Can you lose weight while taking amitriptyline?

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Can you lose weight while on Amitriptyline

Have you ever tried losing weight while you are undergoing treatment? You can easily lose weight without much effort while taking some drugs, but when you are on Amitriptyline, you may be surprised at how much weight you can easily gain while on this drug.

But what is Amitriptyline? What kind of effect does it have on your body weight?

Can you really lose weight while you are on this drug? Well, to answer these questions, let us go back to the drawing board and understand what this drug is all about, and its effects on body weight.

What is Amitriptyline?

According to Mental Health Daily Website, Amitriptyline is also known as Elavil; it is the most popular tricyclic antidepressant on the market.

This TCA drug is used for the treatment of depression and other conditions like anxiety and migraine headaches.

How does Amitriptyline work?

According to Healthline website, The drug works by inhibiting serotonin transporter re-uptake, which increases the neurotransmitter extra-cellular levels.

According to, Even though serotonin produces its antidepressant effect, neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine are also affected to a minor extent.

According to WebMD, TCA’s are not commonly prescribed drugs for depression, but some people prefer taking them to SSRIs or other alternative antidepressants.

In most cases, when a person is not responding to new drugs, a psychiatrist can prescribe a TCA drug like Amitriptyline.

Although it is the preferred antidepressants by many, it also has its own side effects just like the other drugs. One of the most common effects is gaining weight.

Weight gain and Amitriptyline

Studies have recorded that approximately 50 % of patients who stopped taking TCA discontinued because of the weight gain they experienced. This has made the drug to be used only for a short time until gaining weight was too much.

The weight gain effect draws more concern because it can easily lead to depression in some people who are concerned about their body image.

How does Amitriptyline cause weight gain?

Amitriptyline has been discovered to alter the levels of hormones in our body, leading to cravings and increasing appetite. Let’s look at some reasons as to why you might gain weight while taking this drug.

Increase in appetite: Anorexia patients who use this drug gain a boost in their appetite. The drug can make you feel hungrier than usual.

Fat storage: this drug changes hormone levels and the metabolic functions. This makes it easy for some people to store more fat than others.

Carbs cravings: carbs and sweet cravings are heightened by Amitriptyline. Carbs cause weight gain when they are eaten in excess.

Taste perception: some people claim to have a blunt taste when they start taking this drug, the taste improves, and it leads to eating large proportions of food which can easily lead to weight gain.

amitriptyline and weight gain

Social eating: If the drug is working will to counter depression, there is a high chance that you may become social.

Once you indulge in social activities, they always lead to more eating which will be reflected in the amount of weight you add.

Slow metabolism: Amitriptyline drugs once they alter your hormonal levels, you begin to feel sedated, and it contributes to slow metabolism.

There are those who speculate that the induced changes the drug have resulted in a slow metabolism.

Hormonal levels: According to HuffingtonPost, changes in hormones, especially leptin can cause weight gain. Leptin is used in the regulation of hunger and appetite. When leptin levels increase, you will feel hungrier and eat more.

In case you still stuck to the same diet and your exercise program while you were still on treatment, and you still gain weight then your metabolism could be slow.

Reduction in depression: people who are depressed often lose weight because they cut down on meals.

Once the drugs kick in and resolve the depressive state, the person can gain weight easily.

Understand that even though this list shows causes of weight gain, they affect each person differently.

An individual can start to eat out with family and friends more often because of the drug effects, while another person might become lethargic and tired.

To get more details on the impact Amitriptyline has on different people, check out the video below.

Ensure that you first consult your doctor, before making any changes to your daily living.

It is important to note that the path to adding extra weight while on the drug is subject to the variation of the effect it has on different people. So, is it possible to lose weight while on this drug? Let’s find out.

also, you can read:

Amitriptyline as a Treatment Choice for Fibromyalgia: A Help or Hindrance?

Treating Migraines with Amitriptyline

How Long Does It Take for Amitriptyline to Work for Nerve Pain?

Amitriptyline Pain Relief and Side Effects

How to lose weight while on Amitriptyline

Below are a few steps that you can use to lose weight while you are still on the drugs. Follow instructions based on your doctor’s recommendations and avoid altering the dosage to lose weight.

Step 1

Enroll in a gym for a three-day session per week for lifting weights to burn calories, increase lean mass, catalyze weight loss and boost metabolism.

On your workout regimen, work for opposite muscles groups on the same workout session. For instance, arms and abs, back and chest or legs and butt.

Also, include compound exercises that affect several muscle groups at a time. Like tri-cep dips, lunges, pull ups and push ups. Set a minimum time of three sets that have 15 repetitions.

Step 2

Reduce your intake of calories to facilitate weight loss. Create a food journal or use an online management tool to monitor your calories. Monitor your calories for five days to find out the average amount you consume.

Step 3

Shed more pounds by cutting down on sodium intake that retains more water in your body. Use herbs, vegetables, and spices as you avoid salt. Avoid frozen dinners and boxed meals that have high sodium.

Step 4

Have a planned eating habit that is full of foods that are in the natural form. For instance, lean steak, vegetables, chicken, pasta, bread, fish and low-fat dairy products.

Avoid foods that have high levels of refined sugar like cakes, fried foods, and cookies.


Amitriptyline is a drug that affects body weight. Even though we have seen how to lose weight while still on the drug, you need to seek the counsel of your doctor to find a way to make it work; because our bodies react differently to certain programs, especially when a drug is in question.

It can be hard losing weight with Amitriptyline, but it can be done on a strict program.