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Are You Taking A Medication That Causes Weight Gain?

We all experience health issues during our lifetimes.  If we are lucky, these are self-limited events that require only short courses of medications, such as antibiotics for infections, anti-inflammatory medications for injured joints, or migraine medications for an acute headache.

However, most of us are not so lucky and over time, we develop chronic issues that require long-term medications.  None of us like to take medications every day, but by not doing so, our long-term health can be placed in jeopardy.  All medications may have side effects, some of which are minor and disappear over time whereas other medications can impact us negatively in a number of ways.

Specifically focusing on weight control, there are a number of classes of medications that may cause you to gain weight.  This occurs by mechanisms such as causing intense carbohydrate/sugar cravings and/or hindering metabolism rates.  Here are the following classes of medications that are implicated in causing weight gain:

  • Diabetic medications such as insulin, sulfonylureas (glipizide, glucotrol, glynase, amaryl), Actos, Januvia, Saxenda.
  • SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil)
  • Tricyclic anti-depressants (Elavil, Pamelor, Remeron)
  • Lithium
  • Anti-psychotics such as Haldol, Seroquel, Zyprexa, Risperdal, Thorazine
  • Anti-Seizure medications such as Depakote, Neurontin and Tegretol
  • Neuropathy medications such as Gabapentin
  • Beta blockers such as Propranolol, Metoprolol and Atenolol

If you are taking any of the above medications and struggling with weight control, perhaps have a discussion with your treating doctor about a possible change to an alternative medication that will address the problem as well, but perhaps not have the weight control side effect.  As an example, if a diabetes patient is taking Januvia and glipizide, perhaps a switch to Ozempic would help with weight control, which in turn, would improve the diabetes dramatically.

One of the great aspects of successful weight control is ridding ourselves of every day medications that are treating the weight-related co-morbidities.  It is a GREAT feeling to come off of medications….It is almost like Walking On Sunshine!

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