Medical Advice

Anti-Depressants That Cause Weight Loss

Anti-Depressants That Cause Weight Loss

It is estimated that one in four adults in the USA suffers from mental health disorders every year. One such disorder is depression, which leads to symptoms like feelings of hopelessness and emptiness, frequent aggressive episodes, lack of interest, etc. However, this mental illness can be diagnosed with the help of medical treatments and therapies.

Healthcare professionals provide various treatments for depression and its symptoms, which are often paired with anti-depressants. Anti-depressants are medication drugs that change the composition of chemicals in your brain. But, all medicines, including anti-depressants have side effects, one such side effect is weight loss. This blog focuses on anti-depressants that cause weight loss with their working mechanism and pros and cons.

Anti-Depressants That Cause Weight Loss: Works, forms, side effects

(I) Bupropion

Bupropion is a generic drug, which is used in the treatment of depression. It belongs to the classes of drugs ‘Miscellaneous antidepressants’ and ‘Smoking cessation agents’. This medication drug is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adult depression.

Bupropion is a prescription-only medicine, and its branded forms are Aplenzin, Budeprion XL, Forfivo XL, Wellburtin, Wellburtin SR, Wellburtin XL, and Zyban. This medicine, bupropion, is not subject to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).

How Bupropion Works:

The exact mechanism of how bupropion works is unknown. However, it is believed that it is effective due to its ability to inhibit the reuptake of dopamine (dopamine results in feelings of happiness and satisfaction), making it stay in the body for a longer duration.

Forms of Bupropion:

Branded versions of bupropion are available in various forms. This section exclusively mentions the information of the forms of generic bupropion.

Bupropion is available in immediate-release and extended-release forms:

  • Oral Immediate-release Tablets are of the strengths 75 mg and 100 mg.
  • Oral Extended-release Tablets are of the strengths 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg and 300 mg.

Side Effects:

Bupropion can show certain side effects in some individuals, which include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Faintness
  • Headache

Side effects of bupropion also include weight loss. This medication is pretty consistently associated with losing weight in patients.

(II) Fluoxetine

Generic fluoxetine is an anti-depressant, belonging to the class of drugs called ‘Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors’ or SSRI. This medication drug is purchasable with a written prescription and is not subject to the CSA. It is approved by the FDA, for the treatment of depression in patients of all ages.

The branded variants of fluoxetine are Prozac, Rapiflux, Sarafem, and Selfemra. Among these, only Prozac is still available in the market, and the rest are discontinued.

How Fluoxetine works

Fluoxetine works by preventing the reabsorption of naturally occurring neurotransmitters called serotonin. The presence of serotonin in the brain has been linked with the feeling of well-being.

Fluoxetine forms:

It is available in the form of oral capsules, and the strengths are 10 mg, 20 mg, and 40 mg.

Side Effects

Some common side effects of fluoxetine are mentioned below:

  • Tiredness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Swelling in the areas of the throat and nasal cavity
  • Loss of appetite

It is believed that the side effect, loss of appetite, caused by taking this medicine can lead to a reduction in weight. However, taking this medicine for a long duration can lead to an increase in weight.

(III) Duloxetine

Healthcare professionals may prescribe generic duloxetine for the treatment of major depressive disorder. It is a prescription medicine and is approved by the FDA. This medicine is not subject to the Controlled Substances Act.

Duloxetine belongs to a class of drugs called ‘Serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors or SNRI. It is also used in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and chronic pain in muscles and/or joints. Branded variants of this drug are Cymbalta, Drizalma Sprinkle, and Irenka.

How Duloxetine Works:

Duloxetine works by increasing the number of certain chemicals in the brain, which are serotonin and norepinephrine. Both of these chemicals affect the mood and the alertness of the person.

Form of Duloxetine:

Duloxetine is available in the form of oral delayed-release capsules. The strengths of these capsules are 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg and 60 mg.

Side effects:

Like all medicines, duloxetine also shows side effects in some cases. A few commonly seen side effects of this medicine are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Cough
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Weakness

Adverse effects of duloxetine also include loss of appetite. Due to this side effect, weight loss is seen in some individuals who use this medicine.


All the medicines mentioned in this blog are not approved by the FDA for losing weight. This is so because loss of appetite is a side effect caused by these drugs. Of the listed medicines, bupropion is most commonly associated with reduction in weight.

However, if losing weight is one of your main priorities, inform your doctor and he/she may prescribe a medicine more curated to your needs.

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