Does fluoxetine cause sugar cravings? (+5 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether sugar cravings are caused by fluoxetine. We will also discuss the factors that may increase the risk of fluoxetine-induced sugar craving and the management tips for it.

Does fluoxetine cause sugar cravings?

Fluoxetine does not cause sugar cravings in individuals. However, some individuals who take fluoxetine or other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may experience reduced sugar cravings and changes in their appetite and weight.

Fluoxetine is an antidepressant medication that works by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. The increased levels of serotonin are associated with the elevation of mood in depressed individuals. Fluoxetine is commonly indicated in the treatment of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression (1).

How does fluoxetine affect sugar cravings?

Fluoxetine’s primary mechanism of action is to modulate serotonin levels in the brain, the elevated serotonin contributes to a positive mood, appetite control, stress reduction, and balanced blood sugar levels, collectively diminishing the desire for sugary foods (7). However, individual responses may vary due to factors like genetics and lifestyle.

Although there is not much research on the sugar cravings caused by the use of fluoxetine, it has been observed that individuals taking fluoxetine may experience reduced blood glucose levels due to high levels of serotonin in the brain, which can indirectly affect sugar cravings by improving mood and helping to regulate appetite. (1).

What does research suggest?

A research study explored the interaction between environmental enrichment (EE) exposure and acute fluoxetine administration in inhibiting sucrose-seeking behaviors. The results indicated that both EE exposure and fluoxetine administration alone inhibited sugar cravings in the individuals (5).

Another study showed that fluoxetine was associated with a decrease in overall sugar intake. The effects were not significantly modulated by the macronutrient composition of the available diet, indicating a more generalized impact on food intake rather than a specific influence on carbohydrate consumption (6). 

Additionally, a research study reported that fluoxetine can impact blood sugar levels in certain conditions. In a clinical trial involving patients with major depression, it was observed that after a few weeks of treatment with fluoxetine, there was a decrease in fasting blood sugar mean values. This indicates a potential positive effect on blood glucose levels in individuals with depression (4).

Collectively, these studies highlight the potential of fluoxetine to influence blood sugar levels and reduce sugar cravings in certain conditions. However, individual responses may vary, and it is essential to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized treatment decisions.

What factors can contribute to sugar cravings while taking fluoxetine? 

Fluoxetine does not generally induce sugar cravings, however, sugar cravings can occur in individuals taking fluoxetine due to the presence of several factors, and it’s essential to consider these potential contributors.

Sugar cravings can be influenced by various factors, including psychological, emotional, and environmental elements. Changes in mood or stress levels, which are not directly related to fluoxetine, can impact cravings for sugary foods.

Your pre-existing diet and lifestyle choices can contribute to sugar cravings. If you had a high-sugar diet before starting fluoxetine, it might cause sugar cravings while taking this medication. Additionally, Psychological factors, such as a history of eating disorders or emotional eating, can also induce changes in appetite and cravings.

Concurrent use of other medications, underlying medical conditions, or lifestyle factors may contribute to increased sugar cravings. It’s essential to consider the overall health and medication profile of an individual.

How to manage sugar cravings while taking fluoxetine? 

Fluoxetine generally does not cause sugar cravings, however, some underlying factors may increase your sugar cravings while taking fluoxetine, so it’s important to address them healthily. Here are some steps you can take:

  • If you notice significant changes in your eating habits or cravings while taking fluoxetine, it’s essential to discuss this with your healthcare provider. They can evaluate whether the medication is the cause and may adjust your treatment plan accordingly.


  • Try to stick to a well-balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from different food groups, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. This can help reduce the impact of sugar cravings.


  • Physical activity can help regulate your appetite and improve your overall well-being. It may also reduce sugar cravings for some individuals.


  • If you have diabetes or are at risk for it, monitor your blood sugar levels as fluctuations in sugar intake can impact your condition. Make sure to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for managing your condition.


  • Stress can sometimes trigger sugar cravings. Engaging in stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can be helpful.


Remember that medication side effects can vary from person to person. By communicating with your healthcare provider and making healthy lifestyle choices, you can better manage any side effects, including sugar cravings, that may be associated with fluoxetine or other medications.

What are alternatives to fluoxetine if it triggers sugar cravings?

If fluoxetine is triggering your sugar cravings and these cravings are affecting your quality of life, you should discuss your concern with your healthcare provider. They may prescribe you an alternative to fluoxetine which is less likely to trigger your sugar cravings. Some of these medications may include (9):

  • imipramine
  • bupropion
  • fluvoxamine
  • clonazepam
  • amitriptyline

However, the best choice of treatment for your individual condition can be made by your healthcare provider. You should never switch to another medication if fluoxetine is causing side effects, without the recommendation of your doctor. 


In conclusion, based on my knowledge and experience, sugar cravings are not associated with fluoxetine and the exact mechanism of fluoxetine on an individual’s sugar cravings can vary from person to person. It’s crucial for individuals taking fluoxetine to discuss any changes in appetite or eating habits with their healthcare provider, as it may be a part of their treatment plan.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Sohel AJ, Shutter MC, Molla M. Fluoxetine. 2022 Jul 4. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 29083803.


Yang H, Cao Q, Xiong X, Zhao P, Shen D, Zhang Y, Zhang N. Fluoxetine regulates glucose and lipid metabolism via the PI3K‑AKT signaling pathway in diabetic rats. Mol Med Rep. 2020 Oct;22(4):3073-3080. doi: 10.3892/mmr.2020.11416. Epub 2020 Aug 4. PMID: 32945450; PMCID: PMC7453494.


Salehi, Bahman & Sanjani, Farhad. (2009). Comparison of the effect of Fluoxetine and Imipramine on fasting blood sugar of patients with major depressive disorders, four and eight weeks after treatment. Scientific Journal of Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences. 14.


Pintori, Nicholas & Piva, Alessandro & Guardiani, V. & Marzo, Claudio & Decimo, Ilaria & Chiamulera, C.. (2022). The interaction between Environmental Enrichment and fluoxetine in inhibiting sucrose-seeking renewal in mice depend on social living condition. Psychopharmacology. 239. 10.1007/s00213-022-06124-6.


Foltin RW, Haney M, Comer SD, Fischman MW. Effect of fluoxetine on food intake of humans living in a residential laboratory. Appetite. 1996 Oct;27(2):165-81. doi: 10.1006/appe.1996.0043. PMID: 8937620.


Lam DD, Garfield AS, Marston OJ, Shaw J, Heisler LK. Brain serotonin system in the coordination of food intake and body weight. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Nov;97(1):84-91. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2010.09.003. Epub 2010 Sep 17. PMID: 20837046.


Bouwer CD, Harvey BH. Phasic craving for carbohydrate observed with citalopram. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 1996 Dec;11(4):273-8. doi: 10.1097/00004850-199612000-00009. PMID: 9031994.


Fernstrom MH. Depression, antidepressants, and body weight change. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1989;575:31-9; discussion 39-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1989.tb53229.x. PMID: 2699195.

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site