I have been on fluoxetine for my OCD for awhile now. If you are familiar with the past few years on the blog, you might know that I was on medication, went off, had a breakdown, and got back on medication. I think I’ve stayed on since that point.
However, as many of us who are on antidepressants can attest, one common side effect is weight gain. Unfortunately, my body in the last few years has really embraced that side effect. In fact, that’s why I went off my meds awhile ago in the first place. I wanted to see if I could lose the weight without the medication—and it worked pretty well, except for the whole “mental health breakdown” thing.
Weaning off the meds
So, at the beginning of the year, I thought, “I’m going to wean off the medication again.” I was going to group therapy. We had moved to a more stable environment. I thought it would be fine. I started taking my pills every other day, then maybe 2-3 times a week.
Then the pandemic happened, and I quickly realized that weaning off a medication on my own during a global crisis when my whole family was with me in the house all the time was not such a good idea. I was sleeping so much, cranky, etc. It was not great.
I went back on the medication at the dosage I had been taking (one pill a day). But I was still a bit depressed about the whole weight gain thing. My husband and I talked, and we decided that it would be best for me to talk to a psychiatrist/mental health professional about the best method to wean off my medication.
Seeing a doctor
Luckily, the Pacific Northwest has this great service called Zoom+ care where you can get same day appointments to see doctors online, and they also have specialist doctors. I made an appointment to have a video chat with a mental health doctor.
We discussed my mental health history, what medication I had been/currently am on, etc. And somehow, by the end of the call, instead of weaning off my fluoxetine, I had a prescription for wellbutrin (and was instructed to keep taking my fluoxetine).
The doctor explained that it would hopefully help with weight loss while also working with the fluoxetine to keep me stable in regards to my mental health.
I’ve been on both fluoxetine and wellbutrin for about a month now. I can’t say that I’ve seen huge (or any?) improvements on the weight front, sadly. Also, it’s negatively affected my sleep. I have a follow up appointment this week to discuss all of these things and see what she thinks I should do!
My advice: don’t wean off medication on your own. Talk to a professional. They may have other ideas, or, at least give you a proper way to wean off your medications that will minimize withdrawal symptoms.