Top 10 Drugs that Can Cause Weight Gain as Side Effect
gain is a serious side effect of
many commonly used drugs leading to noncompliance with therapy and to
exacerbation of co-morbid conditions related to obesity.
Many of the drugs used to treat obesity-linked conditions such as diabetes, high
and depression can
themselves cause weight gain. How? Some medications can increase appetite,
cause fluid retention, or slowly lead to weight gain over a period of time due
to fatigue and
If a rapid weight gain occurs in a short period of time, a physician should be
ed for evaluation, especially if the patient is at risk for heart disease
or high blood pressure
Insulin: Improved glycemic control achieved by insulin, insulin
secretagogues or thiazolidinedione therapy is generally accompanied by weight
gain. It is a problematic side effect of therapy due to the known deleterious
effect of weight gain on glucose control, increased blood pressure and worsening
atypical antipsychotic drugs (clozapine, olanzepine, risperidone and quetiapine)
are known to cause marked weight gain.
These drugs, used for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have potent
antihistamine activity and inhibit serotonin, which may trigger weight gain.
Antidepressant: Remeron is an
antidepressant that enhances serotonin and norepinephrine, which are linked to weight
loss. Yet the antihistamine
activity of this drug may tip the scales toward weight gain.
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs):
Although Prozac, an SSRI, is generally associated with weight loss, it can have
the opposite effect in the long term. A 60-week study found that, although
patients on Prozac shed more than the placebo group (up to 11 pounds in the
first six months), they started to regain the weight about halfway through the
Mood Stabilizers: used
to treat bipolar disorder include lithium (Lithobid), valproic acid (Depakene),
divalproex sodium (Depakote), carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, others) and
lamotrigine (Lamictal). All of these medications are known to increase the risk
of weight gain except lamotrigine.
Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs): They promote
weight gain include valproate, carbamazepine and gabapentin. Lamotrigine is an
AED that is weight-neutral, while topiramate and zonisamide may induce weight
loss. A 2007 study of epilepsy patients found that 44 percent of women and 24
percent of men gained 11 pounds or more while taking Depakote for about a year.
The drug affects proteins involved in appetite and metabolism, although it's not
clear why it appears to affect women more than men.
antidepressants (TCAs), such as amitriptyline, are linked to weight gain more
than other antidepressants or migraine meds.
TCAs affect neurotransmitters involved in energy and appetite, such as
serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine, their antihistamine activity is the
reason for weight changes.
These drugs are given less often for depression because an overdose can damage
the heart. Lower doses can prevent migraines, but a 2006 study found that 30% of
people taking amitriptyline for migraines gained more than 5% of their body
weight in 26 weeks.
Oral Corticosteroid: Such as Deltasone, are more potent than inhaled
forms and carry a higher risk of weight gain, particularly with long-term use. A
2006 survey of long-term oral-corticosteroid users suggested 60 percent to 80
percent had gained weight. Higher doses, such as those for asthma and
inflammatory bowel disease, are more likely to have this effect than lower
doses, such as those for rheumatoid arthritis.
Blockers: They are among the go-to drugs for high blood pressure,
but the older ones, such as Tenormin, Lopressor (metoprolol), and Inderal (propranolol),
can expand the waistline. According to a study people found taking Tenormin
gained about 5 more pounds than the placebo group, and research suggests that
most of the weight is gained in the first few months. These drugs can slow
calorie burning and cause fatigue.
Contraception drug: According to studies,
both birth control pills and contraceptive shots, such as DeproProvera, can have
weight gain as a side effect. The test involved teenagers who used these
contraceptive measures for one year. After this period, the average weight gain
of contraceptive shot
users was of 6.6 pounds, while the teenagers that took birth control pills had
an average weight gain of 5.3 pounds. In 7 percent of birth control pills users,
the weight gain exceeded 10 percent. On the other hand, the weight gain exceeded
10 percent of the body weight in 25 percent of contraceptive shot users.
As the number of prescriptions has risen, so too have concerns about the
dramatic weight gain that occurs in as many as 30% of patients who take these
drugs. In some cases, the drugs also appear to contribute to elevated
blood-sugar levels, high blood pressure, and other risk factors for heart
disease and diabetes.
Dated 11 June 2013