Antidepressants and antipsychotics are known to cause weight gain, but a new study has found that overweight and obese individuals can lose weight whether or not they take these medications.
People who have mental health conditions have an increased risk of obesity, but it’s been unclear whether taking psychiatric medications puts these individuals at a disadvantage for weight loss.
Aiming to answer this question, the investigators analyzed data from 17,000 patients enrolled in a lifestyle weight loss program, 23% of whom took at least one psychiatric drug. They compared outcomes for participants taking antidepressant(s) alone, antipsychotic(s) alone, a combination of both, or no psychiatric medication.
Men and women lost a significant amount of weight, although men taking antidepressants lost slightly less weight than men in the other groups. The type of medication did not appear to affect participants’ ability to lose pounds, nor did the known weight-gain potential of a medication, the researchers reported.
“The results of this study are relevant not only to the healthcare professionals providing care to those who have both excess weight and mental illness, but also to the patients who experience these comorbidities themselves,” said author Rebecca Christensen, University of Toronto.
The study was published in the journal Obesity.