What Antidepressants Cause Weight Loss?

Antidepressants can cause a variety of side effects. One of the most common side effects is weight loss – which ones?

What Antidepressants that Cause Weight Loss

All antidepressants can cause a variety of side effects. One of the most common side effects is weight gain. However, Wellbutrin (bupropion) is the exception. It’s one of two antidepressants that can cause weight loss.

Prozac is the other antidepressant that can do this but weight losses are generally confined to the early stages of use. After you have been using it for a month or two, the medication is likely to play a game of switcheroo, stop helping you to lose weight, and make you gain it instead.

Why Some Antidepressants Cause Weight Loss

It’s hard to be certain why Wellbutrin and Prozac can cause weight loss when other antidepressants don’t. However, it’s probably due to the way they affect neurotransmitters in the brain.

The neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are all associated with depression. Prozac inhibits the reuptake of serotonin. Wellbutrin inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine.

These neurotransmitters serve more than one role. Norepinephrine is a stress hormone. Serotonin and dopamine are feel-good hormones. They influence mood.

Experts believe the biological tweaking of reuptake may cause metabolic changes that help people to lose weight.

However, there may be other factors involved. For instance, if someone has been comfort eating due to depression, an antidepressant that makes them feel better could remove the desire to comfort eat. By doing so, the medication may cause their daily calorie intake to drop enough to cause weight loss.

Again though, we are left with the question, why don’t all antidepressants help people to lose weight?

Research continues and experts are still debating the issue but, there is still no way to be sure how or why antidepressants influence body weight. We know that they do, but not how.

However, the results of a two-year retrospective cohort study investigating the relationship between several antidepressants, including Wellbutrin and Prozac, show Wellbutrin is the superior option for people who wish to lose weight. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4850471/)

Does that mean Wellbutrin is as good as specialist weight loss medication such as phentermine (brands such as Duromine or Ionamin). Or perhaps some of the best phentermine alternatives?

Can an anti-depressant help you lose weight more effectively thanother types of weight loss technologies such as Saxenda injections.

Can an anti-depressant help you lose weight more effectively than other types of weight loss technologies such as Saxenda injections.

Not at all. You need to remember, in the case of antidepressants, favorable changes in body weight are a side effect. They come about by accident.

Diet pills are designed to support weight loss. The best ones take many years to develop. When they help you to lose weight, it isn’t an accident.

Prozac (Fluoxetine) and Weight Loss

Prozac belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin inhibitors (SSRIs). They are the most commonly used antidepressants in the United States.

After its carried a message, serotonin is normally reabsorbed into the nerve cells. Prozac and other SSRIs work by inhibiting this reuptake. This allows serotonin to continue circulating and pass messages to other nerve cells.

Essentially, what the antidepressant does is boost the amount of serotonin the body has available to use.

Research suggests dietary supplements and pharmaceutical products that boost serotonin diminish depression in ways that may normalize food intake. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8300977/)

Although there are several other popular SSRIs, Prozac is the only one that helps with weight loss. This is curious because Celexa (Citalopram) and Zoloft (Sertraline) and all the other popular SSRIs act on serotonin in the same way.

The fact that Prozac only supports weight loss for a few months is also confusing because even when it is causing weight gain it’s still boosting serotonin

Nevertheless, research proves, Prozac’s ability to support weight loss over the short term.

The results of one 12-month study show fluoxetine (Prozac) produced modest weight loss during the first four weeks of use.

However, data from the continuation of the study shows the fluoxetine users went on to gain weight in a similar manner to the placebo group. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10450256/)

Wellbutrin (Bupropion) and Weight Loss

Wellbutrin does not affect serotonin. It’s a norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI).

Dopamine is a feel-good hormone that influences mood in a similar way to serotonin. Norepinephrine is a stress hormone.

Although NDRIs are primarily used for treating depression, they also have value as treatments for narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Parkinson’s disease.

NDRIs have not been around as long as SSRIs but they can work very well for reducing depression and have fewer side effects than other types of antidepressants have.

The key word in the last sentence is “fewer.” Although NDRIs are a little less risky, they still present plenty of side effects. Some of them, such as high blood pressure and suicidal thoughts can be very dangerous.

One of the side effects of Wellbutrin is a lack of appetite. The antidepressant’s ability to take away hunger allows it to be useful to people who are trying to lose weight but find it hard to control the amount of food they eat. 

Anything that suppresses appetite can be extremely useful when you are trying to lose weight and Wellbutrin boosts energy too. This is useful because following a low-calorie diet can make you prone to fatigue.

However, many of the diet pills you can buy over-the-counter can do these things too. The best ones offer additional benefits as well and can help you to lose weight without presenting dangerous side effects.

Antidepressants & Weight Loss: How the Discovery Was Made

When people using popular antidepressants like Celexa and Zoloft began gaining weight, the situation did not go unnoticed. Whenever things change with your body, it’s pretty hard to miss on a personal level and the doctors prescribing the antidepressants noticed the changes too.

When antidepressants make you lose weight, that can be even more noticeable. Especially when it’s such a break from the norm. The news travels pretty fast when anything appears to support weight loss and researchers become keen to find out what’s going on.

Using Wellbutrin as an example. When researchers at Duke University Medical Center, became aware clinical observations show the antidepressant facilitated weight loss, they recruited overweight and obese women and monitored their response to the drug.

The researchers gave some of the women daily doses of a placebo. The rest got 100 mg of buproprion per day. This was gradually increased to 200 mg, two times per day.

The researchers gave all the women dietary guidance and advised them to eat 1,600 calories per day.

Data from the study shows bupropion was more effective than the placebo in achieving weight loss at eight weeks. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11557835/)

Why People Use Antidepressants for Weight Loss

Just like weight gain, weight loss is an antidepressant side effect. When people are prescribed an antidepressant that causes them to gain weight, they are seldom happy about it. Would you be? 

Not surprisingly, some of them ask their doctors to swap their medication for one that has the opposite effect.

In the case of Wellbutrin especially, people who have become aware of the association with weight loss may try and obtain the antidepressant and use it for that reason. However, unless they have a legitimate need for depression treatment, they will be unable to get the drug through legal channels.

There are a lot of overweight people in the world. Most of them are desperate to lose weight and are willing to try anything that may help be it a fad diet, an antidepressant, an illegal drug, or even a horse medication.

In the main, the interest in appetite suppressants and weight loss is the result of a lack of research. Anybody who researches the abilities of antidepressants and then compares them to diet pills like PhenQ will quickly discover there are better ways to go. 

Are There any Alternatives to Using Antidepressants for Weight Loss?

Although Wellbutrin can aid weight loss and Prozac has short-term value in this area too, you need to remember this is a side effect. Helping people to lose weight is not what antidepressants are designed to do.

If your medical status requires an antidepressant, using one that helps you to become slimmer is a nice bonus. Few people are going to grumble about it but you need to remember it’s only a bonus.

Diet pills are designed to help people to lose weight. That’s what they’re for. The changes they make to your waistline aren’t a side effect. In fact, unlike antidepressants, the best diet pills are side effect free.

PhenQ – A Dedicated Weight Loss Pill

Although a lot of diet pills are very poor, some of them are very good. One of the best ones at the moment is PhenQ

PhenQ natural weight loss

Like Wellbutrin, PhenQ suppresses appetite. It also improves mood, to stop your diet from getting you down. However, it’s a diet pill, not an antidepressant. PhenQ is not intended to be a treatment for depression any more than Wellbutrin and Prozac are intended to make you slim.

PhenQ also speeds up metabolism to help you to burn extra fat and, like Wellbutrin, it boosts energy levels as well.

It’s unclear how many people have lost weight with antidepressants but 190,000 people have done so with PhenQ. It’s extremely effective and the manufacturer offers a 60-day money-back guarantee. 

So, although you may be able to lose weight with antidepressants. There are better ways to do it. Why settle for side effects when you can have a real diet pill instead?

About Tony Jay

Tony Jay (CEO of AGJ Media, CPD certified in Diet and Nutrition) Tony is a fitness enthusiast, writer, and entrepreneur. He’s been active in the health and wellness industry since 2007 and firmly believes correct nutrition is the key to good health. A workaholic by nature, Tony uses power yoga to keep his mind sharp, maintain physical subtlety, and keep fit. LinkedIn