Effect on body weight of bupropion sustained-release in patients with major depression treated for 52 weeks

Clin Ther. 2002 Apr;24(4):662-72. doi: 10.1016/s0149-2918(02)85141-4.


Background: Short-term studies have demonstrated a modest weight-reducing to weight-neutral effect among patients receiving bupropion sustained-release (SR) for the treatment of depression.

Objective: This study was conducted to evaluate the long-term effects of bupropion SR on body weight in patients with depression.

Methods: This analysis was conducted within a long-term relapse-prevention study in patients with major depression. Those whose depression had responded to open-label treatment with bupropion SR were randomized to 44 weeks of double-blind treatment with bupropion SR 300 mg/d or placebo. Patients were categorized by body mass index (BMI) as follows: BMI < 22, BMI 22 to 26, BMI > or = 27, and BMI > or = 30.

Results: Four hundred twenty-three patients were enrolled in the double-blind phase of the study, 210 receiving bupropion SR and 213 receiving placebo. At the end of the open-label phase, the following mean weight losses were seen in the 4 BMI groups: BMI < 22, 0.5 kg; BMI 22 to 26, 1.1 kg; and BMI > or = 27 and BMI > or = 30, 1.8 kg each. At the end of double-blind treatment, mean change-from-baseline weights were as follows: BMI < 22, -0.1 kg; BMI 22 to 26, -0.6 kg; BMI > or = 27, -1.4 kg; and BMI > or = 30, -2.4 kg. The rate of change in body weight during the double-blind phase was statistically significant compared with baseline BMI (P < 0.001, analysis of covariance).

Conclusions: Modest mean weight losses that increased with increasing baseline body weight were observed with long-term bupropion SR treatment. The findings of this analysis suggest that bupropion SR may be an appropriate therapeutic option in normal-weight or overweight patients with depression who are concerned about weight gain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / adverse effects*
  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation / therapeutic use
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bupropion / administration & dosage
  • Bupropion / adverse effects*
  • Bupropion / therapeutic use
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Depressive Disorder / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Weight Gain / drug effects*


  • Antidepressive Agents, Second-Generation
  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Bupropion