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Citalopram is a type of medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It is typically used to treat depression, and may be used for bipolar disorder in addition to other medications. Citalopram and weight changes are sometimes connected because of the side effects of the medication. SSRIs like citalopram may lead to initial weight loss, and in some cases, later weight gain. Depression may also cause weight changes.
SSRI medications treat depression by increasing the amount of a neurotransmitter called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the brain chemicals that have an effect on mood and energy. In some people, increasing serotonin levels can have a large therapeutic effect on depression.
Some side effects of citalopram include decreased appetite and nausea. This may be one of the reasons for the connection between citalopram and changes in weight. Some people taking citalopram have reported weight loss after taking the medication for several weeks.
This medication is also a treatment for depression. As it begins to be effective, a person who was previously depressed may have more energy and be more active. This could be another factor linking citalopram and weight changes.
After taking an SSRI antidepressant for a long time, however, some people report weight gain despite the decrease in appetite caused by the medication. Medications such as citalopram may lead to changes in metabolism, which could account for the weight gain some people experience. Some people report craving sweet or fatty foods while taking antidepressants.
The relationship between citalopram and weight changes is further complicated by the presence of depression or other mental illnesses. Depression can lead to weight gain or weight loss, and different people are affected differently by the disorder. Other medications used to treat depression such as antipsychotic medications may also affect the metabolism and lead to weight changes.
When a medication like citalopram leads to weight gain, the most common solution is to try a different type of SSRI. There are many types of antidepressant medications, and most people try a few different brands until they find one they tolerate best. Physicians should watch patients on these medications for weight gain and offer solutions if necessary.
Other ways to deal with the connection between citalopram and weight changes include maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. If a person is depressed, however, this may be a difficult lifestyle change to make. Treating depression is another way to help alleviate weight gain.