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Can I Get My Metabolism Back After Stopping Lexapro & Prozac?

by
author image Shannon Hyland-Tassava
Shannon Hyland-Tassava has more than 16 years experience as a clinical health psychologist, wellness coach and writer. She is a health columnist for the "Northfield (Minn.) News" and has also contributed to "Motherwords," "Macalester Today" and two essay anthologies, among other publications. Hyland-Tassava holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Illinois.
Can I Get My Metabolism Back After Stopping Lexapro & Prozac?
A patient is talking to a pharmacist. Photo Credit Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

Many medications have potential negative side effects. Depending on the type of medication, these can include changes in appetite, energy and activity level, metabolism and weight. Antidepressants are one class of medication that carries a risk of such changes. In particular, one type of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- or SSRIs -- seems to cause increased appetite and subsequent weight gain in many users, says Dr. James M. Ferguson in "The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry."

Lexapro and Prozac

Among the SSRIs that can cause adverse weight- and appetite-related side effects are the medications escitalopram and fluoxetine -- better known by their brand names Lexapro and Prozac, respectively; however, both medications are often effective at treating symptoms of depression, so they are generally utilized despite weight gain. In some cases, bothersome side effects emerge during the first 4 weeks of medication usage but do not persist, notes the University of Alabama at Birmingham Counseling and Wellness Center; however, at other times, metabolic issues may be ongoing, causing frustration in patients.

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Medication Discontinuation

When discontinuing medications such as Lexapro and Prozac, it's crucial to follow an experienced physician's medical advice for tapering off slowly. Sudden discontinuation of SSRIs can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, whereas gradual tapering helps your body slowly readjust to the change. This may help attenuate weight and appetite symptoms as well as other physical issues.

Diet Tips for Increasing Metabolism

No matter the cause of weight gain or the motivation for wanting to speed up metabolism, certain truths regarding metabolism remain constant. According to Illinois State University, eating regular meals is key in keeping your metabolism revved up, whereas skipping meals will only slow your metabolism down. This goes for breakfast, too, so be sure to start off every day with fuel for your body. And although it may be tempting, don't severely restrict your caloric intake in an attempt to lose weight. This will cause your metabolism to slow down to conserve energy. Instead, plan nutritious, balanced meals and snacks with sufficient calories to keep you energized.

Exercise Tips for Increasing Metabolism

Your best bet for substantially speeding up your metabolism is exercise. Engage in an hour of moderate to vigorous cardiovascular exercise -- such as jogging, brisk walking, cycling, skating, hiking and dancing -- most days of the week to burn lots of calories and to burn fat. In addition, two to three strength workouts per week will build muscle, a reliable metabolism-booster. Strength training increases your metabolism at all times, not just when you're exercising, because muscle mass requires more calories to maintain than does fat.

Caveats

If you're discontinuing Lexapro and Prozac and have questions and concerns about your metabolism, weight, appetite or any other medication side effects or results, consult your physician for proper evaluation and recommendations. A registered dietitian may also be helpful in determining how many calories you need to eat each day to encourage a speedy metabolism while remaining healthy.

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