People have been taking “weight loss” drugs for as long as there have been people who want to lose weight. Weight gain is a common side effect of many prescription medications and, occasionally, even natural products like green tea or raspberry ketones.
Zoloft (Sertraline) is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the U.S., with more than 33 million tablets sold in 2017 alone. Zoloft is also known by its generic name, Sertraline. It’s a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI for short – a class of drug that’s similar to Prozac but with fewer potential side effects.
SSRIs are thought to have some of the same benefits as Prozac: they reduce levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter involved in mood and appetite regulation. In fact, they’re considered to be some of the most effective antidepressants known — at least when used properly.
But because they can also cause weight gain, SSRIs aren’t recommended for people who are overweight or who want to lose weight quickly. Fortunately, there are several other antidepressants that don’t seem to cause weight gain as much as Zoloft does.
If you’re wondering if Zoloft might be addictive and could it cause weight gain, read on to learn more!
What is Zoloft?
Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), medicated by the name of its active agent, Sertraline. Like most SSRIs, Zoloft works by increasing serotonin levels in the body, which can lead to a reduction in appetite and increased metabolism.
The question is, does increased serotonin production by the body cause weight gain?
SSRIs are a group of drugs that have been used to treat depression and other mental illnesses for decades. The most common side effect of SSRIs is weight gain, and it’s a potentially dangerous side effect. In fact, it’s the main side effect of SSRIs, and it’s the one that people wonder if Zoloft could result in.
While some SSRIs like Prozac and Zoloft are considered to be “antidepressants that don’t cause weight gain,” it’s important to understand that not all SSRIs are created equally. There are actually a number of different SSRIs like Zoloft that have different side effects and are better suited to different people.
How Does Zoloft Work?
Like most medications, Zoloft works by boosting serotonin levels in the body, which is why it’s also sometimes referred to as an “SSRI that doesn’t cause weight gain.” The mechanism is essentially the same as with other SSRIs, but Zoloft differs from other SSRIs in that it’s highly selective – meaning that it only elevates serotonin levels in the brain, rather than stimulating the entire body. This means that even though Zoloft can cause weight gain, it does so selectively, in the areas of the brain that control appetite and metabolism.
When Is Zoloft prescribed?
Like most medications, Zoloft is prescribed only when a patient has tried other treatments and failed to achieve results. As a result of this, people often start taking Zoloft as part of a “failure to thrive” (FTT) treatment plan in order to help their child make weight. FTT is based on the idea that children with autism should be able to sit up, crawl, and stand up without any support — and that they should be able to do so naturally by the time they’re 18 months old.
Typically, a child’s first attempt at sitting up, crawling, and standing up on their own is considered to be a “failure to thrive,” and the plan is to try again later in life. As a part of this process, the child’s doctor will put the child on a variety of medications, including vitamins and supplements, to see what works best for that child. With FTT, doctors try a number of different interventions and medications, including dietary changes and exercise programs, before deciding what works best for the child.
Potential Side Effects of Zoloft
Like most medications, Zoloft has some potential side effects. Some of these are the same potential side effects that other SSRIs have, including weight gain, increased appetite, and depressed mood. However, unlike other SSRIs, which often cause these side effects, Zoloft doesn’t even come close to causing weight gain. As a result, the potential side effects of Zoloft are much less than those of SSRIs like Prozac.
Other antidepressants that don’t cause weight gain
There are actually a number of other antidepressants that don’t cause weight gain as much as Zoloft does. Although they didn’t cause the same set of side effects as Zoloft, they still aren’t recommended for people who are overweight or who want to lose weight quickly.
Some of the other antidepressants that don’t cause weight gain are:
- Anxiolite (ups the serotonin level in the body)
- Duloxetine (milder than Prozac but still causes weight gain)
- Escitalopram (lowers serotonin but causes less weight gain)
- Paroxetine (milder than Escitalopram, but causes weight gain)
- Sertraline (SSRI like Zoloft, but less effective)
- Venlafaxine (SSRI like Zoloft, but less effective)
- Wellbutrin (milder than Sertraline, but causes weight gain)
Despite how well Zoloft works, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t cause weight gain. This is why it’s a good idea to discuss your weight gain concerns with your doctor. Once you’re sure that Zoloft is the cause of your weight gain, you can look for an alternative.
While many people find that taking an antidepressant like Zoloft helps them feel better overall, it’s important to be aware of the potential weight gain that could occur should it continue to be taken regularly.