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Clinically significant weight gain is five times more prevalent with Paxil (paroxetine HCl), than with Celexa (citalopram HBr), according to a study presented at the recent American College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In the 28-week, randomized, double-blind, parallel group study, citalopram and paroxetine produced similar significant improvements on measures of anxiety and depression in 104 participants between the ages of 18 and 65. However, clinically significant weight gain occurred among 21.6% of paroxetine-treated patients compared to 3.9% of citalopram-treated patients. Researchers defined clinically significant weight gain as greater than or equal to a 7% increase in body weight.
"Weight gain is an extremely important factor in evaluating SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)," says James W. Jefferson, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison. "A weight gain of 7% or more is considerable for a patient who is suffering from depression and anxiety. This physical change may lead a patient to make a unilateral decision to end treatment."