Anecdotal data indicates that Zoloft, a common antidepressant drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may promote weight loss in certain people, even though most antidepressants are linked to weight gain.
Many adults turn to prescription medications like Zoloft for help since millions each year suffers from typical mental health issues and mood disorders, including depression and anxiety.
What Is Zoloft?
The brand-name prescription medicine Zoloft is a member of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors pharmacological class (SSRIs).
Sertraline, the antidepressant drug’s active component, is also marketed under the generic Zoloft. Obesity and Zoloft The drug is used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PMDD).
To treat depression and anxiety, Zoloft and other drugs in its class stop the brain from reabsorbing a neurotransmitter called serotonin. A chemical messenger called serotonin aids in message exchange between brain cells.
It is thought that individuals with common mental health issues like depression and anxiety have low serotonin levels in their brains.
Serotonin levels rise when the neurotransmitter’s reabsorption is blocked, and this is thought to lead to an improvement in mood.
Does Zoloft Cause You To Lose Weight?
The most frequently reported side effect of antidepressants, including Zoloft, is weight gain. Anecdotal research, however, indicates that Zoloft may occasionally be linked to weight loss.
One study indicated that overweight people using Zoloft for depression lost an average of 0.42 pounds per week to 1.06 pounds per week; one participant dropped 69 pounds over 36 weeks.
In contrast to long-term weight loss, Zoloft is often linked to short-term weight loss. To address depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, most people take Zoloft for a long time. Over time, this weight loss may start to halt.
Zoloft frequently causes weight gain, mainly when the drug is used for a prolonged time.
In other trials, Zoloft was found to have a higher likelihood of causing weight gain than other antidepressants. In contrast to patients taking Prozac, users of Zoloft gained an average of 5.9 pounds for two years, which is more weight than Prozac users.
When taking Zoloft for the first time, some patients may suffer temporary appetite suppression, which is thought to be the source of the weight loss. The more frequently occurring side effect of the prescription is mild weight gain. Therefore patients should not anticipate continuing to lose weight if they take it for a long time.
What Adverse Effects Are Associated With Zoloft?
Like other drugs in its class, Zoloft has a long list of undesirable side effects. There are two types of Zoloft side effects: those that are frequent and those that are rare yet significant.
Typical adverse effects of Zoloft include:
Sexual dysfunction includes low libido, delayed or inability to orgasm, and erectile dysfunction, in men.
Loss of appetite
Occasionally occurring but serious Zoloft adverse effects include glaucoma with angle closure.
Shivering, intense muscle tension, disorientation, fever, and other symptoms of serotonin syndrome.
Low sodium levels, as shown by fatigue, trouble focusing, and memory loss
Even though significant Zoloft side effects are uncommon, they must be treated immediately.
Make sure to get emergency medical help if you encounter any of the significant side effects of Zoloft listed above while taking the drug.
Additionally, patients should seek medical attention if they suffer any of the frequent side effects of Zoloft in a brutal way or for a protracted period. Usually, these side effects subside after a few weeks as your body gets used to the medication.
Do You Lose Weight With Zoloft?
While weight gain is more likely when taking Zoloft, weight loss is also possible. You may lose weight if you frequently exercise, stick to a low-calorie diet, or do both while taking this medicine. Zoloft’s side effects that could help with weight loss include nausea and loss of appetite. Similarly, a 2016 study revealed ingesting sertraline HCL prevented increases in body weight, insulin, and body fat in monkeys. This study was published in Psychoneuroendocrinology. Although this study involved animals, the findings suggest that Zoloft may assist you in avoiding gaining extra weight.
What Are The Causes of Weight Gain?
According to the manufacturer’s packaging label for Zoloft, taking the medication might result in weight gain (particularly in kids and teenagers). Various research has examined how Zoloft (sertraline HCL) affects weight growth. For instance, a 2016 Journal of Clinical Medicine study found that after two years, sertraline users had gained roughly 6 pounds. Sertraline is linked to a considerable increase in weight, according to a 2015 study that appeared in General Hospital Psychiatry. So bear that in mind while talking to your doctor about antidepressant alternatives, especially if you’re attempting to lose weight.
How does Zoloft Affects Weight Gain?
You might be curious as to why Zoloft can make you gain weight. Antidepressants seem to affect hunger by blocking specific neurotransmitters that control appetite, according to a 2016 Psychology Today article. Even if your stomach is complete, you can still feel hungry or desire carbs or high-calorie snacks. Additionally, the medicine may make you feel exhausted and make it difficult for you to sleep well at night (both of which are causes of eating more and potential weight gain). It is also more challenging to burn extra calories and maintain a regular exercise schedule when you are fatigued from medication.
What Is Affected By Weight Gain?
Zoloft users do not always gain weight because each person’s body responds differently to the drug. Teenagers may experience the most severe adverse effects because weight gain is a side effect of Zoloft mentioned explicitly on the product label for this demographic. Adults might, however, sometimes gain weight unnecessarily.
How to Lose Weight on Zoloft?
If you take Zoloft and want to lose weight, you’ll probably need to observe your calories and work out to burn more. Because Zoloft can prevent weight loss, you might want to adopt a low-carb or calorie-restricted diet to control blood sugar levels and aid in weight loss. Regular exercise can help you burn calories, lose weight or reduce weight while positively affecting your mental health. One such regular exercise program is high-intensity interval training three to five times per week.
Did You Lose Weight After Discontinuing Zoloft?
If you take Zoloft and are predisposed to gaining weight, you may wonder if the weight will come off if/when you stop taking the drug. Unfortunately, some people may find it challenging to lose those additional pounds. According to Judith Wurtman, Ph.D. of Today’s Psychology, most people should lose the weight they gained while taking antidepressants after stopping the medicine. Still, some people continue to gain weight months or years after using Zoloft, and no one is sure why. Long-term research is required in this area. Diet and exercise may be beneficial.
How To Use Zoloft And Lose Weight?
Use caution when trying to lose weight while taking Zoloft as weight gain may occur, and weight loss may be more challenging due to changes in appetite. When using Zoloft, weight reduction may be a possibility if the medicine makes you feel nauseous, makes you lose your appetite, or makes you restrict your caloric intake. Each person’s experience with this medication’s effects on appetite is unique.
Emma is a Master of Science candidate at the California Institute of Technology. Since approximately four years ago, she has been a freelance writer, producing content for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and the internet