Meds for Anti-anxiety/depression

Updated on May 18, 2011
M.H. asks from Madison, WI
19 answers

I took Paxil about 10 years ago to get through a difficult time that I was having.
The most unfortunate part for me about the Paxil was the 10 pounds I gained while on it for just a year. And that 10 pounds was really difficult to lose. I'm a rather slim person, so to gain this weight was a surprise to me and I didn't even expect it until it was too late. I didn't know that was a side effect.

Now, 10 years later, I feel the effects of peri-menpause (I guess that's what it is) coming on. I have confirmed my hormones are out of whack. Someone else just posted about how emotional, etc they feel from PMS. I can relate to the whacky emotions I feel and with much more anxiety than I usually have. I also realize how out of whack my thoughts are. I guess I'm glad I recognize it and just dismiss them as best I can. But these thoughts do sneak up on me and I hate it so much.

Anyway, my question is, has anyone that has taken Paxil or another anti-anxiety meds experience weight gain, but then switched to a different type anti-anxiety/anti-depressant and not had any weight gain?

I would like to try a med, but I really don't want to deal with the weight gain.

Is there any of these that can be taken just during the PMS days - someone mentioned Sarafem in a different post. Are there any others? And I'm wondering if taking it a couple days a month would maybe not cause weight gain?

Thanks for the help!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I take prozac 40mg on a daily basis and 60mg the week before my period. I also have as needed ativan .5-1mg as needed for anxiety. Both of these work really well for me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I recommend reading "Spark: the revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain" by Ratey and Hagerman that describes the studies that have shown clearly that 30 mins of intense exercise a day have the same effect as the commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications. Exercise is medicine.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Detroit on

Yes, Paxil is known for weight gain, plus a million other side effects, if at all possible, do not take this medication. There are so many other medications in it's class that have better studies done and are a lot safer to take. Zoloft is great, although if your looking to treat more for hot flashes, etc, ask your doctor about some other SSRI's on a market, there are some known for helping hot flashes and mood swings, although off-label, your doctor might be able to educate you on your choices.

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answers from Cedar Rapids on

I think the first question should be: Which is more unhealthy for me; my anxiety issues, or an extra few pounds? If the pounds are more of an issue to you than your mental health, then I would ask your doctor about alternative treatments for your specific symptoms rather than an overall anxiety medication.

I understand about thoughts "sneaking up on you" as I have dealt with anxiety my entire life. I call them "bad thought days" so my husband has some sort of warning! I started the SSRI gamut around 18 or 19, and here are my experiences:

Amnitryptaline - made me extremely sleepy, didn't help anxiety, no weight gain.

Wellbutrin - weight gain and gave me panic attacks! (Made it worse?!)

Zoloft - gave me headaches but helped anxiety and no weight gain.

Prozac - helped immensely with anxiety, but definite weight gain.

I ended up weaning off Prozac once I got married and starting trying to conceive. I had a year and a half of cognitive-behavioral therapy under my belt and was able to use some of those tactics to get me through. After my first child was born, however, I ended up going back on Zoloft to get through first-time-mom anxiety. I stayed on it through pregnancy and child #2 and finally just weaned when she stopped nursing. This second time around, the Zoloft did not seem to cause as many headaches. I would not hesitate to go back on Zoloft in the future if life catches up with me and causes my anxiety to spike.

Best of luck to you - I hope you'll make an informed choice and consider your whole health!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I take Zoloft and have lost weight on it before b/c it kills your appetite. I've heard of weight loss in some other people who take Zoloft as well though I do'nt know if it reacts differently with each individual.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

I've been on Citalopram (generic Celexa) for 15 months now and it works great for me. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Green Bay on

It's hard when your hormones are fluctuating, for whatever reason.

Drugs can help with the symptoms, but if you really want to get to the root of the cause and deal with that, there are safe, natural options out there. Natural options often have side benefits instead of side effects that pharmas have.

As far as weight gain, every year we lose muscle. Muscle = metabolism so our metabolism drops. Finding ways to retain muscle is important.

Let me know if you'd like more information.

Best wishes to you!

[email protected]

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I was just put on Celexa for depression and one of my questions for my doctor was about weight gain. He said the newer meds don't seem to have that problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest that you ask this question of a pharmacist or a mental health practitioner who prescribes this type of medication. I see a nurse practitioner who sees patients with anxiety and depression issues and mostly just for the medication part. I've had to change medication several times. He tells me the side effects. If you make an appointment or perhaps just talk on the phone he can tell you which ones cause weight gain and which ones don't.

I found this practitioner thru my counselor who didn't prescribe meds. Perhaps your doctor would be able to refer you to such a person.

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answers from Glens Falls on

I would be afraid that taking an antidepressant a couple of days a month wouldn't work because it usually takes awhile for them to "kick in". If you think it could be more hormonal because you're having stronger PMS emotions than maybe talk to your doctor about what they would recommend. There are individual differences, too. I took Wellbutrin for a long time and it made me gain weight even though most people lose weight. Also antidepressants don't always work for anxiety either - I know Wellbutrin didn't. So if you talk about your symptoms to your doctor (ie distinguish between feeling sad, having trouble concentrating, having trouble sleeping, heart palpitations, feeling of impending doom, etc) it will help your doctor find the right medication. Good luck and hope you feel better!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I had a similar experience with celexa. In a year I gained 20 pounds. I am back on celexa at a lower dose and I think I'm maintaining better at the lower dose and it is still helpful for my anxiety--so maybe you could look into lower dosing? I also take low-hormone birth control solely to deal with PMS.

I'm hoping to get off celexa soon and am working with a holistic psych NP to look at natural methods. If you want to avoid meds altogether, this is one option. You could look into Henry Emmons' "The Chemistry of Joy" or Jim Gordon's "Unstuck" for some ideas but I would suggest you seek the help of a functional medicine person or good nutritionist before making changes just to make sure whatever you try is appropriate for your body.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Your post could have been written by a friend of mine. She did not want to start taking prescription meds again because of side effects and those only mask the problem and never really fix it. She noticed within 3 days using a nutrition product how much better she felt. I also have a sister that was dealing with anxiety and depression and I had her try the same stuff and she can't believe the difference. I can introduce you to my friend and she could tell you what she did if you would be interested in avoiding the prescription drug route.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Stay away from Effexor - it causes weight gain.


answers from Hartford on

I used to take Paxil but had the weight gain as well, and it didn't work as well as it could have. At one point I took Sarafem and had weight gain from that as well.

A few years ago I switched from the Paxil to Wellbutrin and Lexapro (one for depression and the other for anxiety). I lost 35 lbs but I'm stuck and can't seem to lose any more, but I also have fibromyalgia which is making things a bit difficult.



answers from Minneapolis on

I lost ten pounds on Wellbutrin. Especially if you're thinking this is relatively short term (a year or so), I'd recommend Wellbutrin. It has a tendency to run out on you (I know several people who found, after a year or so, that it just wasn't working anymore) so I'm not sure it's a good long-term medication. (When it ran out on me, and I switched to Zoloft, I gained the ten pounds back.) But small weight loss is a quite common side effect of Wellbutrin.

Talk to your GP or OB. They will be the best people to help you make a decision about whether medication is a viable solution, and what medication might best address your symptoms.



answers from Chicago on

Lexipro has been good for me.


answers from Denver on

I took Prozac for two years and did not gain any weight, but quit taking it because I felt foggy and was having really really vivid, weird dreams - and would wake up and have a hard time separating dreams from reality... but I think that's pretty rare!



answers from Milwaukee on

I recently told my doctor that I get horrible anxiety the week before my period and she said it's PMDD which is premenstrual dysphoric disorder. She gave me a generic form of Prozac that you take for one week before your period but I have yet to take it because it just doesn't seem right to only take it for one week and I'm not big on taking drugs.



answers from Topeka on

I will NEVER take Paxil again I was on it for 10 yrs & that wash horrible I went through so much trying to wean off,the DRs were involved every step of the wasy & they just were baffaled so it went on & on.I do however am fond of Zoloft the symptoms almost disappear I can gain control of myself espcially during the PMS times.I'm prescribed 50 mgs but I cut it down to only 25 mgs & my Dr. is ok with that becasue if it helps me he is fine but can go up to 50 if needed to but never have.One DR told me that 25 is a very small amount I said ya I know but it works with me.

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