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Zoloft and Weight Gain: Causes & Influential Factors

Zoloft (Sertraline) is an antidepressant medication that has been around since 1991. It functions as an SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) to increase extracellular levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. The drug is considered effective at treating a variety of conditions including major depression, social anxiety disorder, panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Despite being around since the early 1990s, it is still a highly popular antidepressant medication in 2015. Although the drug tends to significantly help some individuals cope with their depression, may who take Zoloft experience weight gain. In the event that an individual gains a significant amount of weight while taking the drug, the weight gain may make the person feel as if they are trapped in a lose-lose situation: take Zoloft and feel less depressed but gain weight OR don’t take Zoloft and lose weight.

Zoloft and Weight Gain

Not every doctor informs patients of potential side effects that they may experience while taking Zoloft or the generic version, “Sertraline.” One very common side effect is that of weight gain. Some people may notice a gradual increase in weight over time while taking an SSRI, while others may notice a significant increase in body fat within the first couple months of treatment. Others may not notice any weight gain for a period of time and then realize that they’ve gotten pretty big.

How Zoloft causes weight gain: Hypotheses

There is no exact science behind the weight gain that a person experiences while taking Zoloft (Sertraline). However there are a variety of speculative possibilities including: increased carbohydrate cravings, metabolic adjustments, as well as standard medication side effects such as lethargy which make it tough to burn calories.

  • Appetite changes: Some individuals notice that when they take this medication, their appetite also changes. They may become hungrier than usual, making them eat more frequently. Those who had a poor appetite as a result of depression may now be eating more calories due to the fact that they actually enjoy eating. It is common to notice fluctuations in appetite while taking this drug.
  • Carbohydrate cravings: One theory is that Zoloft may increase a person’s carbohydrate cravings. Those that take it may notice that they’ve developed a sweet tooth. There is a clear relationship between serotonergic functioning and carbohydrate cravings. Therefore, some speculate that the serotonergic changes being made in the brain by Zoloft is a plausible cause of increased carb cravings. If you notice that you all of a sudden want to eat more pastas, breads, cereals, and sugary candies, it may be more than a coincidence.
  • Fat storage: Another theory is that certain SSRIs make the body store more fat than usual. The increased fat storage would account for some of the packed on pounds while taking Zoloft. Whether this is actually true is up for debate simply because it hasn’t been formally studied.
  • Food tastes better: Some people notice that when they are depressed, food doesn’t taste very good. When their neurochemistry gets adjusted by the Zoloft, they notice that food all of a sudden tastes much better than it had in the past. When food tastes better, it leads people to crave it and/or seek out more.
  • Hormone changes: Antidepressants like Zoloft tend to alter natural hormone production within the body. The exact changes that they make are unknown, but some believe that weight gain experienced while taking them may be due to alterations in hormone production from the drug. The only way to track this would be to get hormone levels checked prior to treatment and then compared them while undergoing treatment.
  • Interactions: Most people taking multiple medications don’t even consider the possibility that Zoloft and the other drug may be interacting to contribute to weight gain. If you are taking multiple psychotropic drugs, it can be difficult to pinpoint whether one is causing the weight gain, whether they each are to a certain extent, or whether the two are interacting to compound the effect of weight gained.
  • Less depressed: When you’re less depressed, you’re more likely to eat and take care of yourself. When you feel hungry, you’re probably going to eat. Someone who is depressed may skip meals, eat infrequently, and may become skinny as a result of their lack in motivation to eat.
  • Side effects: While weight gain can be arguably considered a direct side effect of the drug, other side effects such as grogginess, lethargy, and sleepiness may lead to weight gain. When you feel tired from this medication, it may be extremely difficult to get out of bed, exercise, and move your body. This leads to less overall calories being burned and inevitably an increase in weight.
  • Slower metabolism: While some argue that SSRIs don’t alter the body’s metabolism, many people believe that they do. One theory is that some people taking Zoloft may develop a slower metabolism. Some people have found via experimentation that even if they maintain the same strict diet and portions, they gain weight. This suggests that there is a metabolic component associated with the weight gain.
  • Social eating: People with various forms of depression and social anxiety may have been isolated and uninvolved in social activities. When the Zoloft starts working, they may make friends and become more involved with friends. This often leads to eating out, possibly at unhealthy restaurants.

Note: In most people, the specific changes made by Zoloft on functioning are difficult to track. It is thought that weight gain may be caused by a combined influence from many of the hypotheses listed above.

Factors that influence weight gain on Zoloft

It cannot be generalized that everyone will gain the same amount of weight while taking Zoloft (Sertraline). Some individuals will gain more weight, others will gain less, and others may not gain any at all or even lose weight. It all depends on your individual response to the drug.

1. Dosage

Perhaps the most important factor in the equation is dosage, how many milligrams of Zoloft do you take? Those that take a higher dosage will be at greater risk for gaining weight – it’s that simple. When you take a higher dose, you are essentially giving the Zoloft more control over your nervous system than natural homeostatic functioning. If weight gain is a side effect at a lower dose, doubling the dose may also double the weight gain. Therefore to minimize weight gain, it is recommended to always take the lowest effective dose.

2. Individual factors

There are an array of other individual factors that will influence the weight gain you experience while on Zoloft. Weight gain may be a result of genetic interactions to the drug, your physiology, your metabolism, hormones, lifestyle, stress level, dietary intake, exercise, and other health conditions. It is impossible to evaluate all of the possible factors that could be contributing to weight gain in your specific case. Just know that individual factors are often not discussed, but play a huge role in determining whether you’ll gain weight from this medication.

3. Time Span

The time span over which you’ve been taking Zoloft plays a role in determining how much weight you’ve gained. Those that have been taking Zoloft for a very short term may not notice anything in terms of weight changes. People that have been taking Zoloft over a long term often notice that the weight gain gets worse over time. This is often due to the fact that over time, people become tolerant to the effects of the drug and increase their dosages.

4. Other medications

As was already mentioned, if you take any other drugs, you cannot rule out the possibility of them interacting with the Zoloft. An interaction effect could lead to increased weight gain while on Zoloft. You may want to also evaluate whether you believe the weight gain is a result of the Zoloft, whether the other medication is the primary culprit, or whether they are both equally responsible.

How much weight will you gain from Zoloft?

The exact answer is that “it depends” on the person. Most experts agree that nearly 1/4 people will notice weight gain when taking an SSRI like Zoloft. The average amount of weight gain is approximately 10 lbs. from an SSRI. Keep in mind that this is an average statistic and is subject to variation based on other individual factors. Further research needs to be conducted to determine how dosing and duration of usage plays a role in influencing weight changes.  Other uncontrolled studies have suggested it is possible to gain an average of 15 lbs. after 6 to 12 months of treatment.

  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24898363
  • Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181155/

Will everyone gain weight while taking Zoloft?

No. It is important to remember that all psychotropic drugs affect everyone differently. This is why there are tests like GeneSight being developed to help determine which drugs will best suit you based on your genetics. Some people actually remain weight neutral while taking Zoloft and others may lose weight depending on how the drug influences their functioning. Although a majority of people will gain some weight, it is important to determine whether that weight is significant enough to make you depressed or become a health issue.

Zoloft: Conducting a Cost-Benefit Analysis

If you have gained a significant amount of weight from taking Zoloft, you may want to conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Some people don’t care how much weight they gain as long as the medication is keeping their depression at bay. Others may actually get more depressed from the weight that their medication is causing them to gain.

In all cases, it is important to weigh the degree to which you benefit from the Zoloft and compare it to the weight gain (and other side effects). If the cost from taking the drug outweigh the benefits you’re getting, it may be time to switch medications and/or go through Zoloft withdrawal.

Did you experience weight gain from Zoloft?

Not everyone will experience major weight gain while taking Zoloft. Others may gain a few extra pounds, but it won’t be much of a big deal. Yet others will experience a major increase in their baseline bodyweight. If you have gained weight from Zoloft, feel free to share how much you gained, the dosage you took, and the time span over which you took the drug. Also feel free to discuss what you think caused the weight gain and if there were any other factors that may have also contributed.

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{ 120 comments… add one }
  • Starlinguk August 27, 2018, 12:22 pm

    I gained 10kg on sertraline, despite counting calories and increasing the amount of exercise I did (I became far more motivated). I had to reduce my daily calorie intake to 1300 a day to maintain weight rather than gain it. And I’m 5’10”! I loved the way sertraline worked against my chronic pain, but since my family has a history of heart disease, being fat just wasn’t a good idea.

  • Anonymous August 17, 2018, 11:08 am

    Thanks all for sharing. It’s really helpful knowing that other people are or have experienced similar things to myself. I have suffered from OCD, anxiety and panic attacks for 18 years now. I was put on sertraline around 4 years since. My doses have varied over this time, but mainly I’ve been on 100-150mg.

    Over the last 10 years my weight has sat around 9 stone 7-10lb (5 days min at the gym, healthy vegetarian diet). My weight plummeted to around 8 stone in the first few months of taking the medication (albeit I was not in a good place at all). 3 & 1/2 years on and I am now the heaviest I’ve been at 12 stone.

    Since February I have paid for a Personal trainer 3 times a week for an hour each session to try and help, but nothing. Neither of us could understand – as I work so hard training and with my diet that nothing changed and I mean nothing. (Not even my body fat). He researched into sertraline as this is as the only thing that I was doing differently and found so many cases studies of the weight gain side effect of this med.

    I was so relieved, but shocked at the same time. Around August last year I started with horrendous stomach problems (I’ve been to hospital twice due to the pain being so severe). I’ve had CT scans, ultrasounds, a laparoscopy but couldn’t find anything. They couldn’t find anything and were even starting to make me doubt myself.

    (I’ve since read quite a few cases with people having the same issues, some with stomach issues, headaches, joint pains, etc.). I think I’ve managed to limit it to that. I have recently become allergic to eggs. About 3 months ago I went to see my GP about my stomach symptoms and my weight gain.

    My GP was adamant that this medication has nothing to with my weight gain, or the pain that I’ve had, and definitely nothing to do with this allergy I have now developed. I have been on a 18 month waiting list for secondary mental health care to get help for my long term issues.

    The sertraline was only a coping mechanism until my appointment came through. I asked them where I was on the waiting list and could they advise about reducing my dose at some point (to see if my symptoms would start to subside). Since then I have been told I am no longer on the waiting list and am not eligible for treatment – as I’ve talked to my GP about me reducing my SSRI dose… such that I’m obviously in a good place and I am no longer eligible for treatment.

    I am devastated!! So since this I have slowly weaned myself off sertraline 2 weeks ago. I’m having quite a few withdrawals which aren’t pleasant but I’ve got such an amazing support network around me. Hopefully they will subside soon. So they say that “sertraline doesn’t cause weight gain”?

    Well I must have read at least 200 cases over last few months and at 90% of these have stated that they have had at least 15lbs+ weight gain after taking sertraline longer than 6 months… Which was exactly what happened to me. I have no idea where they get their statistics from, but I think they need to re-evaluate them.

    The people taking this type of medication have underlying issues hence us being prescribed SSRI in the first place. So why mask it using this rather than getting to the root cause? Also make us more vulnerable, paranoid with the dismissal of our symptoms. Stay strong.

    • Morag August 20, 2018, 8:40 pm

      All power to you too. Once you are off it, you will lose weight again with diet and exercise. It’s just not possible to do it while you’re on it. I firmly believe that we who have experienced this will never be taken seriously because we will always be dismissed as mentally unstable.

    • Sily August 25, 2018, 9:19 am

      Your GP is obviously saying what the producer of sertraline wants him to say. Mine gave up denying because there is no denying anymore. My dose is 25 mg a day and I am not able to lose the weight I gained because of sertraline.

      Most other anti-depressants make you gain weight too. I’ve read that prozac might not, perhaps you can try switching?

  • Grace August 1, 2018, 11:02 pm

    I have been on sertraline for 2 years. It improved my anxiety and depression significantly however… I too have gained weight rapidly. I was 125lbs and now I’m 157lbs and it’s in my belly also. I crave foods all the time and don’t feel like working out.

    It’s really tough trying to lose it and I’ve never been in this category in my life. So upsetting. I went down a year ago from 100mg to 50mg and I guess I’ll try going down to 25mg. Did anyone lose weight after lowering or going off?

    • Morag August 6, 2018, 8:19 am

      Hi Grace, I lost the weight after I came off Sertraline but it took a while. All the time I was on it, it was impossible to move by dieting or exercise and I decided I’d rather be my normal weight and neurotic than unhappy about my weight.

    • Starlinguk August 27, 2018, 12:28 pm

      It takes a long time to wear off! 7 months in my case. And I was on a very low dose.

  • Brenda May 24, 2018, 2:39 pm

    So glad to have come across this! My Dr. made me feel crazy when I complained about rapid weight gain after starting Sertraline. I’ve been in this med for less than a year and have gained 20 lbs in that time!

    While initially I felt like this med took the edge off of my anxiety and I could focus better at work, I feel exhausted on a regular basis and have lost interest in many things because of my weight.

    I’ve decided that I’d rather go through withdrawal and find other ways to deal with my anxiety than to continue to gain weight like this.

  • Christi April 20, 2018, 5:24 pm

    I started taking Zoloft in November of 2016 and since then I have gained 60 lbs! I’ve obsessing as to why this is happening and I finally put 2 and 2 together and realized it’s the Sertraline.

    I have stopped taking it as of 2 weeks ago and I haven’t had too bad of side effects so I’m anxious to see if the weight comes off easier. I feel like I really needed the Zoloft at the time I took it, but now I feel like I’m doing ok without it. It’s really bad for your brain long term also.

    My brother also takes it and he has always been really skinny his whole life. He has also gained about 50 lbs and it’s the first time he has ever been chubby in his whole 40 years. We have the same genes so it obviously is affecting us the same way.

  • Karen April 7, 2018, 9:04 pm

    I wish I would have done more research before going on Zoloft. I’ve gained 80 lbs over past seven years. I’m 67 now and it’s almost impossible to get off. If someone told me exercise would’ve helped my panic, depression, and keep my weight intact, I maybe would’ve changed behavior. Now I must do this at 67.

  • Shelby Dunkin March 18, 2017, 11:52 pm

    I am so glad that I read the comments here. I’ve been on Zoloft for a year now, I’ve always been between 110 and 115lbs, and now I’m 150lbs! I workout, eat healthy, and I’m still so much bigger than I’ve ever been. I’m going to talk to my doctor about switching to a different SSRI, because this weight gain makes me feel terrible. At least I know I’m not alone.

  • Tara February 26, 2017, 9:03 am

    I seem to be the only one here who would actually like to gain weight from the Zoloft. This is the third time I have been on it and every time just when it starts to help, I go off usually because I don’t like how it causes sexual dysfunction. I am 31 and I am only 100 lbs and I am 5″3′. I hope to God this time it works and I gain some weight. I always end up craving all kinds of sweet stuff and things like oatmeal, biscuits, and carbs so we shall see.

  • Emily January 11, 2017, 3:21 am

    I have been taking Zoloft since I was in 6th grade (2009). I am now a freshman in college. So I have been taking Zoloft for roughly 7 or 8 years. I weighed around 145 lbs throughout 6th grade and by the time high school hit, I was like 200!

    Now, I am a freshman in college and weigh 250. My mom said my uncle has begun to take Zoloft and has gained 30 pounds. I am done. I’m tired of not being able to lose weight because of this. I’d rather be anxious and a decent weight, than calm and a fat blob.

  • Sily de Veen November 20, 2016, 1:48 pm

    I have been taking sertraline since more than 10 years, first year 50 mg, since then 25 mg. I gained 30 kg, that I tried to shed in all kinds of ways, none of which had any result. I now have serious diabetes type 2 and my gp suggested a gastric bypass or a gastric band. Since I don’t eat much anymore and since these are major operations not without risk, I don’t intend to follow that suggestion. The anti diabetes drugs are increased and I hope for the best. Stopping taking anti-depressants is no option, I’ve tried that and regretted it. But I wonder if the cure is worse than the disease.

  • S November 19, 2016, 12:09 am

    I didn’t realize this was such a common reaction! I went on Sertraline when I was 12, about 15 years ago. Obviously, I gained weight as I grew, but I became more and more overweight as my dose was increased. I tried going off of it a few years ago and switch to a different medication and it was a disaster.

    I had to take a semester off of school because my OCD was out of control. After that, my dose was increased to 400 mg and my weight gain has been insane since then. My weight is depressing me, but I’m scared to go off of it or switch because I had such a bad reaction in the past.

  • Jill November 15, 2016, 3:32 pm

    Oh my god you guys!!! I thought I was crazy but all these similar stories make me feel SO MUCH BETTER – I had a very similar experience to all of you!!!! For body reference I was always thin, 5’9 around 140 lbs, which I carried in my butt/thighs. Been depressed literally all my life, since I can even remember as a kid, but after being even more so at 23-years-old went on 50 mg of sertraline.

    It helped my mood a lot! Looking back I guess I had hypomania as other people noticed I was much more talkative and elated. Like six months later I move to a bigger city and notice my size four pants no longer fit well and my stomach, which had always been flat and trim, is getting bigger… I seriously had the worst addiction to ice cream you guys, I would literally think about it all the time and eat two pints a day, which I couldn’t do without getting physically sick before, and this went on for like a year and a half.

    I am now just over 26-years-old weening off sertraline and stopping as soon as what I have is out, needless to say my body is very different from when I started, I think I weigh around 170 or 175 pounds (I actually don’t ever really weigh myself). I’ve been told by many doctors antidepressants work best short-term, though obviously there are people who need to be on them longer or their whole life. I’m SO LUCKY sertraline worked to improve my mood for me right away, but the positive effects of it kind of bell curved.

    I should have weened off it after a year instead of two, but hindsight is 20/20 and I just hope I can get back in shape.

  • Dena November 14, 2016, 5:00 am

    I’ve been on Zoloft for about 9 months and have gained 30 pounds! I’m 47 years old. My cravings for carbs, in particular, sweets, has skyrocketed. I’ve woke up in the middle of the night just to eat a bowl of cereal. My anxiety and mood swings have improved, but getting depressed over weight gain. :(

  • Andrew October 21, 2016, 6:18 am

    Yes. I agree with everything said so far. As for me my story is a little different but I have been on Zoloft for 6 years and did gain alot of weight. In 2015, I managed to lose 80 pounds (223 to 143) but the cravings for carbs are so intense that you put on the weight back the moment you try to return normal eating lifestyle.

    I am already back to 154lbs and scared that Zoloft is to blame for the intense hunger and cravings I get for carbs. Wish I knew for sure if it is Zoloft or not before going off it. Any comments from people on Zoloft that lost weight than gained it back due to carb cravings and the lack of satiety? Thanks guys and hope we can get to a consensus on the whole debate

  • SG September 15, 2016, 2:12 pm

    I have been on Zoloft for about 8 months and my weight has really gone up. I gained all of the weight back plus some. Any suggestions for an alternative med?

  • Morag Fraser September 10, 2016, 10:28 pm

    My story is the same – significant weight gain which would not shift until I came off it. I stopped looking like myself – my face went moon-like and this stayed even longer than the weight. This drug worries me and for that reason I just stopped it (not recommending anyone else does as it could be harmful, but for me it was the right thing to do). I got my body and face back eventually.

  • KF August 28, 2016, 12:19 am

    My 11 year old daughter was put on 25 mg of Zoloft 9 months ago. Helped tremendously with her anxiety right away. Four months into it we increased the dosage to 1 1/2 pills=37.5 mg. She started putting on weight like crazy from that point and now it’s August and she’s gained 30 lbs!!!

    I am beside myself right now. I started cutting back her dosage today to just the one pill (25 mg) and hoping it’ll help. I was beginning to think she had a binge eating disorder until I found this site and reading how much it increases the appetite.

    In retrospect I wish we had never increased the dosage last March. She just keeps gaining and now her pediatrician says she’s overweight. She was always a petite, tiny girl. This is breaking my heart!

  • Anna August 27, 2016, 10:58 pm

    Hello. I was on Zoloft for one year and gained 40 pounds while on Zoloft. I was also extremely tired and would pass out sitting up every night at 7:30 pm while still in my work clothes but I woke up feeling wonderful. I couldn’t handle the weight gain so I had my doctor switch me to Lexapro and I didn’t not gain or lose weight at first. I went on a strict diet and lost 13 pounds.

    I needed up getting off the Lexapro 4 months ago and I am cannot handle the anxiety and depression and plan on trying Zoloft again. I am going to go food shopping for fruit and vegetables to help control any craving I may have and I plan to exercise (I hate exercising). I have to chose to live depressed and anxious all of the time or calm and fat. Wish me luck. I wish all of you luck, happiness, and peace.

  • JW August 4, 2016, 4:52 pm

    I have been on zoloft for 14 months, started out on 50mg and at 200 mg now, I have gained 20+ pounds. It is very stressful worrying about my weight. I am not sure what to do as it helps great with my anxiety but also at the same time, feel like I am obsessed over the weight gain…

  • Matthew July 14, 2016, 2:56 am

    I wish I could go back in time and never take Zoloft. I used Zoloft for about 6 months. Like most of you, I gained 35+ pounds, mostly in my belly region. My body hurts. I am more depressed an anxious now since I can barely look in the mirror.

    From 2012-2015, I ran four marathons. I weighed 185, and was fit. Now, I’m 240, and I don’t even want to leave the house because I’m so embarrassed. I just want to cry everyday now, and it’s all because of how I look. It’s like a nightmare every day I wake up.

    I grew up a fat kid. When I got fit, I was so proud of myself. Now, I am just disgusted and sad.

  • DadondivadiamondD July 11, 2016, 8:03 pm

    I have been taking Zoloft 25 mg qd for 3 months and have gained 14 pounds already I’ve always been small. I’m 5″7 normally about 132-134 pounds since stating the medicine I’ve maintained a weight of 146-148 pound I’m hoping that in another 3 months I’m not another 10-15 pounds bigger. 😩🙏🏾😓

  • Lova Mitchell July 7, 2016, 6:54 pm

    I had anxiety from 2007-2013 but it was undiagnosed. I was miserable and kept thinking I , or one of my kids was going to die of cancer. Every other day, I end up taking myself or the kids to the doctor, specialists and ERs. It was really really bad. I started to feel physical pain such as abdominal pain, nausea and even vomiting.

    I struggle to spend a day with my kids without worrying. I couldn’t breath. Im 5″ and weighed 125 lbs the time. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety 2013 and prescribed with Zoloft 50mg. The first month was very hard for me to fall asleep so the doctor added trazodone. Ugh. Trazodone helped me sleep better at night but I weaned off the trazodone because it made me sleepy all freaking day. So I haven’t taken trazodone since and sleeping better at night.

    Zoloft has changed my life In good ways, I’m not spending my day worrying if I have a lump on my or my kids bodies. Or spending the day googling the Internet for the symptoms… Zoloft has been truly a life saver to me. I now enjoy my kids more. I have ambition. I can sit still in a park and enjoy the beauty of nature and watch the birds fly over.

    However, I have gained 30 lbs since 2013 and most of the fat is in my belly. I look horrible! Sometimes I don’t even recognize my self anymore. Zoloft has increased my appetite. I’m constantly hungry and especially craving for noodles! It’s out of control. The worst part is that I get extremely hungry in late evening, which is a recipe for weigh gaining. I can’t fit in any of my old jeans or clothes.

    I’m always wearing my sweaty pants. I used to love clothes shopping and now can’t even look At a pair of pants. I just look at them and pass by with a big sigh. I used to be size 2 and now size 8. I’m thinking to cut down on my Zoloft to 50mg and see. If I can live like a normal human being- I’ll keep it at the low dose. If however, I start to feel anxious again- I’ll take the full dose without. I’ll take the 25 lbs anytime to being smaller but miserable.

    • JW August 4, 2016, 4:54 pm

      I agree with you too. I am going to try and get down to 100 mg, currently on 200 mg.

  • Kelli July 5, 2016, 3:33 am

    I have been taking 150 mg of this drug for two years and have gained almost 50lbs. I used to be a size 8 weighing 145lb. Now I’m a 12/14 weighing 185lbs. I hate it! I crave ice cream and cookies after meals and I just can’t have one good sized cookie. It’s like it’s not enough my body just wants carbs carbs carbs all the time but I don’t need them.

    I want to get off the drug I’ve considered asking my doctor if we can try maybe she’ll consider but my depression is pretty severe. No one seems to want to take any chances but I feel I can do it. I’m glad Im not the only one who has experienced excessive weight can and increased appetite.

  • Kerry June 25, 2016, 5:54 am

    I am stunned! I have been on Zoloft for 11 years and gained 30lbs in spite of eating and drinking alcohol much less as the years have passed. I figured it was aging and metabolism slowing, which I’m sure is part of it, but my stomach is carrying much of the fat and I look truly awful.

    Never have my doctors mentioned the possibility that this may be caused by the SSRI. It’s been torture watching my belly blow up like some monstrous pregnancy. I must go off the drug. Will be hard and don’t expect my doctor will be invested in helping me.

  • Kelsey June 14, 2016, 3:05 pm

    I am frustrated yet relieved to hear I’m not alone. I have struggled with an eating disorder in the past so I refuse to weight myself or look at my weight when I am weighed at the doctor. Over the past 6-8 months I’ve noticed drastic weight gain to the point of clothes not fitting me. I decided to finally take a look at my Medical records and see my weight taken at each appointment and I am devastated to learn I have gained 25 lbs in a year since starting Zoloft.

    Here is my timeline:

    -May 2015: Started Zoloft 50 mg – Weight: 134 lbs

    -July 2015: Dose increased to 100 mg

    -August 2015: Weighed 145 lbs

    -Early Nov 2015: Weighed 148 lbs

    -Late Nov 2015 – Dose increased to 150 mg

    -Dec 2015 – Weighed 156 lbs

    -January 2016 – Weighed 160 lbs

    I am also on a stimulant for my ADD so I usually undereat due to lack of appetite. Shortly after my dose increase to 150 I began experiencing severe fatigue and lack of motivation/concentration. I would try and take double my ADD med dose and nothing worked. I never made the connection of my symptoms and the dose increase until now…

    I’m so frustrated and tired of having to take medication to feel happy but have to suffer the side effects. :(

  • Lucy May 24, 2016, 3:27 am

    I’m on 150mg of Zoloft, I’ve been on it for almost a year now and have gained 30+ lbs… It’s miserable to see that! I worked out consistently and ate pretty well the whole time so I have no idea why or how I gained so much weight so fast. The junk food cravings are through the roof though. I tried to ignore them for a long time but since I realized no amount of working out or eating right will help me lose weight I stopped caring.

    I’m currently trying to decide if being big and happy is almost worth it? Or maybe a more natural serotonin booster medication that will allow me to have the best of both worlds. Either way this absolutely sucks.

  • Gigi May 20, 2016, 3:37 pm

    I was on Zoloft for 5 years and went off this year. In the first year, I gained 15 pounds and decided to go off it when I saw that creep up to 20 lbs. Most of the fat is in my abdomen, like many readers here. I decided that I would rather carry my emotional burden than all this blubber! There is no magic pill out there, believe me.

    They ALL have side effects and long-term costs that doctors tend to play down in their rush to feel like they have been able to do something for you. I really recommend therapy, sunshine, friends, and creativity instead of chemicals. Life is painful and difficult with or without depression. I think part of the problem is that we have come to expect to be exempted from suffering, but none of us are.

    • Mel March 9, 2018, 3:25 pm

      Wow. Good point at the end there. I’ve been on Zoloft on and off over 10 years. Never been this big before in my life (especially the gut!) even though I eat healthy. I’ve weaned myself down to 25mg. Praying the weight starts to come off. But depression and anxiety are creeping in again. My plan is exercise, sunshine and creativity like you said. Sending prayers for all of us.

  • Emily May 19, 2016, 8:03 pm

    I’m an 18 year old female and have been on Zoloft for 2 years. In the past two years, I have gained nearly 50 pounds. I’m 5’5 and was a slim 125 pounds before I started Zoloft, but I weighed in at 172 pounds during my physical this morning. I take Zoloft for generalized anxiety, but the stress that I feel over my weight and not fitting into any of my clothes has really taken a toll on me.

    I will definitely be weaning myself off it and get back to my original weight because the excess weight is disgusting, and the costs are outweighing the benefits for me. Additionally, I was not told by anyone that Zoloft could cause such an enormous weight gain (or else I never would have started taking it). I used to do ballet and swim and feel comfortable in my clothing, but now I want to hide my body as much as possible and just feel terrible.

    Overall, it was initially fine to control my severe anxiety, but now that I’ve gained so much weight (and will continue to gain weight if I stay on it), I can’t get off of it fast enough.

    • Emily January 11, 2017, 3:25 am

      I am so glad I am not the only one with large amounts of weight gain! I’ve been taking Zoloft since I was 11 and I am 18 now! I went from 145 lbs to 255!!! Obviously none of my old clothes fit and I HATE it. Even snowboarding and going to the gym doesn’t help. I am going to be weaning myself off of it too. Good luck on the weight loss!!!

  • kim May 16, 2016, 8:27 pm

    Hi, I’m so glad I read your comments! I have really severe depression, which means I’ve been on a lot of meds. But nothing like Zoloft. I started taking it in December 2015; it is now May 2016. I went from 105 lb to 118 lb in that short period of time, and I do not eat a lot. As a lot of you have said, it is all belly fat.

    And I am torn as well. the Zoloft has removed suicidal tendencies, but I cannot stand the weight gain! Next time I see my shrink, I’m going to ask for something different. of course, my next appointment is in 3 months. God knows how much weight I’ll have gained then! Good luck to each of you.

  • Aurora May 11, 2016, 3:38 pm

    I’ve been taking Zoloft for about 6 months and I exercise daily yet I seem to be gaining weight very fast. As I stated before it’s only been about 6 months but I’ve already gained about 5-8 lbs while exercising. I’m not really sure what I should do. I believe that I should quit taking it, but if that’s the case what are other anti-depressants I can talk to my doctor about?

  • Susanne Eskridge April 28, 2016, 11:06 pm

    200 mg of Zoloft is the amount I’ve worked up to over the past 2 weeks. Originally, I was on 60 mg of Cymbalta but wanted to go back to Zoloft because it’s so much cheaper. Today the GP mentioned that all SSRI’s cause weight gain, which explains the 10 lb. increase since the last visit. Zoloft has helped me before – same dose, different city and state – without weight gain.

    This time the weight gain is of GREAT concern since I’m already maxed out at over 180 pounds. The doc said “Watch your weight.” As though that’s enough! It may be time to switch back to Cymbalta, cost be damned. But I simply cannot gain weight uncontrollably as I did 7 years ago. (Went from 115 pounds to 195 pounds, but did lose 20 after a TKR.)

    I feel OBESE! And have considered all sorts of options (including hypnosis) but I absolutely refuse to get caught in the weight gain cycle again! No one seems to care… my husband shrugs it off… doctors think I’m overly concerned… well, now that I know, I’ll have to switch to something else, or just be crazy. Better to be crazy than fat.

    • Mel March 9, 2018, 3:32 pm

      I’m in the same boat and my dear husband is like yours, just shrugs it off. I’m down to 25mg. Hoping the weight starts coming off. Never been this big in my life and it’s mostly my gut.

  • David April 26, 2016, 6:25 pm

    I have gained 15 pounds (158 lbs. to 173 lbs.) during the 10 months I have been on Zoloft. I stopped taking it 2 weeks ago since I am dramatically improved and am now more concerned about the excess weight than the depression.

  • Cathy April 20, 2016, 5:29 pm

    I started taking Zoloft a little less than one year ago and I’ve gained almost 25 pounds. I did not want to complain about weight gain to my doctor, and figured if I worked hard enough I could get the weight off. After continuous weight gain I finally decided (today) to call my doctor to see if she will switch my medication. Zoloft helps with depression, but gaining this much weight is definitely not healthy and adds so much more anxiety and frustration to my life.

    I would suggest anyone starting Zoloft to workout and eat healthy – if you keep gaining weight, call your doctor! I wish I had been proactive about this sooner. Nobody should have to feel like they aren’t in control of their own body! Hopefully I will find a medication that keeps my mind AND body happy and healthy. :)

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