Which antidepressants are more likely to increase body weight?

Results of a new study comparing the effects of eight widely used drugs.

In a new study, scientists at Harvard University have discovered the antidepressants that cause the most weight gain and the least.

In a study of more than 180,000 volunteers, they concluded that those taking three specific drugs were 10 to 15% more likely to gain at least 5% of their body weight than those taking five other drugs.

Correspondingly, those taking the other two antidepressants were 15-20% less likely to be overweight.

Antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the West. In the US alone, 14% of adults take them. Weight gain is a common side effect. But it is not desirable because it affects metabolic health in the long run. It also prompts some patients to stop taking it without treating their depression.

However, although antidepressants are associated with weight gain, each may have different effects. However, the evidence for this to date is limited, Write the researchers in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

For their study, they looked at data from 183,118 patients who were taking one of the following antidepressants:

  • Sertraline
  • Citalopram
  • Escitalopram
  • Fluoxetine
  • Paroxetine
  • Bupropion
  • Duloxetine
  • Venlafaxine

Scientists investigated how much body weight increased after starting treatment. They also calculated the likelihood of weight gain of at least 5% six months after starting treatment. This increase is considered significant. The scientists also looked at the patients’ weights at 12 and 24 months.


They found that patients taking bupropion gained significantly less weight than those taking other antidepressants. In fact, many lost several pounds, resulting in a negative mean difference in weight six months after starting treatment (marginal loss).

In addition, they were 15-20% less likely to experience significant weight gain than those taking sertraline. Sertraline was the antidepressant most of the study participants took.

In contrast, those taking escitalopram, paroxetine, or duloxetine were 10 to 15% more likely to experience significant weight gain.

Overall, only two of the eight antidepressants compared (bupropion and fluoxetine) were associated with marginal mean reduction or minimal weight gain.

Bupropion was associated with the least weight gain at both 12 and 24 months.

“Patients and their doctors have several treatment options when first starting antidepressants. “Our study provides important real-life evidence of a difference in body weight after starting some of the most common antidepressants,” he said. leading researcher Dr. Joshua Petimar Associate Professor of Population Medicine at Harvard.

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