More than 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressants to deal with depression. For essentially the most half, these medicines get the job performed. Your well being care supplier might must tweak your dosage or swap you to a special variety to seek out the most effective match, however most individuals discover an enchancment in 6 weeks or so.
Like each different remedy, antidepressants have unintended effects that have an effect on some, however not all folks. One of essentially the most notable is weight acquire.
To be truthful, weight gain or loss could be part of any mood disorder, whether or not you’re taking an antidepressant or not. Some folks lose their urge for food and shed weight; others crave carbs, eat extra, train much less, and acquire weight.
So what are you able to count on and what are your choices?
Effects on Weight Can Vary
If melancholy dimmed your urge for food, weight acquire may very well be a very good factor.
“I’ve had some individuals feel so much better on medication that they are willing to work toward ways to lose weight and eat healthier since they are feeling better,” says Uma Naidoo, MD, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, skilled chef, dietary biologist, and creator of This Is Your Brain on Food. “If they had been losing weight due to a loss of appetite, it may be a relief to be eating better.”
If melancholy revved up your urge for food, the additional kilos might put your bodily well being in danger. But melancholy is a critical medical situation that wants therapy.
“Ultimately the goal of antidepressant treatment for most is to achieve remission of troubling depressive symptoms and recover to a life that feels more connected and hopeful,” says Kelly N. Gable, PharmD, BCPP, professor and director of Well-being and Resilience at SIUE School of Pharmacy and Psychiatric Pharmacist at Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis, MO. “If antidepressant treatment is part of that journey, we must always ensure that the side effects do not overshadow the benefits along the way.”
Does Weight Gain Happen With All Antidepressants?
No. And it doesn’t occur to everybody.
“In general, weight gain is a possible side effect of most antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Prozac or Celexa, but each person will react to antidepressants differently,” Naidoo says.
How a lot weight acquire is typical? 1 / 4 of those that take antidepressants acquire 10 kilos or extra, Naidoo estimates.
Is Weight Gain More Likely With Some Types of Antidepressants Than Others?
Yes. Antidepressants are grouped primarily based on how they work together with sure chemical receptors in your mind. The most frequently prescribed sorts are:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) embody citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), paroxetine mesylate (Pexeva), and sertraline (Zoloft). They improve the degrees of serotonin in your mind.
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) change the way in which the neurotransmitters in your mind discuss to your mind cells. Examples embody desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), levomilnacipran (Fetzima), and venlafaxine (Effexor XR).
- Tricyclic antidepressants improve the quantity of serotonin and norepinephrine in your mind and embody desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), and nortriptyline (Pamelor).
- Atypical antidepressants, equivalent to bupropion (Wellbutrin) and mirtazapine (Remeron), don’t match into the teams above, however, just like the others, they alter your mind chemistry to deal with melancholy.
“SSRIs as a class are all fairly comparable with regard to weight gain risk, with paroxetine [Paxil] being the most likely in this group,” Gable says. “When comparing all antidepressants, bupropion [Wellbutrin] is the least likely to cause weight gain and, in most cases, will be weight neutral or cause weight loss over time. Alternatively, mirtazapine [Remeron] is most widely implicated in weight gain as a side effect.”
What Are the Potential Side Effects of Weight Gain From Antidepressants?
Five kilos or much less received’t have a giant impact in your general well being. But 10 kilos or extra can change your ldl cholesterol and blood pressure, and lift your threat for diabetes.
That stated, it’s essential to maintain your targets in thoughts. Depression is a critical situation. It’s the main reason behind incapacity worldwide, affecting work, relationships, and even coronary heart well being, Gable notes.
“Any weight gain must be weighed against the negative possible outcomes of untreated depression,” Gable says.
If I Gain Weight, How Should I Manage It?
If you discover weight acquire, or any unintended effects from antidepressants that concern you, discuss to your well being care supplier first. It could possibly be the antidepressants, elevated urge for food as melancholy lifts, or one thing else.
“It’s important when taking any medication, and in particular antidepressants, to be closely followed by your mental health provider, as well as a primary care provider,” Naidoo says. “They will have the ability and knowledge to identify risk factors and screen for any conditions for which one may be at risk.”
If there are different drawbacks to your present remedy, you could be higher suited to a special antidepressant.
“For some individuals who experience significant weight gain, or find weight gain to be troublesome, switching antidepressants may be an option,” Gable says.
For occasion, she says that in case you’re taking an SSRI, “switching to fluoxetine [Prozac] could be helpful. Considering a trial of bupropion [Wellbutrin] may also be an option. But this must always be balanced with the positive side effects that may have occurred with the antidepressant in question, as not all antidepressants will have the same positive impact on each individual person. If you find an antidepressant that works well for you, sticking with that treatment and trying some weight loss strategies may be the best path to take.”
Can I Prevent Weight Gain While on Antidepressants?
“Optimizing your nutritional intake with plant-predominant whole foods that are nutrient-dense and rich in fiber and adding in a physical activity routine that brings joy can be very helpful in maintaining a healthy weight while taking an antidepressant,” Naidoo says.
Remember to rule out different components, like thyroid hormone adjustments, menstrual cycle adjustments, digestive points, or ingesting extra alcohol.