More and more people are turning to increasingly unconventional methods to help them lose weight. This is particularly true for those who have tried and failed at more conventional diets. One of the things they seem to be using now is antidepressant medication. This is something that doctors are actually prescribing in order to lose weight, or that people trick their doctors into giving them so that they can lose weight. This is a very worrying trend, because these drugs have not been approved by the FDA for weight loss.
Which Antidepressants Are Being Used?
A reported from the Wall Street Journal recently dived into the world of antidepressants and weight loss. The article showed that the most popular drugs were Adderal (prescribed for the treatment of ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder), Topamax (used for migraines and seizures) and Wellbutrin (an antidepressant).
Why Is This a Worrying Trend?
Some people feel that if a drug is found that can help weight loss, it doesn’t really matter if it was actually designed for something else. However, the reality is that many of these drugs have hideous side effects, which is why they are only approved for very specific issues and not everything. For instance, a common side effect of Adderal is aggression, insomnia and heart problems. With Topamax, the side effects include fatigue and hyperventilation. Most worrying of all, Wellbutrin, seen by many as the best antidepressant for weight loss, can lead to suicidal tendencies, particularly in adolescents, which is written on a highly visible black box on the product itself.
Besides this, the reality is that the effect of the drugs in terms of weight loss is actually questionable. Doctors have started to research the effects and have concluded that some of the medicines help reduce cravings. As a result, people can actually lose weight. However, if people take the medication and hadn’t experienced any food cravings anyway, it would be totally ineffective. Wellbutrin has demonstrated to be effective in terms of weight loss, but only if combined with proper diet and an exercise program.
People continue to simply take these pills, because they believe it will help them lose weight without having to exercise or diet. Most worryingly of all, people are buying these drugs online, bypassing their doctors. Not only does this increase the chance of something going horribly wrong due to incorrect dosage, it can also lead to people taking products that are uncontrolled because they are actually counterfeit.
Even if the drugs are received through an official prescription, people will have to pay up to $200 a month in order to obtain them. This would cover a gym membership, personal trainer and dietician as well.
Can Medication Treat Obesity?
At present, there are two drugs that the FDA has approved for the treatment of obesity. These are Xenical and Meridia. These drugs do still require a healthy diet and exercise regime in order for them to work, so they are not magical cures.
The reality is that antidepressant medication is NOT a suitable weight loss product. There is only one natural antidepressant, which is St John’s Wort, and this is a potentially dangerous plant, which counteracts various types of medication. Furthermore, it has not shown to be effective in terms of weight loss.