Depression Medicines May Affect Weight Gain

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Antidepressant treatments contributed to weight gain differently in new study

August 6, 2014 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Dominique Brooks, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

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(dailyRx News) Antidepressants affect the moods of countless people with depression around the world. But they may also affect their waistlines.

With an eye on previous research linking antidepressants with weight gain, new research examined a dozen common prescription meds and how they contributed to weight gain.

The researchers found varying weight-gain trends associated with the prescriptions.

"Discuss possible antidepressant side effects with your psychiatrist."

The study was written by Sarah Blumenthal, BS, of the Center for Experimental Drugs and Diagnostics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues.

The researchers set out to analyze weight gain in the one-year period following prescription of various antidepressants. The team looked at 22,610 patients who were prescribed one of a dozen antidepressants.

The study authors took weight measurements at three-month intervals in the one-year follow-up period. The researchers used body mass index (BMI), a height- and weight-based calculation of overall body fat, to track weight changes.

For adults, the normal BMI range was 18.5 to 24.9.

The most significant BMI increase was associated with mirtazapine, sold under the brand names Remeron, Remeron SolTab, and others.

The smallest BMI increase came from bupropion, sold under the brand name Wellbutrin.

The authors noted that, as expected, BMI shifts were less significant in patients who quit treatment within the one-year study period.

“Taken together, our results clearly demonstrate significant differences between several individual antidepressant strategies in their propensity to contribute to weight gain,” the study authors wrote. “These differences may lead clinicians to prefer certain treatments according to patient preference or in individuals for whom weight gain is a particular concern.”

The study was published online June 4 by the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry.

The National Institute of Mental Health provided funding. Several study co-authors received research support and consulting fees from private companies.