Study Reveals Certain Antidepressants Are More Likely to Cause Weight Gain

Certain first-line antidepressant medications are more likely to cause weight gain than others, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, according to The NY Post.

Why It Matters

Drug-related weight gain may deter some patients from starting or adhering to their prescriptions.

Study Findings

The study, led by Harvard Medical School, analyzed electronic health record data of 183,118 new antidepressant users from eight U.S. health systems between 2010 and 2019. Patients ranged in age from 21 to 79 years old.

Researchers compared weight gain among patients prescribed various first-line antidepressants with those taking sertraline (brand name Zoloft), the most commonly prescribed antidepressant. The findings showed:

  • Users of escitalopram (Lexapro) and paroxetine (Seroxat) gained roughly 1 pound more than those on sertraline after six months.
  • These users were also 10% to 15% more likely to gain at least 5% of their baseline weight compared to sertraline users.
  • Patients prescribed bupropion (Wellbutrin) experienced the least amount of weight gain.
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) was not associated with a change in weight after six months compared with sertraline.

Detailed Insights

Lead researcher Joshua Petimar told Axios that the study offers a more detailed look than previous studies on the impact of different antidepressant medications. The study examines averages, meaning while the overall effect may seem small, it can significantly affect some patients. report from Axios.

“One of the reasons we were motivated to do this study was that we could give both providers and patients more information that they can use to make the best decisions,” Petimar said.

What’s Next

This study is the first in a series planned by Petimar’s team to examine how patients’ weight is affected by certain medications. Future research will include the impact of antidepressants on children and adolescents, as well as drugs for psychosis, diabetes, hypertension, and seizures.