What is Lexapro?
Lexapro, otherwise known by its generic name escitalopram, is used to treat depression and anxiety. It falls under the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) group of drugs. These antidepressants work by increasing levels of serotonin within the brain. Lexapro is generally used by adults, but it’s not uncommon to be used to treat major depressive disorder in adolescents as young as 12 years old.
Can it cause weight loss?
The side effects of antidepressants often include weight change. This is because serotonin can affect weight. During the first few weeks of taking Lexapro, small weight loss may be seen. Charles Raison, a psychiatrist at Emory University, says this is typical. Weight loss can be accentuated if Lexapro is taken with other drugs.
However, studies on Lexapro and weight loss show mixed results. While the drug does decrease weight and body mass index to a degree, it doesn’t reduce the obsessive-compulsive symptoms linked to binge-eating disorder. Although there isn’t extensive research on Lexapro, there is enough to show that weight loss is minimal.
Long-term weight change after initiating second-generation antidepressants (like Lexapro) was studied by Artebum, D., Sofer, T., et al. for the Journal of Clinical Medicine. Although Lexapro was not included in the study, related antidepressants showed minor weight loss and in some cases weight gain. The only drug that had statistical evidence linking weight loss was Bupropion.
It’s important to know that the side effect of antidepressants is weight change, not loss. There are many factors causing different results for people. If the drug is doing its job then individuals will feel better and as a result have an increased appetite. Their weight may drop from the drug but can easily be gained back. However there are some instances where appetite remained the same but weight was gained. Metabolism can easily be affected by antidepressants as well.
There have also been reports of carbohydrate cravings as a result of being on antidepressants. It is thought carbs are linked to serotonin levels. Who would of thought bread and pasta actually makes us feel better!
Some individuals might feel the need to turn to unconventional methods after struggling with weight. There are dangers of taking drugs for purposes they are not intended for. Side effects of Lexapro include: seizures, blurred vision, heart damage, hallucinations, and aggression. Antidepressants like Lexapro happen to provide weight loss in some instances. There is a good chance weight will not change or it will increase. The most important takeaway is that drugs only work when you take them. You can’t take a drug forever so that means when you stop taking an antidepressant, your weight will go back to where it was before you started the drug.
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