Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login


Antidepressant treatment could assist weight loss

Research suggests that off-label fluoxetine may help people lose weight, but more high-certainty evidence is needed before its use can be recommended for weight loss.

Fluoxetine 10mg carton


Fluoxetine is thought to influence weight by diminishing appetite and normalising altered eating behaviours

Off-label fluoxetine may help overweight and obese people to lose weight, but the evidence supporting this is limited, the authors of a Cochrane review (15 October 2019) have concluded[1].

The review and meta-analysis included 19 studies involving 2,216 participants who were randomly assigned to the serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine or a control group. The control groups included placebo, other anti-obesity agents, omega-3 gel or no treatment.

Overall, the authors found that, compared with placebo, fluoxetine was associated with greater average weight loss, with a mean difference across all dosages and duration of treatments of –2.7kg. In studies with non-placebo control groups, the results were inconclusive.

The researchers also noted that a greater proportion of fluoxetine-treated patients experienced adverse events compared with placebo-treated patients (63.6% vs. 56.2%).

Fluoxetine is thought to influence weight by diminishing appetite and normalising altered eating behaviours, the researchers explained. They said their findings were based on low-certainty evidence, however, and that further research was needed.

“To ensure the efficacy and safety of fluoxetine in overweight or obese adults, high-certainty evidence is needed to analyse the effects of long-term use of fluoxetine to promote weight loss and to determine the severity of adverse events,” they added.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20207468

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.