What is the best antidepressant to lose weight? (1+ options)

In this article, we will discuss the best antidepressant to lose weight. We will also discuss some research studies and talk about some factors that can affect your weight management while taking antidepressants. 

What is the best antidepressant to lose weight?

The best antidepressant for weight loss is bupropion (Wellbutrin). Although it is not approved by the FDA as an anti-obesity medication, bupropion has helped many people lose weight. It is an atypical antidepressant, also known as a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). (1)

Bupropion increases noradrenergic and dopaminergic activity in the brain and alleviates symptoms associated with major depressive disorder, eating disorders, and can help with smoking cessation.

Bupropion is generally well-tolerated and can help control binge eating patterns. The drug can also inhibit fat deposition and enhance your metabolism. According to various surveys, bupropion is considered the best antidepressant for energy and motivation

It is a known fact that depression affects the overall quality of your life, including your calorie intake and your usual activities. 

Bupropion, being an antidepressant, can reduce the symptoms of depression, increase energy levels, and enhance your motivation to engage in weight-reducing activities or adopt a healthier, more productive lifestyle in general.

Fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, can also help some people lose weight as it also manages binge eating patterns (2). However, antidepressants are prescription medications that should never be taken without a proper prescription. 

If you’re struggling with your weight and are clinically depressed, please reach out to a qualified mental healthcare professional.

What depression-related symptoms can lead to weight gain? 

The following depression-related symptoms can affect your body weight: (3)

SymptomsEffects on body weight
Binge eatingEating a lot makes you gain weight.
Emotional eatingEating when sad or stressed can add extra pounds.
Sweet cravingsWanting sugary stuff can lead to higher calorie consumption
Lack of physical activityNot moving around much means you might get heavier.
Hormonal changesHormonal imbalance might add pounds.
Sleep disturbancesNot sleeping well can make you want to eat more, leading to weight gain.
Isolation and inactivityStaying in and not moving burns fewer calories.
Low self-esteemFeeling down might lead to unhealthy eating habits
Lack of meal planningNot thinking much about what you eat can cause weight gain
Depression-related metabolic changesChanges in how your body works or your metabolism can affect weight.

What does research suggest?

Several research studies have discussed the weight-managing effects of bupropion. One clinical trial monitored the effects of sustained-release bupropion on obese individuals. (4)

The study showed weight loss in the bupropion SR group compared to placebo and concluded that this antidepressant might be a good option for managing obesity comorbid with depression (4). 

Another research study showed that bupropion SR, in combination with a calorie deficit of 500 calories, can promote weight loss in obese individuals (5). 

Another clinical trial performed on obese depressed women showed similar results, and bupropion once more proved to promote weight loss in such patients (6). The study also indicated that continuation of bupropion treatment promoted further weight loss. 

Some research studies have also discussed the effects of bupropion in the management of binge eating disorder (7). Eating disorders are quite common in patients with depression and anxiety and are one of the most common reasons for weight gain in such cases. 

According to research, bupropion can actively control cravings by improving your mood and overall mental health status (7). This results in lesser calorie intake, as individuals start to return to their normal eating patterns, creating a calorie deficit. This promotes weight loss in such people. 

Other antidepressants, such as SSRIs including sertraline and fluoxetine, are also indicated for binge eating episodes (8). Sertraline, in particular, does not necessarily cause weight loss or manage body weight. 

However, fluoxetine can cause weight loss in some individuals, even though SSRIs are associated with weight gain. Research has indicated that fluoxetine can actively manage binge eating disorder, improve your mood, reduce your depression, and help you lose weight (9,10). 

However, the effects of these antidepressants can vary from person to person, and what works for one may not always work for another.

What factors can affect your weight management while taking antidepressants?

Several factors can affect weight management while taking antidepressants, including:

  • Poor eating habits can affect your body weight, no matter what antidepressant you are currently taking. Make sure you opt for healthy food choices to keep obesity at bay.
  • Physical activity plays an important role and lack of movement can contribute to weight gain. So, it is important to incorporate fitness into your life.
  • Some antidepressants may impact metabolism. If you have thyroid issues or other underlying conditions potentially affecting your metabolism, you might struggle with weight management while taking antidepressants. 
  • Antidepressants can affect appetite. For those with eating disorders, taking an antidepressant that worsens binge eating episodes can lead to weight gain.
  • Family history matters. If obesity runs in your family, you might struggle with managing weight regardless of the medications you are currently taking.

What to do if your current antidepressant is causing weight gain?

If your current antidepressant is leading to weight gain, please reach out to your healthcare provider. Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and discuss the potential causes of weight gain in your case. 

If your diet is the main factor contributing to weight gain or your current antidepressant is triggering binge eating episodes, your doctor will carefully adjust your treatment plan. If your diet is the issue, your provider might refer you to a certified dietitian to ensure that you’re following the right meal plan. 

If your antidepressant is the real culprit, your doctor might consider alternative treatment options. However, it is important to note that you should never switch to a different medication on your own.

The truth about antidepressants and weight management 

As a pharmacist, I have come across many such patients who begin to gain weight when being treated with antidepressants. The most common culprits I have seen associated with weight gain are paroxetine (an SSRI) and mirtazapine (an atypical antidepressant). 

These medications are well known for weight gain and can worsen depression by affecting your body confidence. 

In my experience as a healthcare professional, I have also come across cases in which people who were losing weight while suffering from depression got worried when they gained a few pounds while taking antidepressants. 

If your depression was affecting your appetite and body weight, taking antidepressants can normalise that, leading you to your normal body weight. So, it’s a good sign if you developed anorexia while you were battling depression. 

It means that your antidepressant is bringing your body back to how it’s supposed to be. However, some people might gain weight as a side effect. So, it’s best to discuss your concerns with your doctor and not make any changes to your treatment plan on your own.


  1. Huecker MR, Smiley A, Saadabadi A. Bupropion. 2023 Apr 9. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29262173. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470212
  2. Sohel AJ, Shutter MC, Molla M. Fluoxetine. 2022 Jul 4. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29083803. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459223
  3. Chand SP, Arif H. Depression. 2023 Jul 17. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 28613597. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430847
  4. Anderson JW, Greenway FL, Fujioka K, Gadde KM, McKenney J, O’Neil PM. Bupropion SR enhances weight loss: a 48-week double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. Obes Res. 2002 Jul;10(7):633-41. doi: 10.1038/oby.2002.86. PMID: 12105285. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12105285/
  5. Jain AK, Kaplan RA, Gadde KM, Wadden TA, Allison DB, Brewer ER, Leadbetter RA, Richard N, Haight B, Jamerson BD, Buaron KS, Metz A. Bupropion SR vs. placebo for weight loss in obese patients with depressive symptoms. Obes Res. 2002 Oct;10(10):1049-56. doi: 10.1038/oby.2002.142. PMID: 12376586. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12376586/
  6. Gadde KM, Parker CB, Maner LG, Wagner HR 2nd, Logue EJ, Drezner MK, Krishnan KR. Bupropion for weight loss: an investigation of efficacy and tolerability in overweight and obese women. Obes Res. 2001 Sep;9(9):544-51. doi: 10.1038/oby.2001.71. PMID: 11557835. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11557835/
  7. White MA, Grilo CM. Bupropion for overweight women with binge-eating disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Apr;74(4):400-6. doi: 10.4088/JCP.12m08071. PMID: 23656848; PMCID: PMC4021866. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23656848/
  8. Duan H, Zhu L, Li M, Zhang X, Zhang B, Fang S. Comparative efficacy and acceptability of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants for binge eating disorder: A network meta-analysis. Front Pharmacol. 2022 Sep 6;13:949823. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2022.949823. PMID: 36147335; PMCID: PMC9486087. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36147335/
  9. Arnold LM, McElroy SL, Hudson JI, Welge JA, Bennett AJ, Keck PE. A placebo-controlled, randomized trial of fluoxetine in the treatment of binge-eating disorder. J Clin Psychiatry. 2002 Nov;63(11):1028-33. doi: 10.4088/jcp.v63n1113. PMID: 12444817. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12444817/
  10. Serralde-Zuñiga AE, González-Garay AG, Rodríguez-Carmona Y, Meléndez-Mier G. Use of Fluoxetine to Reduce Weight in Adults with Overweight or Obesity: Abridged Republication of the Cochrane Systematic Review. Obes Facts. 2022;15(4):473-486. doi: 10.1159/000524995. Epub 2022 Jun 2. PMID: 35654016; PMCID: PMC9421708. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9421708/ 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!