Can Appetite Suppressants Cause Depression? Everything You Need To Know

  • By: jacob foxx
  • Date: April 12, 2023
Can Appetite Suppressants Cause Depression?

The use of appetite suppressants has become increasingly popular in recent years as many individuals seek to achieve weight loss goals.

However, it is important to consider the potential side effects of these medications, particularly their impact on neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.

Studies have shown that appetite suppressants can interfere with these neurotransmitters, leading to a disruption in mood and potential depression in users.

As a result, individuals who are considering taking such medications should be aware of these risks and seek the guidance of a medical professional.

This article addresses the safety of combining anti-depressants with appetite suppressants, providing valuable information for those who may be using both types of medications concurrently.

Appetite Suppressants and Depression

Depression is a serious illness that affects millions of people worldwide. Over the years, there has been growing concern about the link between drugs and depressive illness, particularly with appetite suppressants.

According to a 2012 review, people who are predisposed to depression due to age or genetics are at a higher risk of developing drug-induced depression.

Clinical trials involving anorexiants such as phentermine, phenmetrazine, Louria, diethylpropion, and fenfluramine have revealed their potential for causing depression as a withdrawal symptom.

Withdrawal from drugs like Phenmetrazine and Louria, in particular, has caused severe depression and suicidal thoughts in some study participants. 

In a recent review article, the efficacy of appetite suppressants was explored. Two different pathways, the catecholamine and serotonin pathways, were discussed in detail.

However, it was noted in one study that 4.2% of patients prescribed diethylpropion experienced depression as a side effect.

Similarly, fenfluramine and phentermine have been known to cause symptoms of depression, with fenfluramine being the riskier of the two.

It is recommended to gradually reduce fenfluramine use to avoid severe depression when abruptly stopped.

For patients with a history of depression, catecholamine-mediated drugs are considered the preferred treatment for obesity management since they do not worsen the symptoms. 

Phentermine’s long-term effects on the brain?

Phentermine is a powerful psychostimulant and sympathomimetic amine that can cross the blood-brain barrier and alter neurotransmitters.

Despite its effectiveness as a weight-loss aid, concerns have been raised about its long-term effects on the brain.

Case reports have highlighted the potential for serious neurological consequences, such as stroke and psychosis. In a 2018 case report, a 63-year-old woman experienced a recurrent ischemic stroke while taking phentermine.

Numerous other cases of phentermine-induced psychosis have also been documented, leading some to speculate about the existence of “phentermine brain fog.”

Further research is needed to fully understand the impact of this drug on the brain.

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Medical professionals have observed a concerning pattern in patients taking phentermine; evidence suggests that the drug may induce psychosis.

In 2011, four case reports emerged documenting psychosis and mood symptoms in patients taking phentermine.

The first report documented relapses in symptoms of manic psychosis and depression, which resolved once the drug was discontinued.

The second case report detailed a woman who developed paranoid delusions within one week of starting phentermine, and while her symptoms ultimately led to a diagnosis of schizophrenia, they did abate after discontinuing the medication.

The third and fourth cases reported auditory hallucinations and delusions upon self-medicating with phentermine, and while symptoms began to subside after discontinuing use, both patients experienced residual depressive symptoms.

These cases raise important questions about the potential psychiatric side effects of phentermine and the need for further research in this area.

What effect does depression have on appetite?

Depression can manifest itself in a variety of ways, and one common symptom changes in appetite. While some individuals may feel an urge to eat, others may lose their appetite entirely.

Recently, neuroscientists have been investigating how depression affects the perception of food cues, and the results have been interesting.

In 2016, a study was conducted to compare the brain activity of those with depression to that of healthy individuals.

The study found that the brain regions that respond to food stimuli are differently active in those with depression.

Those with a greater appetite during depression had a greater response to food stimuli, whereas those with a decreased appetite had decreased activation in their brains’ food cue-perceiving regions.

This research shines new light on the complex relationship between depression and food behaviors and may help medical professionals develop more effective treatments in the future.

Homeostatic pathways, cortisol levels, genetics, metabolic variations, and inflammation are just a few of the many variables that affect the human body as a complex system.

These variables play a significant role in determining our response to food cues, especially during episodes of depression.

According to recent research, individuals with decreased appetite tend to have elevated cortisol levels, which may contribute to a reduced appetite.

Conversely, individuals who experience an increased appetite display immunometabolic dysregulation, including heightened inflammation and a positive correlation between insulin resistance and the brain’s response to food cues.

These findings suggest that addressing underlying metabolic differences may be essential to managing both appetite and depression.

Can appetite suppressants be combined with antidepressants?

The Cleveland Clinic warns against the use of anti-depressants with appetite suppressants, as this may lead to unwanted effects.

A recorded case reported the emergence of psychosis in a patient who took these two drug types. Symptoms like delusional thinking and self-injurious behavior were seen within just one week of consumption.

However, after discontinuing the drugs and taking lurasidone, the patient’s symptoms improved. These findings show how combining different types of medication can sometimes lead to severe consequences.

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Why does appetite decrease with depression?

Depression is a complex disorder that affects a person’s mental and physical health. One of the most prevalent symptoms of depression is a loss of appetite.

This decline in appetite is due to the way depression alters the brain’s response to food stimuli, leading to decreased responsiveness in certain regions.

Underlying changes in the endocrine, immunologic, and metabolic states may also have an impact on this neurological change.

Although the exact mechanisms that link depression and appetite are yet to be fully understood, the impact of depression on a person’s eating habits can have serious consequences for their overall health and recovery.


Appetite suppressants, while helpful in weight loss, can have some negative effects on the brain and central nervous system.

The risk of ischemic stroke, psychosis, and depression should not be ignored. It is important for those taking appetite-suppressant medications to monitoring their symptoms carefully, especially if they experience headaches, dizziness, delusions, or hallucinations.

Additionally, individuals should be sure to discuss any medications they are currently taking with their doctor to identify and avoid potential drug interactions that could exacerbate these side effects.

By being vigilant and proactive in their approach to appetite suppressants, individuals can safely achieve their weight loss goals without risking their health.

I'm Jacob Foxx, a proud native of the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois. I was enamored with the expansive Star Trek universe and its promise of cutting-edge technology and space travel from a young age. This early fascination with science fiction sparked my imagination and laid the foundation for my writing career. Alongside my love for the cosmos, I developed a passion for fitness in my formative years.

This dual interest in the world of tomorrow and the pursuit of physical health has greatly informed my writing, allowing me to explore themes of human potential and the future of our species. As an author, I strive to blend these passions into compelling narratives that inspire readers to dream and to push their own boundaries.

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