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Antidepressants and Weight Loss

Antidepressants and Weight Loss

Antidepressants are regarded as an easy way out for people who want to shed their 'extra-kilos'. How effective are antidepressants in losing weight? Get the answer from this article about antidepressants and weight loss.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Antidepressants, as the name clearly suggests, are meant for treating disorders like depression, anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder to name a few. The market is flooded with innumerable kinds of antidepressants for weight loss. Such medicines that can serve to relieve anxiety and depression, and at the same time help in losing weight, can be difficult to choose. In any case, a doctor's advice is essential and a prime necessity before you go for any kind of antidepressants for weight loss.
Which One to Choose?
# Bupropion is a typical antidepressant, and it has shown positive results with respect to mild to moderate weight loss in some people. Certain studies have shown that people consuming this drug lost around 4.4 kg in a period of 6 to 12 months. However, there are doubts that the drug may not be as effective for treating depression.
# Adderall for weight loss has also been known to be in use before. However, now the drug is prescribed mainly for attention deficit disorder (ADD). Attention deficit disorder in children is a common medical problem. It is a biological, brain-related condition. This drug has the side effects of making the user addicted to it. So proper caution has to be taken before administering it.
# Antidepressants that can increase the metabolism rate of the body are also helpful in losing weight. This is directly related to the thyroid gland in the body. This gland is responsible for losing and gaining weight. So if the thyroid gland secretes hormones at a faster rate than normal, it will increase the metabolism, thus burning more calories. Pramipexole and selegiline are dopaminergic antidepressants that decrease a hormone called prolactin. When prolactin decreases, the output of the thyroid glands increases. This eventually boosts the metabolic rate of the body, and the person sheds weight even while eating more than usual.
# Suppressing hunger, as obvious it is, is also one of the ways to lose weight and avoid weight gain. And the antidepressant reboxetine is known to fit the bill. Intake of this drug decreases food cravings, which causes the user to eat less than normal thus, gaining no 'extra calories'. The use of these antidepressants increases levels of the neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is responsible for decreasing appetite. The more norepinephrine is produced, the less hungrier the person would be. Using such drugs also reduces cravings for foods like ice creams, cookies, pastries and other carbohydrate-rich foods.
Side Effects of Using Antidepressants
As it is in the case of every medicine, antidepressants also have their share of negative reactions. Common side effects that people may exhibit are sleepiness, dry mouth, constipation, nausea and sexual health issues. People having an overdose of these drugs are at a high risk of heart failure. Especially for expecting mothers, antidepressants have to be taken with utmost care, lest the baby might be harmed. If antidepressants are consumed at a later stage of pregnancy, the baby might get withdrawal symptoms post birth. Some studies revealed that mothers who were using fluoxetine had smaller babies.
Also it is important to know that most types of antidepressants are more likely to cause weight gain than otherwise. Those such as tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, paroxetine, mirtazapine, etc., are well-known for causing weight gain in most people. However, not everyone who take these medications experience so.
Weight loss achieved by using antidepressants is considered as an 'off-label' use. This is because antidepressants are specifically approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for treating depressions, and in no way to be used for losing weight. Although the antidepressants described above have shown positive results for weight loss in some cases, it is mandatory to follow a qualified doctor's advice before going for any such kinds of drugs. Taking antidepressants to avoid dieting and exercise is not at all advisable. Using such drugs without consulting a doctor may result in serious consequences due to self-medication. Regular workouts and a healthy diet are always considered as the safest, and most effective means for fighting obesity, and for maintaining good overall health.