United States: The latest research has been conducted to compare weight changes perceived after the intake of several kinds of antidepressants, which are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US. 

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The study spanned from 2010 to 2019 and analyzed the data of some 150,000 patients taking those medicines, and was analyzed. Importantly, it was found that some antidepressants were causing more weight gain than other drugs. 

After six months of the usage of escitalopram (brand name: Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), and duloxetine (Cymbalta), the users were almost 10 to 15 percent more susceptible to gaining weight, on top of a minimum of five percent of their baseline weight than sertraline (Zoloft) users, as CBS News reported. 

Antidepressants May Cause More Weight Gain, Revealed Study. Credit | Shutterstock
Antidepressants May Cause More Weight Gain, Revealed Study. Credit | Shutterstock

Moreover, the users of Bupropion (Wellbutrin) were fifteen percent more likely to gain weight as compared to sertraline (Zoloft) takers, whereas fluoxetine (Prozac) did not cause any weight change. 

The authors of the study, however, noted that these are “small differences” but hope at the same time that these findings might help the users to make an informed decision while using these drugs

Experts comments 

According to the lead author, Joshua Petimar, Harvard Medical School assistant professor of population medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, “Patients and their clinicians often have several options when starting an antidepressant for the first time. This study provides important real-world evidence regarding the amount of weight gain that should be expected after starting some of the most common antidepressants,” as CBS News reported. 

Limitations of the study 

There are some shortcomings of the study as per the experts, as it does not includes a consistent case of information related to medication dosage and adherence. 

Moreover, the study is also observational, which means that it only showed correlation but not causation. 

Additionally, as the study reveals, certain drugs have a correlation with weight gain, but it doesn’t exactly mean that the drug has a direct impact on causing weight gain. 

For example, if a person loses his or her appetite from depression and starts a course of medicines, which would help in curing the symptoms, then it could be accompanied by weight gain without the role of the drug being directly responsible here. 

As explained by Dr. Aron Tendler, psychiatrist, and chief medical officer at health technology company BrainsWay, in this example, “it’s the treatment of the depression, and then subsequently, regain of appetite that’s causing a weight gain,” as CBS News reported. 

Tendler also mentioned that the total number of people who quit taking the drugs is also important. He added, “In general, when someone’s prescribed a medicine, they really should be on it for a year,” and, “The number of people that were discontinuing the medicines at three and six and 12 months were incredibly high. Only like 4% of people stayed on their meds for 24 months.” 

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