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Fat: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You.

So often diet and lack of exercise are faulted for the obesity epidemic in American. However, there is at least one other culprit that we can blame – psychotropic medications.


Psychiatric medications can cause substantial weight gain. These include antidepressants (such as amitriptyline, doxepin, and imipramine), mood stabilizers (including lithium and valproate) and antipsychotics (including clozapine, olanzapine, and chlorpromazine). The New York Times published an article based on internal documents from Eli Lilly. The company’s data showed that 1/3 of patients who took Zyprexa for a year gained at least 22 pounds, and half of these gained at least 66 pounds.

Prescriptions for Zyprexa in the US exceeds several million. It is estimated that over 50 million Americans – 1 in 6 of the population- currently take at least one psychotropic drug. Just in the last 10 years, there has been a five-fold increase in prescriptions of antipsychotic drugs for teenagers. Based on these figures psychiatric medication may very well be third on the list of causes of obesity in America.

Now if you have exhausted all alternative therapies for depression like homeopathy and specific nutritional supplements and have to use antidepressants there are some less likely to cause weight gain. They are Wellbutrin, Effexor, and Cymbalta.

Terry Pfau, DO, HMD

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