Antidepressants are prescribed, FDA-approved medicines used to treat depression and anxiety disorders, or prevent them from recurring. They are also used to treat other conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic attacks.
While antidepressants are generally effective at treating depression conditions, they have a number of side effects. One common side effect is a change in weight – mostly weight gain. In fact, up to 25% of people who take antidepressants gain weight.
However, not all depression medications make you gain pounds, some can actually cause weight loss – Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is known as the best antidepressant for weight loss. Let’s discuss what antidepressants cause weight loss and how they work!
If you are using birth control, see which contraceptive pills cause weight loss!
Table of Content
What Are Antidepressants?
According to a study by Our World In Data, around 264 million people worldwide (3.4% of the world’s population) are suffering from depression. Just in the United States, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders affect around 40 million people (5.9% of the US population), with over 17 million people each year. And the worst part – it is more common in adult women.
We are grateful to medical sciences, most mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are treatable using antidepressant medications.
Antidepressants work by correcting the imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain, mainly by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters, which helps to enhance communication between nerve cells to improve mood. They also reduce symptoms of fatigue and help you concentrate.
Depression medicines are typically taken for at least six to twelve weeks before their full effects are felt. However, it is important to speak with a doctor before stopping or starting any antidepressant medication.
Types Of Antidepressants:
While there are many different types of antidepressants, they can broadly be divided into five categories:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Atypical antidepressants
- SSRIs are the most common antidepressants prescribed to treat depression and anxiety at the first stages. They work by increasing the level of Serotonin in the brain. They include medications like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil).
- SNRIs work by preventing brain cells from absorbing neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine. The most popular SNRIs are duloxetine (Cymbalta), levomilnacipran (Fetzima), and venlafaxine (Effexor).
- TCAs increase levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters. However, they are not being used as often as they once were, due to their more pronounced side effects. Some TCAs include nortriptyline (Pamelor), imipramine (Tofranil), and doxepin.
- MAOIs are also not used as often as other antidepressants due to their potential for serious side effects and they must be used on a certain strict diet, but they can be effective for people who do not respond to other medications. MAOIs include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and phenelzine (Nardil).
- Atypical antidepressants don’t fit into any of the other categories. They are often used as a second-line treatment after other medications haven’t worked. Atypical antidepressants include bupropion (Wellbutrin), mirtazapine (Remeron), and trazodone (Desyrel).
What Antidepressants Cause Weight Loss?
While antidepressants are typically associated with weight gain, there are a number of antidepressants that can cause weight loss:
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
Several studies on Bupropion show that it not only aids in weight loss but also helps people maintain their weight loss in the long run. In one study, 152 obese adults were randomly assigned to receive 300 mg/day of bupropion for 56 weeks. At the end of the study, they lost about 5% of their body weight – on average.
Fluoxetine (Prozac) has also been shown to be effective for weight loss. Results of one study showed that 60 overweight women who took fluoxetine for 24 weeks, lost an average of 3% of their body weight.
However, the impact of Sertraline (Zoloft) and Duloxetine (Cymbalta) on weight loss is yet to be confirmed with further studies. Although, their continuous use for six months resulted in shedding some pounds for some participants, however, they re-gained weight.
While this may be a desirable side effect for some, it can also be harmful to health. For instance, those who take antidepressants and lose a great deal of weight may become malnourished or develop eating disorders.
Hence, it is proven from the studies that Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is the best antidepressant for weight loss. However, be aware of its side effects – the continuous use of Bupropion may cause sexual dysfunction.
Can Antidepressants Cause Weight Loss?
Yes, some antidepressants can cause weight loss. The weight loss caused by depression medication is thought to be due to a combination of the following factors:
- Many antidepressants increase norepinephrine levels in the brain. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating metabolism. Increased norepinephrine levels can lead to increased metabolism, resulting in weight loss.
- Some antidepressant medications can affect appetite and lead to reduced food intake and weight loss.
- Antidepressants can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and diarrhea which can also lead to weight loss.
While weight loss caused by antidepressants may be welcome for some people, it can also be a cause for concern. If you are experiencing unintended weight loss, it is important to talk to your doctor about the potential causes and possible solutions.
Antidepressants That Give You Energy And Weight Loss
Obesity makes you adopt a sedentary lifestyle and laziness, and so does depression. If you are depressed, feeling down and also experiencing a low energy stream, perhaps you should try the following antidepressants:
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
These prescribed anxiety medicines work as “energizers” to boost your energy, and also aid with shedding some pounds – but only in long run!
Antidepressants For Menopause And Weight Loss
Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. While most women experience menopause in their early 50s, the exact age can vary depending on individual factors.
During menopause, levels of the hormone estrogen decline, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, irritability, weight gain, and vaginal dryness. While these symptoms can be annoying, they usually go away on their own after a few years.
Also, read how to lose weight after 40 in a healthy way.
However, some women experience more severe symptoms that can interfere with their quality of life. For these women, antidepressants may be an effective treatment option. Antidepressants can help to relieve menopausal symptoms by correcting imbalances in brain chemistry.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant for menopause, and they have been shown to be safe and effective. Some antidepressants from the class SNRIs also provide relief from menopause symptoms.
Although SSRIs and SNRIs are not approved to treat menopause symptoms, but they can soften the effect of hot flashes.
The most effective antidepressants for menopause and weight loss are:
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor).
If you are struggling with menopausal symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether antidepressants may be right for you.
Side Effects Of Antidepressants:
Though antidepressants are generally safe and effective, they can cause a number of side effects – that’s why they are not prescribed for weight loss. The most common side effects are:
- Change in weight
- Sexual dysfunction
- Rapid heartbeat
Some people may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking antidepressants.
Although antidepressants are not approved to treat obesity, some of them are found to have a potential side effect – weight loss. These include bupropion (Wellbutrin), duloxetine (Cymbalta), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft). These medications are typically taken for at least six to twelve weeks before their full effects are felt.
We do not recommend taking any of the anxiety medication for weight loss on your own, always consult with your doctor to seek professional advice and proper guidelines.
Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)
Does Zoloft cause weight loss?
Sertraline (Zoloft) has been found to be effective for weight loss in some studies. In a study of obese adults, those who took Zoloft for 16 weeks, lost an average of 4% of their body weight.
What antidepressants cause no weight gain?
Antidepressants Bupropion (Wellbutrin), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft) cause no weight gain. In fact, they have been associated with weight loss.
What anxiety medicine causes weight loss?
Bupropion (Wellbutrin) is a prescribed anxiety medicine that causes weight loss. It works by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine, which helps to reduce appetite, resulting in less eating and losing some pounds.
Can you lose weight while on antidepressants?
Yes, some people may lose weight while taking certain antidepressants, such as Bupropion (Wellbutrin), duloxetine (Cymbalta), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft). These medications typically need to be taken for at least six to twelve weeks before their full effects are felt.
Does Prozac cause weight loss?
Yes, Fluoxetine (Prozac) has been shown to be effective for weight loss in some studies