What Do Your Meds Do to Your Weight?

If weight management isn’t enough of a struggle, those who need to take  prescription medications are discovering that they can cause weight gain.

People who are trying to lose weight and are taking meds to treat a condition may find it extremely challenging to make progress.

One notorious medication for weight gain is Deltasone (prednisone). Prednisone affects weight gain by increasing fluid retention. It’s a nuisance and it makes a patient looks big and puffy, but at least it’s temporary. It’s not body fat, but patients taking this med are prone to increased body fat too.

Prednisone affects appetites. People who use stronger doses long-term to manage chronic conditions such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease find themselves much hungrier.

The problem with oral corticosteroids, such as prednisone, is they’re more potent than inhaled forms. The risk of weight gain is much greater when using them. This is especially the case when they are used long-term. Extra care needs to be taken by patients to avoid weight gain and weight loss becomes far more complicated.???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


Here are 12 more drugs associated with weight gain.

  • Paxil – antidepressant
  • Depakote (valproic acid) – treats bipolar disorder and seizures, and prevent migraines.
  • Prozac (fluoxetine) – antidepressant
  • Remeron (mirtazapine) – antidepressant
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine) – used for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
  • Thorazine (chiorprpmazine) – anti psychotic
  • Elavil, Endep, Vanatrip (amitriptyline) – antidepressants
  • Allegra (fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine) – antihistamine
  • Diabinese, Insulase (chlorpropamide) – type 2 diabetes
  • Insulin – diabetes
  • Tenormin (atenolol) – blood pressure
  • Birth Control – contraceptives

Although these meds have been associated with weight gain, not all patients taking them will gain weight. Some people will have the opposite result, especially with the antidepressants.

If you are on any of the above meds, or any other meds, and experiencing weight gain here are some suggestions to help manage weight.

START BY talking to your physician and under no circumstance should you stop taking your medication without consulting your physician!

How to Manage or Lose Weight on Meds

  • Pay attention to sodium. Limit sodium to around 2000 mg a day.
  • Eat foods high in potassium including: apricots, baked potatoes, bananas, cantaloupe melon, honeydew melon, dates, prunes, grapefruit, oranges, raisins, cooked spinach, stewed tomatoes, winter squash, and yogurt.
  • Try eating smaller nutrient-dense meals more frequently. 6 meals daily rather than the 3 standard meals.
  • Avoid food – especially snack foods – processed with added salt, sugar and fat. Snack on fruit and vegetables.
  • Follow a diet that’s slightly higher in protein and lower in carbs.
  • Focus on complex carbs – whole grains such as wheat germ, brown rice, barley, oats, and quinoa).
  • Manage hunger levels as much as possible. Try to avoid extremes – too hungry or overfull.
  • Move often, try to stand more than sit.
  • Make getting quality sleep (at least 7 hours a night) a priority.
  • Get regular physical activity that includes aerobic activity, resistance or muscle toning/building activity, and stretching.
  • Join a weight loss support group such as Weight Watchers to provide accountability, support and motivation from people who understand the challenges.



Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.