Depression Treatment Medication Does Celexa Cause Weight Gain? Side Effects of Citalopram By Nancy Schimelpfening Nancy Schimelpfening Nancy Schimelpfening, MS is the administrator for the non-profit depression support group Depression Sanctuary. Nancy has a lifetime of experience with depression, experiencing firsthand how devastating this illness can be. Learn about our editorial process Updated on December 11, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Verywell / Andrea Hickey Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Definition Side Effects Weight Gain Effects Other Antidepressants Other Causes While Taking Celexa Nearly all antidepressants can cause weight gain as a side effect—including Celexa (citalopram). Even though the amount of weight a person is likely to put on while taking Celexa or another SSRI tends to be minimal, gaining even a little bit can be bothersome for many people. However, a few commonsense strategies can help you deal with weight gain while taking Celexa. What Is Celexa (Citalopram)? Celexa belongs to a class of antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other commonly prescribed SSRIs include Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline). SSRIs, as the name implies, stop the brain from reabsorbing serotonin, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that helps control mood, affect, sleep, memory, and other functions. This keeps more serotonin available for the brain to use. What Are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)? Celexa Side Effects Like nearly all medications, Celexa can cause unwanted effects, but these aren't harmful and should resolve on their own. You might experience no side effects at all--or any of the following mild symptoms: Difficulty falling or staying asleepDrowsiness, tiredness, yawningHeavy periodsIncreased sweating, thirst, and/or urinationNausea, vomiting, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, constipationRunny noseSexual problemsUncontrollable shakingWeakness, muscle/joint painWeight loss If you have any of the following rare side effects, call your doctor immediately: Agitation, hallucinations, loss of coordination or consciousnessChest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, faintingFast or irregular heartbeatFever, sweatingHeadacheHoarsenessNausea, vomiting, diarrheaRash, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swellingSeizuresSevere muscle stiffness, twitchingUnusual bleeding or bruising Celexa and Weight Gain Experts aren't certain why some SSRIs cause weight changes. One theory is that the drugs somehow slow the metabolism. Another is that SSRIs trigger an upsurge in appetite, causing overeating. Another reason might come from the drug's success itself. When some people begin to feel better, their appetites return, and they gain weight--typically (and ideally) just enough to return to their normal sizes. Other Antidepressants and Weight Changes Celexa is by no means alone in its association with weight gain; most other SSRIs do, too--some more than others. For example, Zoloft (sertraline) and Prozac (fluoxetine) are associated with less weight gain than Paxil (paroxetine). Why SSRIs Cause Weight Gain Other Causes of Weight Gain Weight changes often occur in tandem with depression, before or apart from treatment. Depression is associated with changes in appetite, eating habits, and levels of hormones that control appetite. Likewise, a person with depression tends to abandon previous activities and interests, which might include sports, fitness, and other physical activities. Don't stop taking your medication without a doctor's supervision. Going cold turkey off an SSRI can lead to discontinuation syndrome, an array of unpleasant, possibly dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Weight Management While Taking Celexa If you're gaining weight while taking Celexa and it's enough to bother you—despite whether the medication is relieving your depression symptoms—talk to your doctor. Managing your weight while on an antidepressant really isn't that different from doing so when you aren't. In any case, it's extremely important not to stop taking the drug on your own. Here are other, less drastic measures you can take to lose weight while on an antidepressant. Eat mindfully. Research shows that people tend to underestimate their caloric intake , so keeping a food journal can help you find extra calories that might be sneaking into your diet. Typical culprits include soda and sugary carbs. Your doctor can refer you to a nutritionist if you need help figuring out how to alter your daily diet. Rediscover your body's abilities. Join a gym or exercise class, invest in a snazzy new bike, or get a dog; people who have one tend to get more exercise and be happier. As mentioned above, exercise can help ease depression, as well. Check with your doctor before you start just to make sure you're physically up to it. Change your medication. If Celexa is causing weight gain, your doctor might change your medication--perhaps to a different SSRI or a non-SSRI such as Wellbutrin (bupropion). Exercise as Depression Therapy Research consistently indicates that physical exercise is effective in treating symptoms of depression. A Word From Verywell If you are concerned that you've gained excessive weight while taking Celexa and haven't been able to lose it on your own, talk to your doctor about the issue. You might be able to switch to a different medication with fewer weight-related side effects. 9 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Nihalani N, Schwartz TL, Siddiqui UA, Megna JL. Weight gain, obesity, and psychotropic prescribing. J Obes. 2011;2011:893629. doi:10.1155/2011/893629 Blumenthal SR, Castro VM, Clements CC, et al. An electronic health records study of long-term weight gain following antidepressant use. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(8):889-96. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.414 Gafoor R, Booth HP, Gulliford MC. Antidepressant utilisation and incidence of weight gain during 10 years’ follow-up: Population based cohort study. BMJ. 2018;361:k1951. doi:10.1136/bmj.k1951 Nevels RM, Gontkovsky ST, Williams BE. Paroxetine-the antidepressant from hell? Probably not, but caution required. Psychopharmacol Bull. 2016;46(1):77-104. Mills JG, Larkin TA, Deng C, Thomas SJ. Weight gain in major depressive disorder: Linking appetite and disordered eating to leptin and ghrelin. Psychiatry Research. 2019;279:244-251. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2019.03.017 Bhat V, Kennedy SH. Recognition and management of antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2017;42(4):E7-E8. Klesges RC, Eck LH, Ray JW. Who underreports dietary intake in a dietary recall? Evidence from the second national health and nutrition examination survey. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1995;63(3):438-444. doi:10.1037//0022-006x.63.3.438 Matchock RL. Pet ownership and physical health. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2015;28(5):386-92. doi:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000183 Schuch FB, Vancampfort D, Richards J, Rosenbaum S, Ward PB, Stubbs B. Exercise as a treatment for depression: A meta-analysis adjusting for publication bias. J Psychiatr Res. (2016) 77:42–51. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.02.023 Additional Reading Weil, Andrew. "Why Do Antidepressants Cause Weight Gain?" Andrew Weil, M.D. Feb 11, 2011. By Nancy Schimelpfening Nancy Schimelpfening, MS is the administrator for the non-profit depression support group Depression Sanctuary. Nancy has a lifetime of experience with depression, experiencing firsthand how devastating this illness can be. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Depression Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.