How antidepressants impact diabetes

Many people with diabetes experience diabetes distress, anxiety, or depression. In turn, depression is linked to chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, and more. However, research has shown that some antidepressants may improve blood sugar, while others cause it to spike.

Some antidepressants have been shown to raise blood sugar, including Cymbalta (duloxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Remeron (mirtazapine), Luvox (fluvoxamine) and Paxil (paroxetine). Those shown to lower blood sugar and improve overall glycemic control include Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram), Celexa (citalopram) and Savella (milnacipran).

Many antidepressants may also lead to weight gain as a side effect, while others offer weight loss in addition to reducing blood sugar, such as Rybelsus (semaglutide), Trulicity (dulaglutide) and other GLP-1 receptor agonists.

Furthermore, some research shows that antidepressants can increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and that glucose tolerance improves when patients stop taking antidepressants. However, newer studies suggest that the effect of antidepressants on new-onset diabetes is quite small, with a greater risk of it developing with long-term antidepressant use.

As well as medication, treatment for depression may involve therapy, and stress-relief techniques. Research also suggests that physical activity may also improve depression in people with diabetes.

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