Antidepressant use and body mass index change in overweight adolescents: A historical cohort study

Richard G. Cockerill, Bridget K. Biggs, Tyler S. Oesterle, Paul E. Croarkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Given the limited empirical data on antidepressant use and weight change in children, we performed a historical cohort study to assess change in age- and sexstandardized body mass index associated with antidepressant use among overweight adolescents diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Methods: We systematically reviewed electronic medical records from a tertiary academic medical center and identified adolescents (age 13–18 years) who were overweight (body mass index >85th percentile) and had a depression diagnosis. Patients were seen from January 1, 2000, through January 1, 2010. Age- and sex-standardized body mass index scores were calculated at initiation of antidepressant medication and at the end of treatment. Unmedicated patients had baseline and final ageand sex-standardized body mass index calculated using the first and last recorded measurements in the study period (maximum time between measures was 5 years). Results: In total, 435 patients (301 female) met our inclusion criteria; of these, 255 were prescribed an antidepressant (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, tricyclic antidepressant, or dopaminenorepinephrine reuptake inhibitor). Age- and sex-standardized body mass index significantly increased (F1,193=14.34; P<0.001) only for adolescents treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. For patients receiving other medications or no medication, age- and sexstandardized body mass index did not change significantly. Conclusion: This study provides initial empiric evidence for a link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor use and weight gain in already overweight adolescents. Further study of antidepressant use and weight gain in other pediatric populations and in prospective studies is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalInnovations in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Adolescent
  • Antidepressant
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • SSRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Antidepressant use and body mass index change in overweight adolescents: A historical cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this