What Anti-Depressants Cause Weight Loss?

What Anti-Depressants Cause Weight Loss?

Staff Writer
5 minute read

What antidepressants cause weight loss?

If you are using antidepressants, you may have heard that some of the side effects of antidepressant use are weight changes. This article will explore some of the antidepressants that lead to weight loss and how they work. 

What Are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are a class of drugs used to treat depression and other mental health conditions such as anxiety, panic disorder, and PTSD. They work by altering chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and noradrenaline to improve mood and reduce symptoms such as anxiety or sadness. 

There are several types of antidepressants including tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). 

What antidepressants cause weight loss?

The antidepressants that are associated with weight loss include Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Fluoxetine (Prozac), and Duloxetine (Cymbalta). Even though these antidepressants have been associated with weight loss, they are currently not approved by the FDA as a weight loss method. 

These drugs can lead to weight loss in the short term, however, long-term use may lead to weight gain especially with fluoxetine and duloxetine


Among the three antidepressants associated with weight loss, Bupropion shows the most consistent results, especially in the long term. 

Bupropion has several brand names, the most common of which is Wellbutrin. It is used in adults for illnesses such as major depressive disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. 

Bupropion is a neurotransmitter inhibitor, therefore, it blocks the reabsorption of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, and serotonin. These chemicals help regulate your mood and energy levels, therefore, inhibiting their uptake can improve your mood and prevent disorders like anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

Studies show that Bupropion can lead to weight loss. It is suspected to increase the amounts of neurotransmitters, adrenaline and serotonin, which help suppress appetite and improve your mood. An improved mood is also effective for weight loss among stress eaters. 

How do antidepressants affect weight?

There are two main ways that antidepressants may affect weight. First, antidepressants affect mood which can result in weight gain or weight loss, depending on the individual. 

Secondly, antidepressants can lead to weight loss by causing changes in appetite. The ways in which which antidepressants affect appetite are:

  • SSRIs increase the levels of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is a hormone in the body that suppresses appetite. SSRIs block the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain which helps reduce appetite leading to weight loss. However, SSRIs have been found to lead to weight gain over time [*].

  • SNRIs increase levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Both hormones lead to reduced appetite, therefore high levels of these hormones lead to a decrease in appetite and reduced food intake leading to weight loss

Side effects of antidepressants 

Antidepressants can have several side effects including:

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness 

  • Agitation 

  • Seizures

  • Fainting

  • Tremors

  • Changes in blood pressure.

Depression and weight loss

Depression is mainly associated with changes in your mood. However, it can also affect your appetite, your energy levels, sleeping patterns, and may even lead to digestive issues. The use of antidepressants is one of the common ways to treat depression, however, most antidepressants lead to weight gain. Below are some methods you can use to help manage depression and improve weight loss.

  • Exercise. Depression may affect your mood and energy causing a reduced willingness to exercise. However, studies show that exercise is one of the most effective treatments for depression. Exercise can help distract you from your worries, and it releases feel-good hormones that improve your mood and reduce anxiety. Finally, exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight especially if your medication is affecting your weight. 

  • Consuming a nutritious diet. Eating a healthy diet can have a great impact on your mental health. Nutritious foods that are high in fiber, low sugar, and low fat promote the well-being of healthy gut microbes which stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine that help regulate your mood. 


While some antidepressants can lead to weight loss, it is always best to follow a healthy diet coupled with exercise to get the best results for weight loss. Always consult with your doctor before taking antidepressants.


Can antidepressants cause weight loss?

Yes, antidepressants can lead to weight loss. They lead to an increase of hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine which lead to reduced appetite leading to weight loss. However, long-term use of some antidepressants can lead to weight gain.

What is the best antidepressant for weight loss?

Bupropion is the best antidepressant for weight loss. Studies show that patients who use bupropion lost an average of 7.1 pounds over two years.

What antidepressants reduce appetite?

The antidepressants that reduce appetite include SSRIs like Prozac and SNRIs like Cymbalta. This is because they increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine hormones which suppress appetite.

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