10 Common Medications That May Cause Weight Gain

The risk of putting on extra pounds is something that most of these lists have in common. Even though the effect isn't dangerous per se, it might be disheartening to see your weight increasing as you work toward a goal. This is why it's important to be well-informed on what leads to weight gain and certain that you're immune to its effects. Alternatives could exist.

1. Tricyclic Antidepressants

Elavil (amitriptyline), Silenor (doxepin), and Nortriptyline (norepinephrine) are examples of such drugs (Pamelor). According to Harvard Women's Health Watch, if you're currently taking antidepressants, it's not a good idea to stop taking them without talking to your doctor about the best course of action for your mental health.

2. The Adrenal Corticosteroids

Dr Ellis says oral corticosteroids like prednisone effectively treat asthma, arthritis, back pain, and lupus. According to her, several problems arise from using these. "increased hunger is among them. Some of the other symptoms include an altered metabolism and fluid retention." If you're taking corticosteroids, Ellis says you should complement the medication with a balanced meal like almonds or a carton of yogurt. Due to potential negative side effects, doctors usually prescribe oral steroids for the shortest possible term (usually one or two weeks).

3. Antihistamines

If you suffer from allergies or have ever had an itchy rash, you have undoubtedly tried antihistamines. According to Ellis, those who frequently take certain antihistamines are more likely to be overweight. Why? Histamine, he claims, blocks hunger impulses in the brain. Instead, she hypothesizes that antihistamines may interfere with the body's normal satiety signals.

4. Treatments for Epilepsy

According to Nouhavandi, the appetite-stimulating effects of seizure medications such as gabapentin (Gralise), pregabalin (Lyrica), and vigabatrin (Sabril) might contribute to weight gain. Patients using these drugs should be advised that weight gain is a possible side effect. "If you don't like the medicine, discuss with your doctor switching to another epileptic drug that causes weight loss or has no effect on your weight," she advises. Consider lamotrigine, felbamate.

5. Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers are commonly used to treat hypertension. Some medications, including atenolol (Tenormin) and metoprolol (Lopressor), are associated with increased weight gain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Dr Emmel points out that the cause of weight gain is unknown but that beta-blockers can lead to weariness, particularly when first started. He cautions against using it because it can decrease one's heart rate and hence one's ability to exercise. If you experience fatigue or pain when exercising, you may be less inclined to continue your workout routine.

6. SSRIs

According to the Mayo Clinic, SSRIs are a class of antidepressants that work by increasing the brain's serotonin levels. Escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline are just a few (Zoloft). These may lead to weight gain due to their influence on hunger, and Emmel warns that treating mood problems with medication may have unintended consequences on how much you eat or how much exercise you get. See a doctor if you start putting on weight.


An MAOI, an abbreviation for monoamine oxidase inhibitor, is a medication used to treat depression. This medication works by inhibiting monoamine oxidase, an enzyme in the brain responsible for breaking down serotonin and dopamine.

These are two neurotransmitters that play an important role in the maintenance of a positive mood. In addition to this, it has the potential to be used as a treatment for headaches caused by migraines. According to Nouhavandi, the medicine belonging to this family is referred to as phenelzine (Nardil), which usually results in weight gain and has the potential to stimulate appetite.

8. Insulin

Insulin, a medication used to treat diabetes, has been associated with an increased appetite and weight gain. More specifically, the hormone enhances the body's capacity to absorb glucose through the blood. This effect can be thought of as an indirect effect. Mitchell Howard, PharmD, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy at the University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Ohio, contends that glucose is necessary for the metabolism of individual cells. However, if the cells in your body do not need the sugar you have just ingested, those sugars will be stored as fat if you continue consuming them. According to him, gaining weight is possible after eating a lot of food high in calories, particularly those high in sugar.

9. Sulfonylureas

Gliclazide, known by its brand name Diamicron, and glibenclamide are two instances of the class of medications known as sulfonylureas (Glynase). The beta cells of the pancreas are stimulated to produce more insulin as a response to administering these medicines. According to Howard, an increase in insulin in the blood "forces sugar into the cells." They end up causing weight gain in the same way as injectable insulin does, which is to say that they are ineffective.

10. Antipsychotics

These medications can be used to treat schizophrenia as well as bipolar illness successfully. Olanzapine, sold under the brand name Zyprexa, was the antipsychotic that, according to Howard, had the largest link with the weight increase. In addition, a study conducted and published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment in August 2017 found that these medications impair glucose function and cause an elevation in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which in turn increases the likelihood of patients developing metabolic syndrome.


These medications are frequently used to treat various medical conditions; however, they have been linked to side effects, including weight gain. Antipsychotic drugs are so named because they inhibit dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that has a role in the regulation of behavior and mood.

Suppose you suffer from any of these problems. In that case, you should consult your physician regarding the appropriate amount of food you should consume and the amount of physical activity you should engage in. You should contact a physician as soon as possible if you have any reason to believe something is wrong with your body or mind. If he has a reason to think you have put on weight, he will recommend medication (or some other form of treatment) to assist in managing your illness.

Updated on: 01-Feb-2023


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