Information from a new study is suggesting that the short-term use of antidepressant medications, when combined with stress and a diet that is high in fat, can lead to long-term weight gain. The results of the study were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.
“Our study suggests that short-term exposure to stress and antidepressants, rather than a high-calorie, high-fat diet alone, leads to long-term body weight gain, accompanied with increased bone and spleen weights,” said study lead author Suhyun Lee, a PhD candidate in the medical sciences at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
As the use of antidepressants continues to grow, so too are obesity rates. With so many side effects linked to the use of antidepressants like Paxil, weight gain is just another in a long list. Depression is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. SSRIs are commonly used to treat depression and are linked to serious adverse effects. In fact, Paxil has been known to cause patients to suffer from violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior as well as lead to birth defects in babies born to mothers who take the pills while pregnant. The birth defects linked to Paxil use include PPHN, spina bifida, neural tube defects, oral clefts and heart, lung and brain defects. The pills are also habit-forming.
For this study, the researchers analyzed data collected from the male rat participants that were being treated with the antidepressant fluoxetine. What they found was that in addition to them gaining weight, the animals that were taking the antidepressants even gained weight in their bones and spleens when compared to the animals in the control group.
“These findings may implicate different pathophysiological mechanisms in stress- and antidepressant-related obesity when compared to obesity that is solely diet-induced,” Lee said.