As the cases of depression have seen a sharp rise in recent times, more and more people are getting dependent on the various anti-depressant drugs prescribed by their physicians. While these drugs help soothe down your nervous system to ease off the troubling symptoms, they often have an impact on your overall health, particularly the weight.
A number of anti-depressants have been tried, tested and prescribed since years to tackle the depressive symptoms and are likely to affect your weight or appetite but the drug that is most often, associated with weight gain is Praxil. Well, let’s not go into its details as the drug we are considering here is Zoloft. But even before we provide you an insight into the Zoloft weight gain, know the phenomenon behind the action of these drugs.
Antidepressants and Weight Gain
As different drugs have different effects on different individuals, the exact mechanism of their action cannot be determined. While some doctors suggest the change in the appetite patterns or metabolism to be the reason for weight gain, the theory remains to be solidified by evidences.
Due to the intake of antidepressants, the body and mind tends to regain its lost form and thus, patients might find themselves enjoying their long lost love for food leading to increased appetite and weight gain. Also, certain drugs stimulate craving for carbohydrates or sweets in particular, which could be another reason for weight gain. Feel good factor about recovering from the dreadful depression might also, contribute towards gaining weight.
The body metabolism also plays a major role in weight gain, especially in those patients whose appetite is not at all affecting after taking the drug. Keep a check on your appetite as well as metabolism to root out the cause of your weight gain and your doctor might be able to help you counter the same.
However, not everybody gains weight with these pills. It has been found that only about 25-30% of people on antidepressants tend to gain weight may be as much as 100 pounds while some are even likely to lose weight. Apart from Praxil, the drugs most often associated with weight gain are Tofranil, Silenor, Nardil, Remeron, Prozac, Lexapro and the likes while Wellbutrin tends to reduce your weight.
Zoloft Weight Gain or Weight Loss?
Zoloft or Sertraline or Lustral is an anti depressant drug belonging to the class of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). Other members of this class include Praxil, Prozac etc that have been known to cause gain in weight, as mentioned above. However, the action of Zoloft is slightly different from its other members.
Zoloft weight gain can occur up to 10 pounds or more in certain individuals but the percentage of such patients is quite low, as low as 1%. The good news is that Zoloft has been noted to cause weight loss in a significant number of patients thus, making it a preferred choice of drugs amongst majority of people. However, it is important to specify here that Zoloft weight gain can occur in some rare cases and it is always wise to keep an eye on your weight while on anti depressive medications and consult your doctor for a proper diet and exercise plan as well as required lifestyle modifications to keep things under control.
Zoloft weight gain vs Weight Loss
As mentioned above, the incidence of weight gain with Zoloft is limited to about 1% of patients only while weight loss is a more prevalent effect of this drug. According to studies, the effect of weight loss associated with Zoloft is more pronounced in case of children and adolescents than adults with about 7% of children losing more than 7 percent of their body weight after consuming Zoloft.
The common side effects of Zoloft include:
- Nausea or loss of appetite
- Weight changes
- Constipation or diarrhea with mild abdominal discomfort
- Drowsiness, dizziness
- Dry mouth
- Sexual dysfunction, mainly loss of libido
These signs and symptoms are generally, mild and temporary and thus, wean off gradually in a matter of few days, weeks or months. In case the complaints persist or if you are experiencing the following serious complications, rush to your doctor immediately.
- Memory or concentration problems
- Irregular heartbeat or breathing
- Sweating, fainting
- Stiff muscles
The change in weight with Zoloft is usually, mild to moderate and unlikely to lead to any serious health problem. Whereas about 5 to 10 pounds of weight gain is acceptable, weight loss is also, generally under control due to mild nausea or anorexia experienced with this drug. However, drastic weight gain or loss requires immediate attention and must be dealt with carefully. Carelessness of an individual can cause serious health related issues.
Moreover, these weight changes tend to be temporary with majority of people regaining their usual form within a few months of taking Zoloft. Weight gain or loss is particularly more prominent during the initial period of treatment and gradually, tapers off to the normal level in a few months. In case sudden, persistent or extreme Zoloft weight gain or loss is experienced, consulting your doctor is highly essential who will either change the dosage or switch the drug as per your needs.
To keep your weight under control and avoid unnecessary adverse effects with Zoloft, follow a healthy diet pattern with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, low fat milk, lean meats etc.
In addition to diet, exercising is equally important to keep the body in shape and avoid unnecessary weight issues. For people who are losing weight, building muscle mass by strength training exercises is highly recommended while for those rare ones who are gaining weight with Zoloft, regular aerobics exercises is necessary to burn off calories and shed those extra pounds. These exercises are also beneficial for your uplifting your mood thereby, helping in your treatment of depressive symptoms.
With the mystery behind Zoloft weight gain busted, enjoy the benefits of this wondrous drug without depressing yourself further with weight issues.