By Irfana Parveen

B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)

24 October 2021
Medically reviewed by
Sumayya Salam
Pharm D
Table of Contents

Weight gain is a common problem every individual is facing nowadays. It means fat storage in excess muscle and fat deposits in the body percentage. It shows an increase in body weight. Some people tend to gain weight more rapidly, which should be looked after with the doctor's help. In some cases, medical conditions lead to weight gain.

According to the centers for disease control and prevention( CDC ), about 43% of adults have obesity with depression.

Thus people who are consuming antidepressant drugs for more extended periods gain weight. But how do you all have this question? Let us see the antidepressant drug sertraline that will cause weight gain in the article given below.

What Is Sertraline?

Sertraline, sold under the brand name Zoloft, belongs to a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. They are commonly used as antidepressants. SSRIs have become the most frequently used drugs in the U.S. Zoloft is an antidepressant, and antidepressants in the U.S. always need a prescription. If you have to buy Zoloft online from a certified online pharmacy, you must have a prescription from a licensed doctor.

Antidepressants like Wellbutrin, Celexa, Prozac, and others may cause specific side effects, including weight gain. Since most antidepressants are associated with weight gain, subjective evidence suggests that Zoloft, an FDA-approved antidepressant medication, may cause weight gain in some patients.

According to a follow-up study by SSRI, antidepressant use potentiates weight gain in the context of unhealthy lifestyles; it has resulted that the more often you use them, the more likely you'll gain weight.

Sertraline Mechanism Of Action

The medicine treats major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attack disorder, Social Anxiety disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

It treats Anxiety and depression by preventing the reabsorption of a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin, by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin in the brain, the level of neurotransmitters increases, which can ultimately enhance mood. 

How To Take Sertraline?

Take the Drug exactly prescribed by your doctor, and follow all the instructions below the label before following the cure. You can take the Drug with or without food simultaneously every day. If you are taking a liquid form of Sertraline, dilute it before you take it. If you have any doubts, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Sertraline And Weight gain

Antidepressants and SSRIs have been associated with body composition and weight gain alterations. Though antidepressants like Sertraline are not closely related to weight gain as other antidepressants, there is not enough study to prove the link between sertraline use and increased body weight. 

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in 2016, researchers have compared antidepressants & their effects on body weight. It was found that Sertraline was among the many drugs associated with weight gain, as many of the users experienced a "modest weight gain."

Why Does Sertraline Cause Weight Gain?

According to healthcare providers and scientists, Sertraline can cause weight gain, but there's not enough study to support why this happens. It is evident that an individual gains weight when consuming more and more calories that they cannot burn through activity. 

Certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome & polycystic ovary syndrome also contribute to gaining weight. According to a study, antidepressants like Sertraline may stimulate your appetite by making you feel hungrier than average, affecting your ability to suppress the craving to eat. 

Since medications like Sertraline are prescribed for long-term use, even a slight increase in your appetite can significantly impact your weight. Over time, an increase in calorie intake can lead to weight gain. 

In a nutshell, weight gain is a known side effect of Sertraline and other antidepressants. While it is also found that Sertraline & other depressants may cause weight gain, it also leads to weight loss in some people when depressed. 

How to Avoid Weight Gain from Sertraline?

As gaining weight from Sertraline might be unavoidable, there are specific steps that you can follow to minimize the amount of weight gain while taking the medication.

  • Weigh yourself before you start 
  • Maintain your regular eating habits
  • Stay active
  • Weigh yourself weekly; avoid weighing daily
  • If you are gaining weight, inform your healthcare provider immediately
  • If you are losing weight, notify your healthcare provider immediately

Though SSRIs like Sertraline have a reputation for causing weight gain, by careful monitoring, you can maintain your weight when you are on antidepressants. By using the above mention tactics, there is the possibility that you may prevent or minimize fluctuations in weight after you begin to use Sertraline.

However, if you are anxious, depressed, or unfocused before taking any medication, it is always recommended to consult with an expert; you may also consult with a licensed psychiatry provider.  +

The drug increases the serotonin level in your body; it is a mood-enhancing chemical. It does not change your personality. It makes you feel calm and enhance a happy spirit of well-being.
Depending on your condition, your doctor prescribes the drug to use; for depression, you can take up to six months, and for OCD, you might take up to 12 months. Your doctor should advise it.
There are fewer sertraline-affecting symptoms like hallucinations, psychosis, mania, or memory loss.

Possible Side Effects

Each Drug has its side effects when it is started used in the initial stage, and gradually, it will go off; Sertraline also has some common side effects are, 

  • Loss of  appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating 
  • loss of sexual interest
  • Fatigue 
  • Tiredness
  • Agitation

These are the common symptoms that go on their own in a few days. You should contact your doctor immediately if you face any severe side effects. Some of the following are,

  • Suicidal thought
  • Dangerous activities 
  • Aggressive 
  • Violent behavior
  • Depression 
  • Agitation 
  • Irritability
  • Trouble in sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Eye pain 
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling
  • Redness

Drug interactions

Sertraline Oral tablet can interact with other drugs, vitamins, and herbal products you are taking while interacting. One or two substances will change the Drug's working state, and sometimes, it will harm health. To avoid interaction, speak to a doctor. About all medications you are taking, ask your doctor about the drug interaction. 

Please do not take these drugs with Sertraline; they can cause serious side effects to the health.

  • Pimozide can cause severe heart problems when taken together with Sertraline.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors(MAOIs) include isocarboxazid, phenelzine, and tranylcypromine. This Drug will increase the serotonin syndrome when taken together with Sertraline. 
  • Avoid taking drugs like linezolid, intravenous methylene blue
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs( NSAIDs) include naproxen, aspirin, and warfarin. This Drug will increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Serotonergic medication such as st. John's wort, fentanyl, and tramadol.
  • Avoid taking cimetidine drugs; it may cause a buildup of the drug sertraline in your body. It would help if you took a lower dose of Sertraline when taking cimetidine.
  • Tricyclic antidepressant drugs such as amitriptyline, desipramine, and imipramine.

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

Sertraline; belongs to the group of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. It is a drug approved by the FDA to treat specific mental health conditions, which works in the Central nervous system to help your Serotonin level maintain an average level and Promote a feeling of calm. Thus the drug works in your system. While consuming the Drug, if you face any side effects, consult your doctor immediately to avoid any adverse reactions to the Drug.

Moreover, antidepressants like Sertraline will make you gain weight when used for a more extended period due to the depressive effect of the Drug, which will cause you to lose your appetite and tend to gain weight.


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