What Drugs Make You Gain Weight?

The weight of a person’s body is influenced by many factors, the main of which is what he eats. The second place is taken by the level of his physical activity. The third place is genes (the thing that no one can influence). However, there is one more factor that can unexpectedly change the number on the scales in an unexpected way – medicines. What drugs can add extra pounds and how can you help yourself not to get fat if the treatment is inevitable? Let’s find it out!

Why do some drugs cause weight gain?

Weight gain as a result of taking various medicines is possible for the following main reasons:

The medicine was prescribed by the doctor specifically for gaining additional pounds (various hormonal preparations, protein complexes, etc.).

Weight gain is the result of improvement in the patient’s condition. For example, the patient suffered from thyrotoxicosis or gastric ulcer, in which the weight is always reduced due to the course of the disease. After taking some drugs that do not cause weight gain by themselves, the condition stabilized and the figure returned to normal.

The drug is taken to treat the underlying disease, and weight gain is a side effect. In the first and second cases, an increase in body weight is a joyous event for the patient, because he pursued precisely this goal while taking medication. But the latter case is not so positively perceived by people, because they often take these drugs for health reasons, that is, for the treatment of serious diseases. As a result, after a few weeks or months of therapy, they see a completely different face and figure in the mirror, and this reflection plunges them into depression. Therefore, we will review these drugs in more detail.

Top 6 medicines that may cause weight gain

What Drugs Make You Gain Weight_

6 place. Treatment of arterial hypertension: beta-blockers

This group of drugs includes bisoprolol, atenolol, metoprolol, nebivolol, and others. They are prescribed for continuous use in case of arterial hypertension, angina pectoris, after myocardial infarction, with a heart rhythm disorder or a tendency to palpitations. In each case, the doctor selects a specific drug, dose, and frequency of administration individually. They cannot be attributed to the classical drugs that contribute to an active set of body weight. However, in addition to their main action on the work of the heart and blood vessels, they affect the metabolism: carbohydrate and lipid. People taking beta-blockers may develop a tendency to lower blood sugar levels, a symptom of which is a feeling of constant light hunger. If you adhere to the principles of healthy eating, it is not critical and will not affect the figure. However, if you constantly seize this hunger with easily digestible carbohydrates (which is most often the case), then in a few months you can see a completely unfamiliar person in the mirror.

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5 place. Antihistamines

We would like to make it quite clear that a single episode of taking the drug for allergies is absolutely not dangerous for the figure. And even a short course of treatment in case of exacerbation of an allergic disease will not cause a mass gain. We are talking about people who have been forced to take antihistamine medicines for years since their deterioration is due to the influence of various external and internal factors. For example, a person lives in a house where there is some kind of allergen that he is not physically able to eliminate (a neighboring cat or painted entrance doors). However, not all antihistamines can cause weight gain, but only non-selective representatives of the first generation (chloropyramine, clemastine, diphenhydramine). They often cause drowsiness, apathy and a decrease in physical activity and, as a result, cause extra pounds. If it happens that you need antihistamines all the time, you’d better give preference to modern selective means (loratadine, desloratadine), which are deprived of such a side effect.

4 place. Combined oral contraceptives

This is a “headache” of all girls and women who decide to choose oral contraceptives as a method of protection against unwanted pregnancy. On the Internet, you can find a lot of reviews about how the weight of certain women increased by several kilos (or even a few dozen) in the very first months. From a scientific point of view, these results cannot be called reliable, because the influence on the lifestyle of these women is not taken into account. In fact, the effect of various oral contraceptives on body weight is unequal and depends on the content of estrogen in them: the higher this indicator, the more pronounced this side effect. However, you should know: estrogens do not increase the amount of adipose tissue, but only contribute to additional fluid retention. Therefore, modern microdose oral contraceptives containing the minimum amount of estrogen (Yaz, Yasmin, Levora, Ortho-Novum, Alesse, Mircette, etc.) have practically no effect on body weight. But high-dose oral contraceptives (Norinyl, Enpresse, Kelnor, Aranelle, Levonest, Trivora) can cause extra pounds. If a woman is worried about fluid retention while taking birth control pills, then she should discuss this issue with her gynecologist. She also needs to reduce the amount of salt and spices in food.

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3 place. Medications for type 2 diabetes

If a patient is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and a strict diet does not lead to the normalization of the sugar level, the endocrinologist will prescribe special medicines. However, there are quite a few groups of these drugs, and the number of trade names is several hundred. The doctor selects the drug individually for each patient, taking into account all the features of the disease. Sulfonylurea drugs (glibenclamide, gliclazide, glimepiride) can cause weight gain quickly. They artificially stimulate an increase in pancreatic activity in insulin production. They are characterized by a fairly quick and pronounced effect, but sometimes they lead to a sharp decrease in blood sugar levels. As a result, people who constantly take these drugs “check the refrigerator” more often than others. As a result, they gain from 5 to 10 extra pounds for the first year of treatment. If the problem of overweight is very troubling to such a person, he can discuss with his doctor switching to tablets from another group: biguanides, insulin sensitizers, etc. Some of them (for example, metformin), on the contrary, promote fast weight loss.

2 place. Antidepressants

These are drugs that are prescribed to treat a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, mood and sleep disorders. Antidepressants include groups of drugs that have a particularly strong effect on weight – tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, imipramine) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (iproniazide, pargyline, etc.). The reason is that a depressed person usually has a decrease in appetite and, as a result, weight loss. Representatives of these classes of drugs, in addition to the main action, stimulate the center of hunger, therefore an increase in body weight against the background of treatment by them is almost inevitable. Of course, dietary recommendations are always relevant, but in the case of taking these antidepressants, appetite becomes unmanageable. If the rapid weight gain scares the patient who needs to take these drugs, then he can pay attention to an alternative option – a new modern drugs from the group of selective serotonin/noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors.

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1 place. Corticosteroids

A person needs to have a good reason for the constant intake of these drugs. Diseases that force doctors to prescribe a patient a daily intake of prednisone, dexamethasone or methypredum are usually quite serious — autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, vasculitis), blood diseases, neoplasms, severe allergic diseases (bronchial asthma, allergies, etc.). Corticosteroids have many side effects: they affect the metabolism, cause fluid retention, increase appetite. Regular intake of such drugs will certainly affect the figure. This forms a characteristic type of obesity: excess fat is deposited on the chest, abdomen, face, neck, while the limbs and buttocks remain slim. The severity of these symptoms is directly dependent on the dose of hormones: the greater the dosage, the faster the weight increases. The effect of hormones on metabolism may cause steroid diabetes mellitus, which further enhances the rate of increase in excess weight. Obesity on the background of continuous use of corticosteroids is a serious problem, which requires careful attention. It is difficult for the patient to influence this process, but it is possible: a strict diet with restriction of easily digestible carbohydrates and animal fats will help to keep the body in a decent shape despite all the difficulties.

If you are predisposed to excess weight, ask your doctor if you can replace the drug with another one, which is similar in action but does add extra pounds.

If you need to take exactly the drug that can trigger weight gain, buy a gym subscription in advance and be sure to exclude flour and sweets from the menu.

Category: Healthcare

Tags: drugs, health problems, medication, weight


My Canadian Pharmacy by stmaryschildcenter.org is a health & wellness news information site that is hand-edited by a board-certified physician with a special interest in the topics of nutrition, exercise, CAM, preventive medicine, and mental health.