Weight Changes in Postpartum Women With Remitted Depression

Barbara L. Gracious, MD; Barbara H. Hanusa, PhD; Katherine L. Wisner, MD; Kathleen S. Peindl, PhD; and James M. Perel, PhD

Published: March 15, 2005

Article Abstract

Objective: To compare weight loss after birth in women who took the antidepressants nortriptyline or sertraline or placebo in 2 clinical studies designed to prevent recurrent postpartum major depression.

Method: Data were collected from 1995 to 2001. All subjects had at least 1 prior episode of Research Diagnostic Criteria- or DSM-IV-defined major depressive disorder. Data on weight were available for 467 weeks from 60 women who were weighed 8 times from 2 to 17 weeks postpartum. The dependent measures were weight at weeks 11 and 17 and weight change from weeks 2 to 17 postpartum.

Results: At week 17, the women’s weights ranged from 109 to 268 lb. Their weight change ranged from +14 to -19 lb over the 15-week postpartum period (mean = -1.8, SD = 5.1 lb). After controlling for week 2 weights, the mean weights at week 17 for the women treated with nortriptyline, sertraline, or placebo were not significantly different. Of 60 women with 3 or more weight assessments, those who were randomly assigned to nortriptyline lost weight more rapidly than the other 2 groups; however, the mean weight change across all groups was only -1.8 lb (SD = 5.1 lb).

Conclusions: Weight loss was not compromised by antidepressant pharmacotherapy. Postpartum weight retention occurred in this group of nondepressed women with previous histories of major depression independent of drug treatment.

Volume: 66

Quick Links: Side Effects-Medication , Weight

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