Few number of antidepressants can induce weight loss. Many people who suffer from depression have worked hard to overcome their illness by going to therapy and using antidepressant drugs. Weight gain and loss are both side effects of antidepressants, while neither is a side effect of every medicine used to treat depression.

Any side effect, including weight-related side effects, is totally dependent on how your body reacts to the medicine. No matter which medication you take, it is possible that you will not notice a difference in your weight or that it will swing in the opposite direction. Weight fluctuations are just transient for some people.

If you have been diagnosed with depression, your doctor will talk to you about the appropriate medicine for you based on your unique needs. This involves the consideration of weight.

According to several research studies, bupropion use in MDD (Major depressive disorder) can result in weight loss. If your doctor thinks this drug will help you more than other antidepressants, they will tell you.

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Antidepressants can cause weight gain or loss. While the majority of antidepressants produce weight gain, a select handful might suppress appetite and cause nausea, vomiting, or weight reduction. This could be a transient side effect as your body adjusts to the drug.

What are antidepressants?

Antidepressants are FDA-approved drugs that are often given to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. They can be beneficial in treating these disorders, but they also have a number of negative side effects, including weight loss.

In any given year, over 264 million people worldwide suffer from depression, while an estimated 40 million people in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders. Antidepressants, cognitive behavioral therapy, or a combination of treatment modalities can be used to treat anxiety and depression.

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat a variety of mental illnesses, including:

Most antidepressants act by altering neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

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Antidepressants are divided into five categories, each of which affects these neurotransmitters in a distinct way:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs):

Doctors frequently prescribe SSRIs as the first-line treatment for depression and anxiety. In comparison to other types of antidepressants, SSRI drugs have fewer adverse effects and are less prone to create issues at higher therapeutic doses. SSRIs function by enhancing the activity of the chemical serotonin in the brain, as their name suggests. Sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), and vilazodone are examples of SSRI drugs (Viibryd).

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs):

SNRIs function by preventing the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine from being reabsorbed in the brain. Duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor XR), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and levomilnacipran are examples of SNRI drugs (Fetzima).

Tricyclic antidepressants:

Tricyclic antidepressants have higher adverse effects than either SSRIs or SNRIs. As a result, tricyclic antidepressants are typically used only when SSRIs or SNRIs have failed to relieve symptoms, or for specific problems for which they are known to be more helpful. Ipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), amitriptyline, doxepin, and desipramine are examples of tricyclic antidepressants (Norpramin).

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Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs):

MAOIs, like tricyclic antidepressants, are often used only when other treatments have failed. MAOI use can have substantial side effects and should be accompanied by a rigorous diet, as particular foods, such as certain cheeses, pickles, and wines, can cause harmful or even fatal interactions. MAOIs and SSRIs are incompatible. Tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), and isocarboxazid are examples of MAOIs (Marplan).

Atypical antidepressants:

This category contains antidepressants that do not fit within the other four types of medications. Trazodone, mirtazapine (Remeron), vortioxetine (Trintellix), and bupropion are some examples of atypical antidepressants (Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL).If you’ve been prescribed an antidepressant, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Always remember:

Do not take a different dose or for a longer or shorter amount of time than your doctor has suggested.

Keep in mind that it may take two to eight weeks for an antidepressant to take action after you have been prescribed one.

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Some small side effects may occur in the first two weeks after starting the medicine, but most will pass.

Why does antidepressants affect weight?

Antidepressants can affect hunger pathways, which is one reason why they can induce weight gain. Antidepressants that help you lose weight may do so by lowering your appetite. Those that induce weight gain may instead boost hunger.

Depression can impair your activity levels, eating choices, and sleep patterns, all of which have an impact on your weight. As the drug reduces depressive symptoms, these habits may change as well. You may gain or lose weight when these behaviors alter.

Your weight may alter while taking an antidepressant, depending on your family history. One study discovered that having a family history of obesity can help predict weight gain when using this sort of medication.

Can taking antidepressants lead to weight loss?

Well, that depends on the person. Weight loss (or increase) is one of the many negative effects that antidepressants can have. Antidepressants affect people differently, with some patients experiencing no adverse effects at all. While the majority of antidepressants cause weight gain, a handful have been associated to weight decrease. Fluoxetine, bupropion, and duloxetine are examples.

Why are antidepressants not used to help people lose weight?

Antidepressants are not recommended for weight loss for numerous reasons. Here are a few examples:

  • Antidepressants are not useful for weight loss, according to scientific data.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has not approved antidepressants as a sort of weight-loss drug.
  • Antidepressants might have substantial adverse effects, making them unsuitable for weight loss.
  • Because the vast majority of antidepressants are linked to weight gain, they may fail to achieve their intended goal.

Do some antidepressants cause weight loss?

More than a dozen antidepressant medications are commonly administered. Only one, however, has been linked to weight loss in studies: bupropion (brand name Wellbutrin; see Important Safety Information).

A meta-analysis of 27 research on antidepressants and weight gain published in 2019 indicated that antidepressants can increase body weight by 5% on average, with the exception of bupropion, which was linked to weight decrease.

Another 2016 study looked at the long-term weight reduction effects of several antidepressants and discovered that nonsmokers who used bupropion dropped 7.1 pounds over two years. (Smokers did not have this impact.) The other medications in the research caused people to gain weight.

Bupropion appears to aid in the maintenance of weight loss. Adults with obesity who took bupropion SR (standard release) at 300mg or 400mg doses for 24 weeks lost 7.2 percent and 10% of their body weight, respectively, and maintained much of the weight loss after 48 weeks, according to a 2012 study.

In fact, bupropion is a component of the FDA-approved weight-loss medication naltrexone-bupropion (brand name Contrave).

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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