How to lose weight while taking Seroquel

Hello there,

If you have just recently started or have been taking Seroquel you may have noticed some weight gain. This seems to be a very common side effect of the medication and can be very upsetting. I have been taking this medication for four years now and have gained over 40 pounds since I started taking it. I have read countless online forum posts about the weight gain from Seroquel and there seems to be very little information on how to not gain weight from this drug. Another point I noticed was people saying it seems like losing weight on this medication is nearly impossible. In this post I am going to go over some things to help others on their weight loss journey while taking this medication.

First, I want to say their isn't any quick and easy way to lose weight while on this drug. It is the same as anyone else looking to lose weight. Its about calories in/calories out, getting enough exercise, and getting proper nutrition.

Some information on me : I'm 5'4 SW 183-CW 172. I take 100mg seroquel at bedtime.

Now, I'll start with explaining why someone gains weight while taking this drug. Some people state it slows the metabolism down and some say it has to do with glucose levels. It is known to raise glucose levels, however, the main reason it causes people to gain weight is because when the medication kicks in they get hungry. REALLY hungry. I deal with it every night and it has drastically affected my weight. However, there are ways to deal with it. I do not recommend appetite suppressants. The best thing to do is plan for it. If you know you are going to get really hungry at night plan your meals properly throughout the day so you don't go over your calorie limit for the day. It may seem like a lot of work, but it is necessary if you want to stay within your calorie limit and actually lose weight. I cannot stress this enough. It is the main reason I have lost weight!

Now, when you are trying to lose weight while on seroquel it is important to not have foods you know you will over eat. Like chips, pop, candy, cereals, etc. Whatever that food is you won't be able to control yourself from eating when you take this medication, just don't have it around! From personal experience I know you get insanely hungry (ESPECIALLY for sweets and chocolate!! ) and will just grab whatever you crave and chances are you won't eat it because you will be too sleepy to get it! There is really no way( at least for me personally/may not be the same for others) around this hunger you get and if your like me you can't sleep unless you eat something. The best thing to reach for is fruit and vegetables. I find that one banana will really help make you feel full so you can get to sleep.

An important thing I want to note is that some people think that because they take this medication they just can't lose weight and don't try. Only 25% of people gain weight from this drug ( statistics taken from case studies ). Weight gain from seroquel is not an unknown phenomena that cannot be explained. I've read countless forum posts of people stating its unknown and uncontrollable and this is just simply not true.

I hope this advice helps, and feel free to send me any questions and I will do my best to help :)

Good luck! You can do it!!!


  • ggluvbug1
    ggluvbug1 Posts: 87 Member
    My son was on Seroquel for several years, and he changed to Abilify in August. He has lost 26 pounds since then. It was like you said....his cravings (specifically very carby foods) were crazy, and he would get up in the middle of the night eating. Definitely keeping those trigger foods out of reach will help those struggling with it.
  • weavernv
    weavernv Posts: 1,555 Member
    The cravings are maddening!
  • Sophsmother
    Sophsmother Posts: 97 Member
    I'm on 600 milligrams at night as a sleep aid. I was skinny when I started taking it for sleep. My psychiatrist tried me on every known sleep medication there was to no avail. I would literally not fall asleep. My insomnia is off the charts.

    So when he gave me the seroquel, we had a long talk about the weight gain potential. I was so desperate for sleep that I didn't care. I gained 70 pounds. Suddenly I craved things I had NEVER craved before ... ice cream, cookies, brownies, pasta, bread. I couldn't eat enough. And even on a VLCD, the weight would trickle off. My metabolism is just not the same anymore.

    So now I;m trying once again to get the weight off. It's so hard, but I'm afraid of the side effects of being obese. I know it will take a long time to get back to where I once was, but I have to try.
  • mysticlizard
    mysticlizard Posts: 896 Member
    I have been on 300mg at 6pm for years. In Oct. 2014 I weighed 292 today I weigh 235. I leave enough calories that I can munch on rice cakes throughout the evening. For me it is all about CICO. :)
  • MarziPanda95
    MarziPanda95 Posts: 1,318 Member
    This also goes for other medications that make you more hungry and therefore make you gain weight. I was on high doses (95mg at one point) of prednisone and that made me mad hungry too. I learnt to deal with it in the end by not blaming the medication. I realised that if I blamed the medication it was too easy to just eat when I didn't need food. Like 'oh, it's the medication, there's nothing I can do about this hunger so it's not my fault if I eat'. I dealt with it by realising that WASN'T true. The medication did NOT have control over what I put in my mouth, only I had that power. I made myself gain weight, not the prednisone. I lost about 45lbs whilst on the prednisode with that mindset, and I've lost another 6lbs since coming off it a little over a month ago.
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,574 Member
    There are multiple mechanisms involved in weight gain and Seroquel -- most of them not clearly understood. Some people manage by staying away from carbs. This explains some research on other medications that can help sometimes..
  • sfdcubfan
    sfdcubfan Posts: 7 Member
    After years of messing with clonazepam and lunesta (followed by periods of ambien use), I suggested seroquel to my psychiatrist and she was very happy that i did so, because she knows I'd balk at the threat of medicine-induced weight gain.

    My previous psych had me try it during the day, and 25 mg knocked me out. But I'm low range manic depressive and borderline bipolar, and I know when I hit a hyper manic state. The problem is that my brain is no longer allowing the sleep aids to do their job, so I'm giving in with the seroquel.

    Now that I realize that it's more about cravings for sweets, I can absolutely control that. My biggest worry then is about the blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. I've been a strict vegan since 2008, and I think my age and ancestry (48, Eastern European Jewish descent) has enabled my body to put those on the increase. The last fasting blood test I had, my chol was 179 (LDL was in the 80's) and my tri's were high too. It's just what my body was manufacturing. I'm going to do a baseline test asap and see what happens with the seroquel after 3 months (in addition to hopefully being able to fit in my clothes!). I'm 5'8, 132 lbs....

    So I'm thinking would it be best to go raw vegan, maybe 80/10/10, in order to offset what the seroquel may do to my blood levels? I don't mind craving food, esp if I can snarf on banana's and berries, etc. I never eat at night anyway because then I won't be able to sleep, and that's what I taking this for in the first place (50 mg at night).

    So I guess my issue is if I do gain the weight and my blood levels change for the worse (I do P90X and Insanity 6 days/wk), will going raw vegan keep things safe for me? Oh, and my trick to not eat after dinner? Brushing my teeth, followed by a wicked strong mouthwash to kill my palate. Works every time.
  • Cathycat123
    Cathycat123 Posts: 1 Member
    I have to comment on the Seroquel XR. Prescribed to me to help with depression / anxiety etc - along with lots of other pills. I wasn't warned I could gain weight, it just started coming on and before I knew it I was 40 pounds up. I'm not convinced that the food people are putting into their mouths is the problem. I had gastric bypass about 10 years ago and kept myself just where I wanted to be for more than 5 years. Started taking the Seroquel and maybe it's the slowing of metabolism - I can't say but I know it is not what I am eating. I do not eat pasta / rice / bread. I always eat my protein before eating anything else and next my veggies. If I really want to try something I'm ok with taking a bite and deciding it isn't worth the fat so I stop there. I've been seeing a nutritionist etc and following closely what I have been told to eat. Never more than 1200 calories a day. minimal sugar / carbs/fat. I bought a fit bit and I've been exercising but the weight will not budge. So my question to anyone out there is this. What if I were to get off of the Seroquel? Would the weight start to come off? If anyone knows please help me out here.
  • marymickaela
    marymickaela Posts: 190 Member
    I started on 400mg of Seroquel last December and gained 18lbs within a couple months. It does increase the cravings immensely, I'm almost ravenous. I take it for sleep and like someone here also said, I am resistant to all the sleep meds on the market and we've tried them all. It's a 20 year old problem. Most are comprised of benzos and I've developed a tolerance so they're out. Any new one might work for a month before it stops working.

    I saw my doctor two days ago to discuss getting off the Seroquel and trying Trazadone. The Seroquel also causes me to have Restless Leg Syndrome so he added Requip which works like a charm. I've tried Trazadone in the past and it also causes RLS, but I figured since I'm already on the Requip I've got that covered.

    I take many meds for bipolar, depression, ADHD, PTSD, etc. He said he will no longer keep throwing drugs at me and I need to get off the Seroquel before we try the Trazadone and lowered the Seroquel down to 300mg. I'm to go back in two weeks and he'll make another cut. In the meantime he has me taking 3mg of Klonopin at bedtime and said it should cover the sleep problem. I was so anxious to get off the Seroquel I didn't think to point out that Klonopin is a benzo. Wednesday night it took me two hours to get to sleep, but once I got to sleep I slept thru the night. Last night wasn't great and I woke up at 5am. I'm determined to get off the Seroquel thou so hope I can tough it out until I can try the Trazadone.

  • stringsandthings3
    stringsandthings3 Posts: 1 Member
    Reading all these postings where people say they just can't lose weight no matter what they try, when on Seroquel, is very discouraging. I am gaining in my belly, not everywhere else. it's bizarre and distressing.

    Weight gain is evident, and about 20 lbs, though my goal is to take off about 15. I don't like to be too skinny.

    Stopping the meds. isn't an option, and I didn't want to take weight loss pills.

    I am on 400mg of lithium a day and 600mg of seroquel at night.
    I also take omega-3, biotin, a multivitamin, iron, and two laxatives.

    by the way, I was on 300 mg. of seroquel alone, last year, and I was depressed 3months and manic the next 3, with no in between. basically, it DID NOT WORK. The lithium and 600mg of seroquel seems to be work. thank God something is.

    I am dehydrated (probably from the lithium) and have to drink 8 glasses of water a day. If I don't I feel really sick and get headaches. Also I was constipated (from the iron and the seroquel?) and my internist put me on two kinds of laxatives.

    I do NOT want to get diabetes. and I do not want to look pregnant or with a beer belly. I hear about people gaining 300 lbs on seroquel, and that is NOT going to be ME.

    It's going to take a while to get used to eating dark green vegetables, and some fruits, and protein, and not eating carbs and sugar. Those were my psychiatrist's instructions.

    I tried not eating breakfast but that didn't work for me at all. I was miserable and craved junk food.
    From the charts I got from my dr., anything that has alot of fiber (like oats) doesn't count as a carb.

    Here's my basic diet, so far:
    breakfast - oatmeal raw, with raisins and milk
    lunch - varies: a salad, or sandwich without the bread, or cooked peppers with kidney beans, or tuna,
    dinner-frozen broccoli and a card deck sized piece of steak

    run - 6 o'clock most evenings, maybe a few miles. usually the same course each day

    I used to work out at a health club for 2 hours when I went, but then, I didn't go every day, and what I really need to do for my body to get in shape is run, and this health club doesn't have a track, and I hate treadmills. I've been trying to get my roommate/boyfriend to run with me, and sometimes he bikes next to me, and that helps a lot. My running muscles are starting to come back.

    The first two weeks I tried to diet, I just kept my weight the same. which is an improvement, I was gaining before, without overeating. I am not extremely hungry, unless I skip meals, and then I am. I had started to run about a week before. Two days ago the scale said I had lost one pound. and now it's down three pounds.
  • LaurensE1
    LaurensE1 Posts: 187 MFP Moderator
    Perhaps ask your psych / doctor to take it just before going to sleep. Then hopefully sleep all night and wake up (although) hungry in the morning but this way you won't have the midnight cravings.
  • Christine_72
    Christine_72 Posts: 16,056 Member
    edited August 2015
    My husbands doctor prescribed him Seroquel 25mg purely as a sleeping tablet, no mental issues. I'll have one every now and then, and it knocks me out to the point I don't even remember going to bed, and I also wake up ravenous the next day.

    How on earth do people take 300mg during the day????? I'd be asleep on the couch all day and undoubtedly would put on weight because I would not be able to put one foot in front of the other...
  • metukah79
    metukah79 Posts: 1 Member
    When I was just on Seroquel, along with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs, I had no problem losing weight while dieting and/or exercising; you can't just stop, though, because then you will gain weight. But now being on Lithium - though withdrawing under a doctor's supervision - and Risperdal, NOTHING that I do will help me to lose weight. If kicking the lithium doesn't do it, I'm dropping the Risperdal. But Seroquel alone will give you a fighting chance to be fit.
  • JeffBrown3
    JeffBrown3 Posts: 161 Member
    edited September 2015
    I took it for over a year at 200mg per day. I gained about 40 lbs while on it. Good luck with losing weight. It also made me insulin resistant.
  • WeddedBliss1992
    WeddedBliss1992 Posts: 414 Member
    edited September 2015
    i am on 400 XR. i gained so much weight as soon as i got on it, and i didn't change my dietary habits. the drug put the weight on me. i know alot of people disagree, but that was my experience. i am now on metformin to try to cut some of my weight, had tried topamax in the past but it didn't do anything. i know that my mental health is important, so i have to continue to take it right now. it also increased my cholesterol, it is horribly horribly high. hoping the metformin and some dietary changes can help lower that.
  • WeddedBliss1992
    WeddedBliss1992 Posts: 414 Member
    My husbands doctor prescribed him Seroquel 25mg purely as a sleeping tablet, no mental issues. I'll have one every now and then, and it knocks me out to the point I don't even remember going to bed, and I also wake up ravenous the next day.

    How on earth do people take 300mg during the day????? I'd be asleep on the couch all day and undoubtedly would put on weight because I would not be able to put one foot in front of the other...

    seroquel is not to be taken during the day. it is to be taken about 3 hours before bedtime. of course you can get used to it, like i did, and now 400 mg doesn't even make me drowsy anymore.
  • qubetha
    qubetha Posts: 83 Member
    edited September 2015
    I have a theory that it's the drowsiness that triggers my body into falsely thinking it needs more energy since it always seems to be highly stimulating things that wake me up (exercise, drinking caffeine etc) that make me feel less hungry.....a can of Pepsi max keeps the hunger at bay for 90 mins or more in my case.....but I could be crazy.....I am on seroquel after all (jk!)

    And I also agree with earlier posts......If you are really suffering mentally, fix mental health before worrying about physical health. Gain the weight knowing that your mind is healing and then get rid of the weight again when you are ready to face the world again. It may seem crazy to do it that way but sometimes you have to be patient if you want to change your life in the long term. One thing at a time.
  • Werk2Eat
    Werk2Eat Posts: 114 Member
    I take xanax for anxiety and to sleep. Been on it for almost 20 years. It always makes me hungry so i always eat dinner late so im not hungry before bed. (I cant sleep if im hungry). Never thought of it as a cause of weight gain. I honestly would not take that medication if it "actually" causes weight gain. It seems to me people are just trying to pass the blame onto a medication that makes you hungry as the cause of their weight gain.
  • WeddedBliss1992
    WeddedBliss1992 Posts: 414 Member
    Werk2Eat wrote: »
    I take xanax for anxiety and to sleep. Been on it for almost 20 years. It always makes me hungry so i always eat dinner late so im not hungry before bed. (I cant sleep if im hungry). Never thought of it as a cause of weight gain. I honestly would not take that medication if it "actually" causes weight gain. It seems to me people are just trying to pass the blame onto a medication that makes you hungry as the cause of their weight gain.

    it's easy to say you wouldn't take it, but after spending months and months trying to find a medication that actually works, it's not so easy to just drop it from my regime. i have heard alot of people say that i use the med as an excuse for my weight, but it was a direct cause. i was about 150 when i started it and i topped-out at 184 after only a few months on it with no change in my eating habits. i don't feel that i have an increase in hunger at all.