weeks to taper off. I noticed within like a week and a half of tapering down that the extra weight just started to slowly come off on it’s own (with regular exercise which I do anyway). I’m kind of hoping that it all comes off and I go back to my original weight. Although, that weight could have been a result of the depression and anxiety (it’s hard to eat when your stomach is always in knots).


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