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Trazodone is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant medication that’s used to treat mental health conditions like depressive disorder and anxiety. It’s also used off-label to help people with insomnia and sleep disorder. 

Like all medications, there are potential side effects to consider before you take this drug — but does Trazodone cause weight gain? While not a common side effect as with some other antidepressant medications, it’s true that Trazodone weight gain is a possible adverse effect. 

Read on to learn why you might gain weight on Trazodone, how much you might gain, and ways to manage it so you can make an informed decision when choosing a treatment plan that includes Trazodone online.

Do You Always Gain Weight on Trazodone?

This ultimately depends on several factors, including personal body chemistry and lifestyle habits. Though most users don’t experience significant weight gain as an adverse effect while taking Trazodone, some will. Research shows that second-generation antidepressants — which Trazodone is — might be linked to weight gain. In clinical trials, only about 1% of people on Trazodone gained weight. 

That said, other research finds that there’s the potential for weight loss in people who use Trazodone. Weight loss can be a common side effect, especially if someone is overweight when they begin taking this medication. 

How much weight will you gain from Trazodone?  

It’s important to understand that not everyone will experience Trazodone weight gain — it’s actually a pretty rare side effect of Trazodone. Some studies suggest that people who take Trazodone may gain an average of 1 – 2 pounds within 6 weeks of starting treatment. 

“Although it might not seem like a lot of weight, taking the drug for a long time will also increase the chances of body mass increase.”

Talkspace therapist Reshawna Chapple, PhD, LCSW

Results may differ significantly depending on factors such as lifestyle and other medications taken before starting or during Trazodone treatment.

Why Does Trazodone Cause Weight Gain?

Weight gain on Trazodone can be due to several reasons. 

Hormonal changes

Trazodone can affect the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate appetite and metabolism. This may result in increased hunger cravings and decreased energy expenditure when taken in higher doses or for more extended periods. 

Change in serotonin levels

As an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), Trazodone also alters serotonin concentrations, potentially changing food consumption by influencing emotions and feelings connected to diet.

Change in physical activity levels

Reduced physical activity level is another possible cause of weight gain on Trazodone. Trazodone induces sleepiness, which might result in less motivation or energy to engage in physical activity.

Change in metabolism

Slowed metabolism can result from reduced activity levels, leading to weight gain. Increased hunger

Increased appetite — perhaps due to a change in serotonin levels — can lead to higher food consumption. 

Change in diet

Poor dietary choices such as high-calorie snacks or processed foods provide little nutritional value but quickly add up in calories over time if not balanced with healthier options like fruits or vegetables, thus contributing further towards possible weight gain.

Fat storage

Trazodone may be related to a disruption in homeostatic processes, causing an increase in fat storage and leading to weight gain. 

Increased social interaction

When antidepressants do their job, you feel better. When you feel better, you may be more inclined to spend time in social settings where food and drink are common. Ultimately, you might experience a weight change if you’re socializing and eating more. 

How to Manage Weight Gain on Trazodone

Gaining weight can be an unexpected outcome of using Trazodone for some people. For those already overweight or obese, weight gain might be even more common and can have serious health consequences.  

Fortunately, there are strategies that can help you maintain a healthy weight while taking Trazodone.

Track your weight: Keeping track of your weight is the first step in managing any potential changes from taking Trazodone. It’s important to weigh yourself regularly to know if your weight has changed significantly since starting the medication. 

Monitor your diet: Monitoring your diet will help you identify any dietary patterns that may be contributing to unwanted pounds.

Exercise regularly: Exercising at least 3 times a week can help keep off extra pounds and improve overall physical and mental well-being while on Trazodone. Cardiovascular activities such as running or swimming burn calories and release endorphins proven to reduce stress levels and elevate moods naturally without relying solely on medications.

Eat healthily: Opting for healthier alternatives like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and more beneficial fats provides essential vitamins and minerals while keeping calorie intake low. Skipping processed snacks (like chips) and sugary drinks (like soda) will also help you avoid weight gain.

Switch medications: If you’re experiencing extensive weight gain and believe it’s related to Trazodone, talk to your doctor about switching medications. Just be sure to talk to them first before stopping abruptly as this can be dangerous and lead to Trazodone withdrawal.

“Discuss weight gain with your doctor. They might suggest switching to a different medication or lowering the dosage. Limit portion sizes on foods, exercise, eat more protein-rich foods, consult a dietitian, avoid alcohol, get enough sleep, drink more water, and reduce salt intake.”

Talkspace therapist Reshawna Chapple, PhD, LCSW

Find Out If Trazodone Is Right for You

If you’re considering taking Trazodone for your anxiety or depressive disorder, it’s crucial to weigh the risks and benefits before making a decision. Even though there are some side effects associated with taking this medication, including potential weight gain, they can often be minimized when taken properly under medical supervision. 

By taking Trazodone under a doctor’s care, those suffering from mental health issues can benefit without compromising their safety. Controlling potential Trazodone weight gain is possible. Talk to an online psychiatrist today to learn more about Trazodone and if it’s right for you. 

Sources: 

Arterburn D, Sofer T, Boudreau D, et al. Long-term weight change after initiating second-generation antidepressants. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2016;5(4):48. doi:10.3390/jcm5040048. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4850471/. Accessed March 11, 2023. 

DailyMed – Trazodone Hydrochloride Tablet. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=71961ab1-951d-1493-f76c-2ff25cca2a85  Accessed March 11, 2023. 

Weight changes in antidepressants: a comparison of amitriptyline and trazodone. Neuropsychobiology. 1986;15(1):28-28. doi:10.1159/000118237. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3725001/. Accessed March 11, 2023. 

Weisler RH, Johnston JA, Lineberry CG, Samara B, Branconnier RJ, Billow AA. Comparison of bupropion and trazodone for the treatment of major depression. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1994;14(3):170-179. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8027413/. Accessed March 11, 2023.

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