I believe that it’s a little weird that people interested in weight loss started searching for antidepressants that cause weight loss because the main usage for this pills is for depression, anxiety and panic attack treatment.
Nonetheless, I won’t talk about these specific issues here because the main subject now, is about antidepressants and possible weight loss effects of using them.
Well, weight loss or weight gain, depending on how you respond to them, is a possible “side-effect” or using them but the reality is that these so called “side-effects” are mostly created by people that take the pills.
In a nutshell, anti-depressants mostly affect your dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine levels and these hormones are involved in bodyweight regulation, so basically, a drug that affects the levels of this hormones can improve weight loss but the mechanisms are way more complicated than this and there are psychological effects that need to be taken into consideration.
Researching Antidepressants That Cause Weight Loss
First, let’s see some of the common researched and reported effects of different antidepressants – these are NOT written in stone because the effects can vary for every person but this list is just so you can make an idea what happens at a psychological level.
SSRI’s or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – mainly used to treat moderate to severe depression symptoms, anxiety disorders and people using them commonly report loss of appetite.
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
Most people taking Zoloft reported low success rates with this medication but the ones that had the best experience were the ones that had the habit of eating big meals – in the end, this medication helped them reduce their appetite.
Celexa is useful against impulsive eating and Prozac users also reported short term weight loss with the weight coming back in the long-term.
From the commonly reported side effects of using SSRI’s, the ones that we are interested in is weight gain or weight loss (as a side note, I don’t really like the fact that they can cause reduced sexual desire or decreased libido).
SNRIs or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors – Another type of anti-depressants that can help people lose weight indirectly, these medications are mostly effective when it comes to depression symptoms, nerve and anxiety related pains.
Effexor (venlafaxine) – some people report no positive effects when it comes to motivation, some people report libido decrease and weight gain
Cymbalta (duloxetine) – used mainly for fibromyalgia treatment, it may help you kill the appetite.
Atypical Antidepressants – Wellbutrin is most commonly prescribed for ADHD and depression symptoms.
Most people reported side effects like increased motivation, energy and loss of appetite which are in conformity with the expected side effects these medications could give a person using them.
Clearing The Confusion
Now, I believe that I made you even more confused but that will be cleared in a minute.
The most common reasons for weight gain when looking at research studies are the following:
- Increased appetite which leads to more food
- Increased preference for sweetes
- Changes in how bodyfat is stored
- Decreased caloric expenditure due to the fact that the person moves less
- Improving certain factors that can keep your weight up or down – depression
- Increased caloric consumption
As you can see, looking at all these reported “side-effects”, be it weight loss or weight gain, what you must understand is that antidepressants don’t cause weight loss or weight gain by themselves.
They can make you gain weight or lose weight depending on what effects they have on a psychological level.
They are just an indirect factor to weight loss because they can either reduce appetite, increase energy expenditure and make you more motivated OR they can have the exact opposite effect of decreasing energy expenditure indirectly by making you move less, be less motivated and increase your appetite.
As usual, the most important thing to do is to control your caloric intake by eating more or less and stop trying search for antidepressants that cause weight loss because they don’t exist.