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HEALTH

Study discovers which antidepressants contribute to most weight gain

Hunter Boyce
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Researchers studied more than 183,000 people in a new study, and the results are in: Some antidepressants lead to more weight gain than others. Published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers analyzed the body mass of subjects six months, 12 months and 24 months into their first uses of antidepressants.

Researchers studied more than 183,000 people in a new study, and the results are in: Some antidepressants lead to more weight gain than others.

Escitalopram users gained 3.6 pounds on average within two years, while those taking Paroxetine gained 3 pounds. Duloxetine was linked to 1.7 pounds, and Zoloft led to 3.2 pounds of weight gain.

Other antidepressants contributed to users gaining more than 5% of their baseline weight at just the six-month mark.

“In our study, the average weight at baseline was 84 kg, or about 185 lb,” lead study author Joshua Petimar, an assistant professor of population medicine at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School, told CNN in an email. “This means that in our study, a 5% increase in weight translated on average to a weight gain of 4.2 kg, or about 9 lb.”

Not all medications tested led to weight gain, however.

“Bupropion (Wellbutrin and Zyban) on average had a 15% lower risk of gaining a clinically meaningful amount of weight compared to sertraline,” Petimar said. “Our study didn’t explore reasons why bupropion was associated with less weight gain than other antidepressants, but other studies have similarly concluded that it is associated with less weight gain than other common antidepressants.”

The researcher suggested speaking with a physician about weight gain concerns before taking antidepressants.

“Patients who are concerned about weight gain should have an open and honest conversation with their clinician about their concerns,” Petimar said. “There are many clinical factors that determine which medication is right for a given patient. These include the patient’s clinical symptoms, their medical history, any other drugs that they are already taking, and possible side effects that the patient is concerned about.”