The Sneaky Side Effect: Medications That May Be Adding Pounds!

Are you exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, but still finding it difficult to maintain or lose weight? It’s possible that the real culprit is lurking in your medicine cabinet. A number of common medications can cause weight gain, even when you’re doing everything right when it comes to your diet and exercise routine.


You might be surprised to learn that antidepressants, intended to improve your mental health, can also affect your physical health by causing weight gain. Antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and have been linked to weight gain. According to WebMD, up to 25% of the people who take these medications gain weight. If you’re struggling with weight gain due to antidepressants, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about trying a different medication.


Beta-blockers are used to treat a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, heart attacks, and migraines. These medications work by blocking the effects of adrenaline, helping to slow down your heart rate and decrease blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, weight gain can be a side effect of taking beta-blockers. Examples of beta-blockers include Atenolol, Metoprolol, and Propranolol. Talk to your doctor if you suspect that your weight gain may be related to your beta-blocker medication.


Corticosteroids, which are often prescribed for conditions such as asthma, allergies, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders, are well known for causing weight gain. Taking steroids can lead to an increase in appetite, causing you to consume more calories than you would otherwise. Additionally, they can also cause fluid retention, leading to weight gain even with normal caloric intake. Examples of corticosteroid medications include Prednisone and Cortisone. If you’re taking a steroid medication and experiencing weight gain, consult with your doctor about potential alternatives or strategies to manage this side effect.


Many people rely on over-the-counter antihistamines like Benadryl and Zyrtec to relieve symptoms of allergies, colds, and sinus congestion. However, some antihistamines have been linked to weight gain. A study published in the journal Obesity found that people taking antihistamines had a higher likelihood of being overweight than those who did not take these medications. If you find that your antihistamine is causing you to gain weight, consider trying a different type of allergy medication or discussing alternative treatments with your doctor.

Diabetes medications

Weight gain can be an unfortunate side effect of some medications used to treat type 2 diabetes. Sulfonylureas, such as Glipizide and Glyburide, can cause weight gain by prompting the pancreas to release more insulin, which can lead to low blood sugar and increased hunger. Insulin therapy can also result in weight gain, as excess insulin in the bloodstream can cause the liver to store more glucose as fat. If you are on diabetes medications and struggling with weight gain, speak with your doctor about alternative treatment options that may help you better manage your weight.

Birth control

Hormonal birth control methods, such as birth control pills, patches, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) can sometimes cause weight gain. Estrogen, a hormone found in many birth control methods, can cause water retention and increased appetite, leading to weight gain. While not all birth control methods lead to weight gain for everyone, if you find that you’re struggling to maintain or lose weight while using hormonal birth control, discuss other options with your healthcare provider.

Antipsychotic medications

Some antipsychotic medications, which are prescribed for conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, have been linked to significant weight gain. Medications like Zyprexa, Seroquel, and Risperdal can cause an increase in appetite and the body’s tendency to store fat. If you are taking antipsychotic medications and experiencing weight gain, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about alternative medications or strategies to manage this side effect.

The bottom line

If you suspect that your weight gain may be related to a medication you’re taking, it’s important to speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your prescription. Your doctor can help determine the cause of your weight gain and may be able to recommend alternative medications or strategies to help manage this side effect. Keep in mind that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, is still essential to your overall health and well-being, regardless of any medications you may be taking.