Effexor and Weight Gain

effexorEffexor (Venlafaxine) is an antidepressant medication which is the type of SNRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). It prevents the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine which play an important role in depression. It has been spotted that it can influence on the body in a way where it can cause weight gain.

Effexor And Weight Gain

The drug was one of the first approved for treating the major depression from 1993. There are numerous success stories from people who notices a significant improvement in depression treatment after using it for a while. It is also considered one of the less possible weight influence drugs in the pharmacy among antidepressants. There are other drugs which do tend to influence greater on weight-gaining side effects when comparing with Effexor.

Effexor Weight Gaining Mechanism

Even though being one of the safer drugs and the one that has little effect on a body weight, it still runs the possibility of getting some extra pounds. There are a few reasons why this is a possibility.

Increased Appetite

Feeling hungry goes with feeling better. When you are depressed, you tend to eat less due to lack of motivation and satisfaction over good or any stuff actually. When you start to feel better and your levels of serotonin grow, an appetite can be the one which can shift towards upgrowth. Since the consequence of the increased appetite is eating more, the obvious result can be gaining weight.

Carbohydrate Cravings

When you’re on Effexor, you can experience sugar cravings which you didn’t have previously. It can have something to do with the serotonin paths and its effects on your nervous system. You can have the urge to eat candy or carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, etc. This can have an impact on your body weight.

Hormonal Levels

When taking antidepressants, it can have an influence on your hormonal level. You may notice some alterations regarding hormones which will induce the appetite and the fat storage, and also, speed rate of metabolism. This can eventually lead to getting a few pounds extra.

Metabolic Speed Rate

Although the norepinephrine will act on the body to speed up the rate of metabolic processes, the serotonin increase can slow down the metabolism and it is increased to a greater extent than the norepinephrine, which will result in changes in metabolism speed rate. You can have slower circulation, slower bowel movements and altered fat storage processes.

Taste Improvement

 It is known that the taste gets worse when dealing with depression. When on this medication, you can sense the change in taste and that everything tastes better. Something that was bothersome it can become a pleasure to do – to eat.

Motivation Alteration

When you feel happy, motivated and pleased, you will have more energy to walk, move and go to the gym. Some people have experienced the opposite, where their energy became lower where they didn’t do any specific physical exercises or they were left with their own weight not being changed.

Social Eating

When you become more motivated and relaxed, you will have more energy to hang out and to go out with friends. This is very closely linked with getting food and social eating. You are more likely to go out to the restaurants, lunches, dinners, etc. This can be a trigger for your gaining weight.

Drug Interaction

If you are taking some other medications simultaneously with Effexor, you may experience certain interactions. Among those is sometimes weight gaining where the drug can act synergistically which will alter the Effexor effects and result in promoting higher weight gain side effect.

Side Effects

This medication is supposed to be activating and promoting your metabolism functions. This is mostly how it works, but among certain people, it has the opposite effect making them weak, lethargic and slow. You can feel fatigue, sleepiness, drowsiness.

Factors Which Can Influence Weight Gain When Taking Effexor

Not every person taking Effexor will have weight gain consequences. This depends on many factors among which are dosage, individual characteristics, time span, lifestyle, etc.

Individual Characteristics

It is important to state the differences among individuals in regards to habits, lifestyle, and genetics. Some may have more stress hormones in their body or other hormones which promote metabolic speed rate and result in faster metabolism which will burn the fat. Some will have different genetics with enzymes differences and fat storage amount. Some can lead a healthier life with taking care of food intake and exercising. If you don’t take after yourself even before starting the Effexor therapy, you are prone to getting extra weight.


Those who are taking higher doses are more prone to getting the weight in compare to those who take less dosage of Effexor. If you are taking higher doses, your body will go through great change which will have an impact on your adjustment and can lead to body’s reaction of getting weight. Doubling the dosage can double the chances of getting weight. It will have the an impact on your nervous system as well as your hormonal levels which will consequently lead to promoting fat storage.

Time Span

It is important to state the time of consumption. If you are taking Effexor longer, you are more likely to get weight as oppose to those who are taking the drug for a short-term therapy. When taking the drugs for a long time, the greater possibility is for tolerance development, which will lead to dosage increasing. The higher the dose, the greater the chances are for getting weight.

Drug Interaction

The weight gaining doesn’t have to be a direct effect of the Effexor, but by the indirect impact of other drugs which you are using simultaneously. They can interact with each other and amplify the effects of Effexor which can lead to body weight alterations.

Why Is Effexor Considered To Be “Weight Neutral”?

Effexor is considered as “weight neutral” due to many reasons. It has serotonin and noradrenaline promoting functions which can boost your metabolism and speed up the metabolic speed rate. You can feel more energized, motivated, active. Your body will act in accelerated speed which can help with burning fat, stopping the fat storage occurrence and help with retaining the weight you have before the Effexor therapy. It will promote neurotransmitter action such as norepinephrine which will increase the function of the central nervous system and promote serotonin effects such as arousal and other results of cortical excitation.

How Much Weight Can You Get From Effexor Intake?

Some people had more or less influence of the Effexor on their body weight but is is completely relative and under the influence of their individual characteristics, habits, genetics and also depending on the time span and dosage. It can be between 5 to 10 lbs. About 30% of people taking higher doses of Effexor will notice weight gain.

A study was conducted among 362 psychiatric patients where they took antidepressants for 6 to 36 months. The prevalence rate of weight gain was 55.2%. 40.6% of the patients gained weight of 7%.

Will You Gain Weight When Taking Effexor?

Not everyone gains weight when taking this medication. It depends on many factors which we discussed above and it is completely relative from person to person. Try to minimize the chances by being active, taking healthy diet and cutting sugar cravings.