Does Lexapro cause loss of appetite?
Yes, Lexapro may make you lose your appetite. This is one of the most commonly reported side effects of this medication. Although SSRIs are associated with weight gain as a side effect, some people end up losing weight.
This weight-loss effect of Lexapro is closely related to the ability of this antidepressant to cause loss of appetite. These side effects are expected to fade away within a few weeks of your treatment.
This is because your body needs some time to adjust to Lexapro and once it does, the side effects begin to subside.
However, if you’re eating so little that you have become malnourished or if you have lost a tremendous amount of weight, make sure you reach out to your healthcare provider as soon as you can. Lexapro, although it is considered the safest antidepressant, will work in every other individual.
Why does Lexapro cause loss of appetite?
There is no exact explanation as to why Lexapro causes loss of appetite. However, several research studies have revealed that as the drug alters the number of excitatory chemicals in your brain, it can affect people differently.
Some experts believe that Lexapro and other antidepressants can help you achieve the reward sensation by increasing the amount of serotonin, it can make you feel satisfied and you no longer crave your favourite foods.
There are a lot of different theories to explain why this antidepressant makes you lose your appetite, but there is no way to be sure who will get this side effect. All human bodies are physiologically different.
They all suffer from different types of side effects and there is no way to prevent how your body will react once it is exposed to Lexapro.
What to do if Lexapro makes you lose your appetite?
If Lexapro makes you lose your appetite, there are a few things you can try to counteract this side effect. Some of these include:
Talk to your healthcare provider
It is extremely important to talk to your healthcare provider about your side effects. Only your doctor can help you determine if the use of Lexapro is safe for you in the long run.
If your dose is too high, your doctor may reduce it a little bit and will ask you to revisit after a week or two for follow-up. If dose reduction does not help you with your lost appetite, then your doctor may change the timing of dose administration.
Experts believe that when Lexapro, or any other medication that can cause loss of appetite, is taken at night, it may lower the intensity of this side effect. If nothing works and you continue to lose weight by not eating as much as your body needs, your doctor may switch you to another antidepressant.
Take liquid calories
If you don’t feel hungry while you’re being treated with Lexapro, you can try taking liquid calories. Studies suggest that drinking instead of eating when you don’t really feel hungry is easier than consuming solid foods.
This way you will drink your calories and your body won’t be malnourished. You can try making milkshakes of calorie-dense fruits like bananas, dates, or nuts, which can pack you up with a lot of nutrition.
Do some exercise
Try to add exercise to your daily routine, especially if you continue to not feel hungry. This is because working out burns your existing calories.
This speeds up your metabolism and you start to feel hungry naturally. Even if your loss of appetite is a medication-induced side effect, I’m sure you will feel hungry after a good workout session.
Eat your favourite foods
Try eating your favourite foods or foods that you loved to eat prior to Lexapro-induced loss of appetite. The taste of such foods will definitely remind you why you love them so much and they will be easier to ingest as compared to the food you don’t really like.
You can also try adding some of your favourite seasonings as well to make your food even more desirable.
Never skip your breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you should never, ever skip it. Taking a good amount of protein can help you jump-start your day and you will feel energetic almost the entire day. Do not deprive your body of such morning calories. A good breakfast routine can literally change your life.
- Escitalopram (Pubmed, 2002)
- Side effect profile of SSRIs (Pubmed, 2021)
- Importance of breakfast (Pubmed, 2016)
- Role of energy expenditure in hunger (Pubmed, 2021)