According to the Mayo Clinic, clinical depression can be treated by psychotherapy as well as medication 1. Antidepressants affect the release and reuptake of some common neurotransmitters that send messages between neurons 2. Some of these include dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Common antidepressant groups include selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOI), and tricyclic antidepressants 2.
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Besides effecting mood, some antidepressants can also help a person to lose weight 2. They may cause this by reducing the appetite, and increasing patient's energy levels. Frequently, patients also lose weight due to some antidepressant side-effects such as nausea and vomiting.
Dr. K.M 3. Gadde and colleagues showed in a study published in the “Obesity Research” Journal in September 2001 that 50 obese women who received an antidepressant called bupropion for eight weeks lost significantly more weight than obese women who did not get this medication 3. Bupropin is an antidepressant that mainly works by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine but also has an effect on norepinephrine, and serotonin reuptake.** It may cause the weight loss partly by increasing the patient's energy levels. Some patient's also reported losing weight due to nausea or vomiting. The brand name of Bupropion is Wellbutrin.
- Bupropin is an antidepressant that mainly works by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine but also has an effect on norepinephrine, and serotonin reuptake.
- It may cause the weight loss partly by increasing the patient's energy levels.
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Prozac is SSRI that works by increasing the level of serotonin in the brain. According to the MedTV.com, approximately 2 percent of the patients taking Prozac report that they have lost weight while they have been on this medication 4. Usually the amount of weight that the patients have lost has not been significant, but some patients report losing more weight. The reasons behind much weight loss are not fully understood, but at least part of it might be due to such commonly reported side-effects of the Prozac as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea 4.
Adderall is used to treat depression and ADHD 15. According to the Drugs.com, it has been shown to cause weight loss in some patients 45. This drug causes the weight loss by decreasing appetite and controlling cravings 4. Although this medicine can help the patient to lose weight it also has some serious side-effects such as heart problems, insomnia and aggression.
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- Mayo Clinic: Depression
- Help Guide: Antidepressants
- "Obesity Research Journal"; Bupropion for Weight Loss: an Investigation of Efficacy and Tolerability in Overweight and Obese Women; K.M. Gadde et al.;. Sept 2001
- EMedTV.com: Prozac and Weight Loss
- Drugs.com: Adderall
- Cascade E, Kalali AH, Kennedy SH. Real-World Data on SSRI Antidepressant Side Effects. Psychiatry (Edgmont). 2009;6(2):16-8. PMID:19724743
- Nihalani N, Schwartz TL, Siddiqui UA, Megna JL. Weight gain, obesity, and psychotropic prescribing. J Obes. 2011;2011:893629. doi:10.1155/2011/893629
- Weil A. Why Do Antidepressants Cause Weight Gain? Andrew Weil, M.D. Healthy Lifestyle Brands, LLC. Published February 11, 2011.
- Blumenthal SR, Castro VM, Clements CC. An Electronic Health Records Study of Long-Term Weight Gain Following Antidepressant Use. Journal of the American Medical Association. August 2014;71(8):889–896. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.414.
Marie Cheour had her first article published in 1995, and she has since published more than 40 articles in peer-reviewed publications such as "Nature" and "Nature Neuroscience." She has worked as a college professor in Europe and in the United States. Cheour has a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Helsinki.