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Does Celexa Cause Weight Gain?

What risks are associated with taking the antidepressant Celexa? Can this medication lead to physical or psychological problems? Does Celexa cause weight gain? 

What Is Celexa?

Celexa is the brand name of a prescription medication that is used to treat depression in adults. The generic name of this drug is citalopram hydrobromide. It is commonly referred to simply as citalopram.

Celexa earned approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1998. It is classified as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

As described in a December 2021 StatPearls article, Celexa is also sometimes prescribed on an off-label basis to treat people who have developed a variety of other mental and behavioral health concerns, including the following:

  • Alcohol use disorder (alcoholism)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Does Celexa Cause Weight Gain?

People who struggle with untreated depressive disorders often experience significant changes in energy level and appetite – both of which can cause them to gain or lose a considerable amount of weight.

But can these effects also result from the use of SSRIs such as citalopram? In other words, does Celexa cause weight gain?

According to a July 2003 article in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, the answer to this question is “probably not.”

This article acknowledges that potential weight gain is a primary reason why many patients discontinue their use of antidepressant medications. However, the authors of this article cited several studies indicating that SSRIs do not lead to weight gain, especially if they are used for less than six months. Among people who used SSRIs for more than a year, research has revealed mixed results related to weight changes.

In the case of Celexa specifically, the July 2003 article referred to an eight-week study that found that the medication was not associated with an increased risk of weight gain:

  • 0.5% of study subjects who were taking citalopram reported gaining weight.
  • 0.9% of study subjects who received a placebo gained weight.

Paroxetine (which is the generic version of the brand name antidepressant Paxil), appears to be the SSRI that is most likely to lead to weight gain during either short- or long-term use. 

Among all types of commonly prescribed antidepressants, tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors seem most likely to cause weight gain, the Cleveland Clinic article reported.

Does Celexa Cause Other Side Effects?

Now that we know the answer to the question, “Does Celexa cause weight gain?” let’s move on to the risk that this drug poses for other side effects.

Remember: Virtually every prescription medication has been associated with some side effects. This is true of antidepressants in general, including SSRIs such as Celexa. 

Whenever you are about to start taking a new prescription medication, it is important to evaluate your risk for side effects, discuss the potential severity of these effects with your physician, and determine if the possible benefits of the drug outweigh the likely negative impact. 

Side effects that have been documented in more than 1% of people who take Celexa include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Disrupted sleep (including insomnia)
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Weakness

What Are the Benefits of Celexa?

As we noted in the previous section, it is important to consider both the benefits and the risks when taking any prescription medication. Now that we’ve discussed the likelihood that a person will experience weight gain or other negative effects after taking Celexa, let’s look at some of the benefits that this medication can offer.

When you take an SSRI or any other antidepressant, the benefits that you achieve can be influenced by factors such as the following:

  • Your age, weight, and metabolism
  • The type and severity of the symptoms you have been experiencing
  • If you are also struggling with addiction or a co-occurring mental health disorder
  • If you are also participating in therapy or another type of treatment

Depending on these and other factors, the potential benefits of Celexa include:

  • Elevated mood
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Better sleep
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved ability to focus and concentrate

Benefits of Therapy for Depression

Celexa and other SSRIs can offer tremendous benefits to people who have depression and certain other mental health concerns. But medication alone may not be enough to address the behavioral and social aspects of depressive disorders. To help a person make the lifestyle changes that will support their continued recovery from depression, therapy can be essential.

At either the residential or outpatient levels, therapy can help people make significant strides toward improved quality of life. During therapy, people can begin to accomplish goals such as:

  • Gaining important information about the disease of depression and the recovery process
  • Developing better stress management skills
  • Replacing self-defeating thought patterns with a healthier mindset
  • Learning to avoid triggers that can prompt the onset of depression symptoms
  • Establishing an effective personal support network
  • Incorporating healthy diet, exercise, and other self-care practices into their daily lives
  • Addressing co-occurring mental or behavioral health concerns that may have contributed to or worsened their struggles with depression

Find Depression Treatment in Nashville, TN

Arbor Wellness offers personalized depression treatment at the residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels. In each program, adults receive customized care from a team of dedicated professionals. We understand how depression can rob a person of the ability to fully engage in a productive and satisfying lifestyle, and we are committed to helping our patients achieve the healthier futures that they deserve. 

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our admissions page or call us today.