Unlike many antidepressant medications, Cipralex does not cause weight gain. As a matter of fact, Cipralex, like other antidepressants that work by inhibiting the movement of the neurotransmitter serotonin into cells, often causes weight loss. Cipralex's ability to suppress hunger may be due to the effect of its active ingredient, escitaltopram oxalate, on serotonin.
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Cipralex belongs to a group of antidepressant drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These drugs alleviate depression by preventing serotonin that has been released into the brain by nerve cells from being taken back into the cells. A high concentration of serotonin in the brain makes you feel happy and relaxed, so by preventing serotonin's reabsorption, Cipralex can reduce feelings of sadness and fear. Besides depression, Cipralex is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias and generalized anxiety disorder.
Effect on Weight
Although not every person who takes Cipralex experiences the same side effects, a decrease in appetite is commonly reported by more than 1 in 100 people using the antidepressant. This suppression of appetite is often pronounced enough to cause gradual weight loss. The weight loss can be more extreme if Cipralex is taken with other drugs such as lithium, sumatriptin, cimetidine, lansoprazole or omeprazole. These drugs either magnify the effects of Cipralex or increase the amount of the medication that is absorbed into the blood.
Cipralex may cause weight loss because serotonin not only affects mood, but it is responsible for regulating appetite. Higher concentrations of serotonin inhibit food cravings and suppress hunger. Research conducted by "Psychology Today" found that people who consumed carbohydrate-rich drinks that stimulated the production of serotonin prior to eating a meal were less hungry and took in fewer calories.
Cipralex may cause a number of side effects other than weight loss. These can include hand tremors, dizziness, a decrease in libido and an inability to achieve orgasm, sinus pain, insomnia, digestive problems, rash, excessive sweating, joint pain and unexplained nervousness or anxiety. Cipralex can affect the function of a number of other medications and should not be used by anyone under 18 years old or anyone with a history of epilepsy, bipolar disorder or recent monoamine-oxidase inhibitor antidepressant medication use.