Weight Gain with Lexapro and Zoloft: Everything You Need to Know

Depressive disorders are treated with Lexapro or Zoloft. Commonly weight gain with Lexapro or Zoloft is observed during long-term treatment. In this article, we will discuss the reasons for the weight gain on Lexapro or Zoloft.


In the human brain, changes in the different hormones and chemicals disturb the normal functioning of the brain. These alterations result in depressive symptoms and anxiety in the human body.

Symptoms can vary from minor to severe:

  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia or excess sleeping
  • fatigue
  • Feeling guilty
  • No decision-making power
  • Suicidal thoughts

weight gain with lexapro


Antidepressants are not the first choice for the treatment of depression. Firstly, doctors try to treat depression with psychotherapy. Antidepressants are prescribed when no other therapy works and symptoms get severe. There are common misconceptions about antidepressant drugs like Lexapro and Zoloft that how they act on the human body.

Lexapro (Escitalopram) and Zoloft (Sertraline HCL) are medicines used to treat stress, depression, and anxiety. Both medicines belong to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) group. Serotonin is the chemical that transmits the signal from nerve cells of the brain to other parts of the body and performs multiple functions like mood, sleep, appetite energy level, etc.

Antidepressants influence the re-absorption of serotonin (Neurotransmitter) which increases its level in the brain. Different antidepressant drugs have different roles but the main function is focused on the brain. These are used along with psychotherapy. Sometimes prescribed when other treatments have not worked

Best Antidepressants

The best choice of antidepressant drugs is selected and prescribed by physicians after taking detailed information from the patient like age, symptoms, stage, severity, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. Sometimes these drugs increase the symptoms like suicidal thoughts drowsiness fatigue and agitation after starting treatment. So, doctors have to do proper monitoring after commencing treatment. It takes a minimum of 2 weeks to show the effects of drugs. So selecting the right drug of choice can be a long time procedure. These drugs are not commonly prescribed to young patients or under 18.

weight gain with lexapro

Side effects

Despite the benefits of these drugs, there are certain side effects like:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of family life drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Sweating

Weight gain with Lexapro or Zoloft

Antidepressants are 3rd most common medicine prescribed in the world. Obesity and weight gain are the biggest health problem. Obesity is mainly due to poor eating habits. Eating behavior is mainly due to genetics and hormones.  Metabolic syndrome is associated with obesity and includes High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes poor lipid profile resultantly higher chances of heart failure.

Sometimes obesity is not only associated with eating habits but there are some behind scene reasons. It may be side effects of drug usage like antidepressants Lexapro and Zoloft.

Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are the most common antidepressants that are prescribed in the US, especially for women. The incidence of depression is twice in women as compared to men. One can easily understand that one in ten women have symptoms of depression in their late reproductive age.

One reason for weight gain is that depressive disorder activates the pituitary gland to deposit more visceral fat. It increases coronary heart disease which is the leading cause of death in women. Women take 2.5 times more antidepressant drugs as compared to men. In the US 60% population is taking antidepressant drugs for a long period of time.

If a patient’s weight increases in the first week of treatment with Lexapro or Zoloft, it is an indication of weight gain in the remaining time period of treatment. the chances of weight gain are more in the patient suffering from the symptoms related to appetite. The main reason is that a higher level of serotonin improves the appetite and hence increases the carbohydrate intake. More than required carbohydrates are stored in the form of body fat.

weight gain with lexapro

How to control weight gain with Lexapro or Zoloft

If it is observed that these drugs are increasing the weight of the patient, then it should be controlled from the beginning because antidepressants are taken for a long period of time. Weight gain with Lexapro or Zoloft can be controlled with strong willpower and motivation which is very difficult during depression. Routine exercise and diet control are the main key factors to controlling weight during taking antidepressants.

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