Efficacies of dexfenfluramine and fluoxetine in preventing weight gain after smoking cessation

B. Spring*, J. Wurtman, R. Wurtman, A. El-Khoury, H. Goldberg, J. McDermott, R. Pingitore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We tested whether 14 wk of dexfenfluramine (30 mg) or fluoxetine (40 mg) treatment would prevent weight gain after subjects quit smoking. Normal- weight women (n = 144) were randomly assigned to drug or placebo on a double- blind basis for 2 wk before quitting smoking and 12 wk thereafter. The fluoxetine group had more dropouts (28/49, 57.1%) than the dexfenfluramine group (17/47, 36.2%), with an intermediate number of dropouts from the placebo group (21/48, 43.8%). All groups gained weight during treatment, but their amount and pattern of weight gain differed. In the first month after quitting smoking, the placebo group gained more weight than either the dexfenfluramine or fluoxetine group (P < 0.05). By 2 mo postcessation, dexfenfluramine still suppressed weight gain in comparison with placebo (P < 0.05); weight gain with fluoxetine was not differentiable from either dexfenfluramine or placebo. By 3 mo postcessation, the dexfenfluramine group had gained 1.0 ± 0.7 kg, significantly less than either the placebo (3.5 ± 0.7 kg) or fluoxetine (2.7 ± 0.5 kg) groups. Three months after drug discontinuation, formerly medicated, but not placebo patients, showed additional weight gain, eliminating differences between groups. Results indicate that weight gain, an adverse accompaniment of smoking cessation, can be minimized to some degree by serotoninergic drugs, although only for the duration of drug treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1181-1187
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1995


  • Obesity
  • cigarette smoking
  • dexfenfluramine
  • fluoxetine
  • serotonin
  • weight maintenance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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