It is crucial to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Yet addiction may pose even a higher danger than the virus.

Learn about recovery during the pandemic:

Zoloft and Weight: How Can Sertraline Affect the Body Weight?

weight gain and loss with zoloft

Important InformationThis information is for educational purposes only. We never invite or suggest the use, production or purchase of any these substances. Addiction Resource and it’s employees, officers, managers, agents, authors, editors, producers, and contributors shall have no direct or indirect liability, obligation, or responsibility to any person or entity for any loss, damage, or adverse consequences alleged to have happened as a consequence of material on this website. See full text of disclaimer.

People taking Zoloft medication are under the risk of its several side effects. Zoloft weight loss and gain are the two issues commonly faced by individuals taking this antidepressant. While sertraline can help boost mood and relieve depression, it is essential for the patient to control the weight changes during treatment.

Help Line Woman

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options. Call our free and confidential helpline

Most private insurances accepted

Marketing fee may apply

Table of Contents

Zoloft Side Effects on the Body Mass

There is a complex relationship between depression, Zoloft medication, and weight. Clinical studies have suggested that weight gain and loss may double the risk of developing depression. There is the hypothesis that side effects related to the changes in body mass are more likely to occur after consumption of ‘fat pharms’ for six months or longer.
Health experts say that people taking antidepressants like Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, and other popular SSRIs can experience certain changes to their body mass.
In a review published in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine in 2003, is stated that SSRI antidepressant drugs could cause weight gain in individuals who are taking the drug for more than six months. The weight changes generally occur with the prolonged usage of the medication and Zoloft weight gain and loss are possible side effects of sertraline.

Zoloft and Weight Gain

obese man's hand holding his chestHealth experts state that antidepressants contain ingredients that associate with the weight gain. Sertraline, for example, may trigger food cravings, especially for carbohydrates. It may also affect metabolism.
Another possible explanation for Zoloft weight gain is when sertraline starts acting in the patient’s body they become less stressed and depressed, and that ultimately leads to regaining patient’s appetite.
This scenario is only possible in case loss of appetite is a symptom of depression. However, overeating can also be a depression symptom that can be a reason for extra pounds regardless of the taking sertraline.

Factors Affecting Weight Gain

Several factors can be  a trigger for the extra pounds in individuals like:

  • Individual factors like genetic interactions to sertraline including metabolism, lifestyle, hormones, stress level, exercise, dietary intake, pregnancy or breastfeeding on Zoloft, and other conditions may influence the weight gain.
  • Dosage is perhaps the most important factor in the equation. Does Zoloft make people gain weight? Yes, it does. In those who take a higher dosage of sertraline. Higher dosage means that people are giving the medication more control over their nervous system than the innate homeostatic functioning. In case, if an individual experiences weight gain at a lower dose, increased dosage can double the weight gain or lead to sertraline HCL high.
  • Time span over which one has been taking sertraline plays a vital role in determining how many pounds one has gained. Prolonged usage of the drug makes individuals tolerant to its effects and leads to the dosage increase.
  • If patients are taking other medications or mixing sertraline with cannabis, or drinking during Zoloft treatment course, then they can’t rule out the fact that the interaction effect could increase the body mass.

Preventing Weight Gain From Zoloft

Health professionals are advising the next steps to avoid sertraline weight gain:
healthy breakfast bowl

  • Before starting on Zoloft, get weighed and report about all mass changes to concerned doctor.
  • Learn the difference between having an appetite and being hungry and try to take food at the same time.
  • Make more serotonin from other sources. By eating more carbs, for example.
  • Avoid high proteins at dinner.
  • Do exercises.

Zoloft and Weight Loss

While it is more likely for a person to get some extra pounds when taking sertraline, fat loss may also happen. If a person is burning a lot of extra calories or is following a reduced calorie diet, while being on Zoloft, the fat loss can occur.
Loss of appetite and nausea are also two possible Zoloft side effects that could lead to weight loss.
The study published in Psychoneuroendocrinology journal in 2016 stated that monkeys put on Sertraline HCL were found avoiding an increase in body fat, and insulin levels as compared to the monkeys who had just regular meals.

How to Manage Weight After Discontinuing Zoloft

People often surprised when they found out that they have gained 10-15 pounds while being on their medication post discontinuation. It can happen because drugs like Zoloft directly interact with the body functions at the core level. Metabolism, therefore, is certainly impacted making consequent weight gain just an accompanying effect from Zoloft discontinuation.
Health professionals suggest the body retaining water may also be the reason for a sudden mass gain during Zoloft discontinuation. However, once sertrlaine is removed out of the system, excess water would be lost. Unfortunately, this process could take weeks.
However, there are always methods provided by the health professionals to minimize the extra pounds gain.
Patients can minimize the weight gain risk by receiving an individually planned diet plan and exercise regime. Aerobic exercises are the best-suitable technique to lose weight being on Zoloft post discontinuation period.

Help Line Woman

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options. Call our free and confidential helpline

Most private insurances accepted

Marketing fee may apply

View Sources
Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


Leave a comment

  • Sam
    hey if you dont mind me asking what do you think triggered that side effects towards you specifically? whats your diest like? stress levels? exercise routine? etc. I know these questions are personal but i only ask because I am about to start taking Zoloft.
    • Chrissy
      I only gained weight too…25lbs in 5 months. I started at 25mg and seemed to be ok and my doctor increased to 50 and the lbs started piling on. Nothing else change..I exercised the same ate the same (actually less because I cut out my daily coffee and switched to a lower calorie yogurt) but the weight piled on. I’ve since discontinued using it and hope the weight will start to come off as I m really upset about it.
      • Gina Digiacomo
        Hi! I gained 20 pounds….work out regularly and eat clean. Have you seen any improvement?
  • Deisey
    Hi! gained 15 pounds sence I started sertraline 50 mg in 3 months. any other med recommendations that will not gain weight ?
  • Sammi
    I have lost weight on this medication, gone down a whole dress size… I have not changed anything in my diet or exercise, hope I don’t regain it all once I stop the medication.
  • Amy
    I’ve been taking Zoloft for 2 years. In that time I gained 25 pounds. Nothing has changed otherwise with eating healthy and exercising regularly. I am so frustrated. So I’ve decided to ween off and stop completely to see if that will help me drop some of the weight.
  • J
    I stopped Zoloft 4 months ago and within a month, I gained ten pounds. I’m now back on Zoloft and I’m hoping I will lose this weight. Weight gain is depressing to most people so why do antidepressants cause weight gain.