Sertraline, or Zoloft, is typically a weight-neutral medication, meaning it does not cause any weight gain or loss, according to an article published in Psychology Today. However, in some people it can lead to weight changes. If depression led to weight loss, then weight gain while taking Zoloft may be due to improvement of depression symptoms. But if your weight gain is unwanted, you can prevent it. Remember that adults typically gain weight every year, even if they are not taking medications.
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Monitor your weight as soon as you begin taking Zoloft. Update your doctor regularly on any weight changes. Make dietary changes as soon as you notice even slight weight gain. Waiting too long will make the weight more difficult to lose.
Adjust your diet. Reduce the typical amount of calories you're eating. Eat more low-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Increase the fiber in your diet by eating more whole grains and legumes. Save sweets for an occasional treat.
Eat carbohydrates by themselves to produce more serotonin. Eat about 30g of a sweet or starchy food such as breakfast cereal, pretzels, popcorn or rice. Don't combine carbohydrate with protein, which prevents serotonin production, or fat, which adds calories.
Learn the difference between hunger and appetite. Zoloft may increase your appetite but won't affect your true hunger level, according to Judith J. Wurtman, Ph.D. and co-author of "Halt Antidepressant-Associated Weight Gain." To determine if you're truly hungry, consider if you would eat a food that you don't particularly enjoy.
Exercise more often. Take advantage of the energy boost gained from eating carbohydrates. Exercise burns calories and can slow weight gain.
Take an antacid. Antidepressants such as Zoloft may cause your stomach to produce too much acid, creating a sensation that can be mistaken for hunger.
Suggest the drug orlistat, or Xenical, to your doctor. Orlistat blocks the body's ability to absorb dietary fat. Taking bupropion or topiramate may also be helpful.
Ask your doctor about switching drugs. Note that other drugs may not be as effective at treating your condition as Zoloft, and it may take time to find one that works.
Ask your doctor if you're ready to stop taking Zoloft after six months. If you take an SSRI for fewer than six months, you're less likely to experience weight gain, found a 2003 study published by Rashmi Deshmukh and Kathleen Franco in the "Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine."
Don't abruptly stop taking Zoloft even if you notice weight gain. Consult your doctor about how to stop taking the medication.