Published on 12 June 2023

Can Citalopram Cause Weight Gain? - Is It A Side Effect?

Citalopram (Celexa) Can-Citalopram-Cause-Weight-Gain
Table of Contents

Are you from millions of people that are suffering from depression? depression has become so common among people that 1 in 9 has been going through this condition. This mental health condition should not be taken lightly; if you take it, you are severely affecting your health. 

Various solutions to treat these conditions, such as natural ways and medications. Natural remedies can show effectiveness but not entirely, whereas medicines can have effective results. 

From various medicines, you might have heard of Celexa. But when you consume the drug, people have doubts about whether the drug changes weight. Know more in detail about the same regarding Celexa.

What Is Citalopram?

Citalopram is a generic version of the brand name Celexa known as an antidepressant. Any medicine that belongs to the antidepressants always works similarly. It is specifically designed for treating Depressive conditions.

Whereas It also helps in treating different types of conditions such as Anxiety, Bulimia, other states that are related to depression, and also Obsessive-compulsive disorder (also known as OCD).

You cannot buy Citalopram over the counter as it is a prescription drug. It is a drug not meant for people under 18 years of age. Also, it should be taken after the doctor's recommendation. Most doctors recommend consuming Citalopram at night.

How Does Citalopram Work?

The working patterns of the drugs differ from one drug class to another. As Citalopram belongs to SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the medicines that fall under this drug class work the same. 

Citalopram works on depression or other conditions mentioned above work in a way that it increases the serotonin levels in the brain. These changes in the body will make it possible for cognitive behavior to be stable. Hence it starts to decrease depressive symptoms. Serotonin in the brain changes the person's metabolism, sleep issues, and mood.

Does Citalopram Cause Weight Gain?

Many medicines show various effects on the body. It depends on different individuals about the changes in their weight. Citalopram consumption changes the metabolism, which affects weight. 

Citalopram can change weight, either gain, lose, or even keep you in the same way. But the main changes start from carbohydrates switching to energy and fat for fuel. There is not enough proof of weight gain. 

If your appetite changes, you might eat less or more, and more consumption can lead to weight gain, whereas less consumption can make your weight loss. If you find any changes in your weight, consult your doctor. 


The research was conducted on the same drug class medicines, like Citalopram. The following study showed 3 pounds of weight gain. It happened in the first 12 weeks of consuming, which became stable. 

Underweight people gain more weight compared to overweight people. On average, People on antidepressants for two years showed 5.9 pounds of weight gain. 

People on Celexa who had a lousy lifestyle (eating or smoking) were likelier to gain weight. Taking a doctor's suggestion regarding medicine and food is always recommended. 

Possible Side Effects

When it comes to side effects, every medication has it, but it can affect some and may not affect others. Common side effects can be wiped off over time, but severe side effects should be considered, and consult the doctor.

Common Side Effects

Severe Side Effects


Nose bleeding


Blurred vision


Severe headache

Digestive system problems

Suicidal thoughts 

Muscle aches

Heart palpitations

Change in appetite

Worse depression 

These are a few side effects that can affect a person. If you face any other adverse effects besides those mentioned above, consult the doctor. 

How Does Depression Causes Weight Changes?

When a person is in a depression, it seems standard that weight might change. Weight gain can happen due to emotional eating. It works as an emotional help wherein food can make a person feel better, so they binge eat even if they are not hungry. If a person is overweight or suffers from obesity before depression, weight might keep the person's mood low. 

In some people, depression can be a reason for weight loss as well because it suppresses the appetite and makes the person complete. You should always consult a doctor for a better treatment purpose and the best medicine. 

How To Manage Weight While Taking Citalopram?

If your weight is gaining while on Citalopram, it is essential to take measures that make your body under control. Here are a few steps that you can take:

Mindful eating: It is essential to keep track of your calories taken. Also, try to maintain a journal that can help you. Control your eating pattern and avoid taking food that causes extra weight, like soda or sugar.

Identify and work on your body: It is essential to look over it. Exercise can be a significant impact on your weight loss. This will make sure to get the best possible results on your depression and also weight.

Change Medications: If Citalopram is causing more weight even after changing the lifestyle, it is essential to consult a doctor and change the medicines. This can not affect your more.

Dosage Of Citalopram

It is essential to know the correct dosage to treat a condition. If not taken as prescribed, then you might see drastic weight changes. Your medical practitioner will suggest you the best possible dose.

  • Initial Dose: 20mg (Once a day)
  • Continuation Dose: 20mg - 40mg (If the first dose didn't work well)
  • Maximum Dose: 40mg- 60 mg (This will depend on the doctor)

This standard dose can help you through the condition of depression. But if you see any weight changes after the following amount, consult a doctor immediately.

Precautions and Warnings of Citalopram

Any medication you take has specific warnings. These warnings should be considered seriously as they can also cause death. It has the potential for suicidal thoughts or even self-harm. 

If you suppose to get affected by the following changes, take it as a warning and consult a doctor immediately.

  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Worsening anxiety
  • Impulsiveness
  • Manix behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts

Some of the precautions that should be taken

  • Do not overdose on Citalopram
  • Do not take monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Do not take Pimozide
  • If you are more than 60 years old
  • If you suffer from liver disease
  • If you go through a bleeding disorder
  • Medications that treat anxiety or depression

Also, Read

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

depression is a commonly affecting condition within people. When a person suffers from such a condition, think positively about it and work on it. Weight gain can be a significant chaotic condition, which a few steps can solve. 

As every medication has some side effects, Citalopram does have effects that can harm your health. Instead of panicking, getting the doctor's help and solving things is essential. 

Frequently asked questions

There are chances of weight loss after stopping the medication. If depression strikes back after stopping the medication, you may lose weight drastically.
Yes, any antidepressant medication you take will affect you from weight gain and cause belly fat.
Yes, Not just Citalopram, but many other antidepressants have the most potential to cause weight gain.
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