Oral Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting

Invited talk: Is the increased exposure to antidepressants a key contributor to the obesity pandemic? (#9)

Julio Licinio 1 2 , Ma-Li Wong 1 2
  1. Department of Psychiatry, Flinders University, Adelaide
  2. South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, Australia

Major depressive disorder (MDD) and obesity are both common heterogeneous disorders with complex aetiology, with a major impact on public health. Antidepressant prescribing has risen nearly 400% since 1988. In parallel, adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980, from 15 to 30 percent, while childhood obesity rates have more than tripled. Are these two facts related? Despite the concomitant rise of antidepressant use and of the obesity rates in Western societies, the association between the two, as well as the mechanisms underlying antidepressant-induced weight gain, remain under explored. Our recently developed animal paradigm shows that the combination of stress and antidepressants followed by long-term high-fat diet results, long after discontinuation of antidepressant treatment, in markedly increased weight, in excess of what is caused by high-fat diet alone. On the basis of existing epidemiological, clinical and preclinical data, we have generated the testable hypothesis that escalating use of antidepressants, resulting in high rates of antidepressant exposure, might be a major contributory factor to the obesity epidemic, particularly in Western countries.