Are antidepressants effective in the management of obesity?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Although not all are FDA approved for this purpose, several SSRIs may cause anorexia as one of their major adverse effects. Some of these medications have been used as adjuncts in the medical management of obesity, with variable success. A meta-analysis of antidepressants and body weight found that fluoxetine was associated with some weight loss, although this effect appeared to be limited to the acute phase of treatment. [162]

Bupropion is licensed for use as an antidepressant and for use in smoking cessation. It is associated with minimal to moderate weight loss in obese patients. [168] A combination of bupropion and naltrexone (Contrave) was approved on September 10, 2014 for use as adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity for long-term weight management in adults with initial body mass index of 30 kg/m² (obese) or ≥27 kg/m² (overweight) in presence of at least one weight-related comorbidity (eg, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or dyslipidemia).

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