Does Amitriptyline Cause Weight Gain?

5th March 2020

Amitriptyline is part of a group of medicines called tricyclic antidepressants. Like all medicines, it can cause side effects and the one that people often worry about is whether or not it can cause you to gain weight. In this article, we will discuss whether or not Amitriptyline causes weight gain, as well as what it actually is and what the side effects are. We will also discuss ways that you can actually lose weight through diet, exercise, or even weight loss medication.

Can Amitriptyline cause weight gain?

One of the side effects of Amitriptyline is that it can have an effect on your appetite. Some people will find that it can make them feel more hungry, leading them to eat when they really don’t need to, which in turn can lead to weight gain. However, other people can have the opposite effect and may actually find that they have a decrease in their appetite.

Even though taking an antidepressant can lead to weight gain, the medication itself is not always the root cause. For example, depression itself can manifest itself in symptoms such as overeating and a reduction in physical activity, both of which can cause weight gain. On the other hand, some people may lose weight as a cause of depression, so finding a successful treatment (such as Amitriptyline) can result in positive effects, such as increased weight.

If you are concerned about gaining weight you should always try and follow a healthy balanced diet mixed in with regular exercise. This could help to remedy any potential weight gain. However, if you are obese and you have found that adapting your diet and increasing your exercise output hasn't helped, then you may be eligible to try weight loss medication such as Orlistat or Xenical.

What is Amitriptyline?

Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that was originally approved for use in the 1980s. It’s rarely prescribed for depression anymore though, as newer antidepressants such as SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) are less likely to cause side effects. There are many different side effects of Amitriptyline that can vary depending on when you take the drug, or what you are actually using the drug to treat. Instead, it’s now prescribed for a number of other uses such as neuropathic pain, ADHD, and a form of migraine prevention for regular sufferers.

What are the side effects of Amitriptyline?

As well as weight gain, Amitriptyline could cause several other side effects. Your doctor may advise you to split your doses throughout the day, to try and minimise the risk of experiencing these. 

One of the most common side effects of Amitriptyline is constipation. You can try and avoid this by eating a high-fibre diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as drinking plenty of water. If you find that you are still experiencing constipation then an over-the-counter laxative may help.

Amitriptyline is also known to make you feel sleepy or drowsy. For this reason, you should try and take your dose at night before you go to sleep, and avoid driving if you don’t feel alert. Also, avoid drinking alcohol while taking Amitriptyline, as this can make things worse.

Other common side effects include dry mouth, dizziness and difficulty urinating. If you are ever worried about the side effects of any medications that you are taking then you discuss this with your doctor.

How can you lose weight naturally?

Weight loss can be very tricky, especially for those who struggle with diet and exercise. Losing weight is imperative to overall health, with many serious medical conditions being in some part linked to obesity. Thankfully, you can lose weight at home, no matter how much you already weigh. The best way to lose weight naturally is by adapting your diet and implementing regular exercise into your routines. 

Some great foods to introduce into your diet that can help with weight management include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean, unprocessed meats, nuts, natural yoghurts, as well as some superfoods. Superfoods are foods that are particularly good for health and wellbeing. The list of superfoods includes:

  • Kale
  • Olive Oil
  • Oily Fish
  • Blueberries. 

You should always ensure that you are eating meals that tick the box of the different food groups. The food groups are starchy foods, proteins, fruits and vegetables, dairy, and fats. When you combine a balanced diet with regular exercise, you are well on your way to beginning to lose weight. You do not even need to be going to the gym five times a week to lose weight. You can simply just ensure that you are doing some form of exercise every day. This can be walking, running, or even something as simple as going up and down the stairs a few times, as long as you are burning more calories overall, compared to how many you are eating.

How can you lose weight using medication?

If you are concerned about any potential weight gain linked with Amitriptyline, and if you are struggling to lose weight by using tried and tested methods such as diet adaptation and regular exercise, you may be able to use medications in order to help lose weight. There are many different medications that you can use in order to help with weight loss. These include:

Orlistat helps to limit your body to how many calories are absorbed when you eat. This allows you to eat a regular amount of calories without putting on any extra weight.

Xenical, when used in conjunction with a calorie-reduced diet, can help the user to lose up to 50% of their body fat. Xenical blocks the body from absorbing fat when eating, and when combined with exercise can cause a calorie deficit.

Alli works in the same way as Xenical as it blocks fat from being absorbed after eating. This allows you to eat whatever you like without actually absorbing all of the fat from the food. When taken alongside regular exercise, this will lead to weight loss.

Saxenda is an injectable medicine that actively influences appetite and cravings. Saxenda contains Liraglutide, a natural substance that tricks the brain into thinking the body is full. This means you will find it easier to eat less, allowing you to properly limit your calorie intake.

Whilst it is recommended that you use natural methods of weight loss first, these medications can be great for people who find it more difficult. You should always receive a consultation before taking a different medication.