Weight gain is a common problem during antidepressant treatment, an important factor contributing to noncompliance, and a key issue influencing obesity-related illnesses. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) seem to differ in terms of their effects on body weight, but the available literature on this topic is sparse, contradictory and lacking of data about new generation SSRIs.
This work evaluated clinical improvement and weight changes during the first three months of escitalopram treatment in 34 outpatients affected with depression and comorbid anxiety, assessed in a naturalistic follow-up. Outcome measures were weight change and clinical improvement assessed
After the first three months of therapy, there was a slight decrease in average body weight compared to baseline. However, the weight loss at three months did not reach statistical significance. Response to treatment was demonstrated by a statistically significant reduction in CGI score.
Both the small sample size and short follow-up times limit our results. Other variables such as depressive severity, atypical features and premorbid weight should be taken into account during further follow-up.
Our preliminary data suggest that escitalopram may not be involved in weight gain, and confirm the efficacy of escitalopram treatment for depression with comorbid anxiety.