Health and Welness

How can antidepressants affect your weight?

Many people with depression have worked hard to treat their illness by undergoing treatment and taking antidepressants. Side effects associated with antidepressants include both weight gain and weight loss, although this is not a side effect of all medications used to treat depression. However, any side effects, including weight-related side effects, depend entirely on how your body reacts to a medication. You may not notice any change in weight or you may lean in the opposite direction of what is typical, regardless of the medication you are taking. For some people, the weight fluctuation is only temporary.

Weight-related side effects of antidepressants

Weight changes are among the reported side effects of antidepressant medications. While everyone’s response is different, there are some antidepressants that are more associated with weight loss, while a few others have been linked to weight gain.

Why Do Antidepressants Affect Weight?

One reason antidepressants can cause weight changes is that some of these medications impact appetite pathways. Antidepressants that cause weight loss may do so by causing a decrease in your appetite. Those that cause weight gain may stimulate appetite instead.

Depression itself can also affect your activity levels, food choices, and sleep patterns, all of which affect weight. So, as the medication begins to reduce feelings of depression, these behaviors may change as well. When these behaviors change, you may find that you gain or lose weight.

Your family history may even have an impact on whether your weight will change while you are taking an antidepressant. For example, one study found that a family history of obesity helps predict weight gain while taking this type of medication.

Which antidepressants cause weight loss?

Included in antidepressants associated with weight loss are Prozac (fluoxetine) and Wellbutrin (bupropion). People taking Effexor (venlafaxine) may experience rapid weight loss, and in a 10-year study, Effexor was associated with lower than average weight gain.

A link involves a statistical association, so it does not predict individual outcomes. In other words, it is antidepressants that are associated with weight loss, but it is not antidepressants that cause weight loss every time. Also, sometimes the weight loss effects fade after a few months of antidepressant use.

Prozac is an SSRI. Effexor is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Wellbutrin is an atypical antidepressant that does not alter serotonin levels in the brain. Instead, it only alters other brain chemicals such as norepinephrine and dopamine. This is associated not only with weight loss, but also with improved sexual functioning.

However, Wellbutrin may not be suitable for everyone. This is especially true for people with a history of seizures or eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

Like all antidepressants, Wellbutrin, Prozac, and Effexor carry a black box warning. This indicates their potential to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and actions in children, adolescents, and young adults during the early stages of treatment.

Which antidepressants cause weight gain?

Weight gain while taking an antidepressant is complicated. There has been some research into the trade of brain chemicals, antidepressants, and hormones that may cause weight gain, but more research is needed.

A study showed that about 65% of people taking antidepressants gained weight. Another noted that weight gain may be a “significant cause” of discontinuing treatment in the first two months.

Still, not all antidepressants have this side effect. Exploration shows that weight gain is primarily related to many antidepressants:

  • Paxil( paroxetine) and Celexa ( citalopram) picky serotonin reuptake impediments( SSRIs)
  • Elavil( amitriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant.
  • Remeron ( mirtazapine) is an atypical antidepressant.

What to ask a doctor

It’s important to seek help for depression, and antidepressants are a very effective treatment for many people. However, people should discuss the side effects of antidepressants with their doctor before starting treatment so they know what to expect.

People who are already taking antidepressants should tell their doctor about any side effects, including weight gain.

If a person feels that the benefits of the drug, such as being able to manage depression, outweigh the side effects, the doctor may advise them to gain weight by changing their diet and doing more physical activity.

Research suggests that exercise can improve mood and reduce depression. In addition, it may be useful to consult a dietician in order to develop a suitable diet that will not have a negative effect on the treatment of the person.

A person may also ask their doctor to adjust the dose or switch to another antidepressant to reduce side effects and manage weight. Sometimes, even switching to another antidepressant in the same drug class can reduce symptoms.

It is important not to take any weight loss medications or supplements without consulting a doctor first, as they may interfere with antidepressants.

To take away:

Although some antidepressants cause weight gain in some people, they are an effective treatment for many people with depression.

People taking antidepressants should tell their doctor about any side effects they experience, including weight gain. For many people, managing depression will take priority over losing weight.

In some people, adopting a healthier lifestyle while taking antidepressants, or switching to another antidepressant, can reverse weight gain.

A person should always consult a doctor before making any changes to their medications, diet, or level of physical activity.