Your medication may be making you fat!

If you are taking medications on a regular basis, this may be causing you to gain weight. It is very important for a patient to do the research and educate themselves on ALL of the side effects, not just the major one’s your doctor is required to warn you about upon prescribing the medication. You should be concerned about the side affect of weight gain because of the related health issues connected to being overweight or obese. Here are some of the prescribed medication classes that list weight gain as a side effects.

·        Drugs for diabetes: insulin, thiazolidinediones, and sulfonylureas

·        Antipsychotics: haloperidol, clozapine, and lithium

·        Antidepressants: amitriptyline, paroxetine, and sertraline

·       Anticonvulsives (medications for epilepsy): valproate and carbamazepine

·        Steroids: prednisone

·        Hormone treatments: Birth control pills

·        Blood pressure-reducing drugs: beta-blockers

Over the counter medications have been found to cause weight gain side effects. There is research to show that over the counter pain medications, antihistamines and proton pump inhibitors can cause weight gain.

So what can a person do?  First of all, I must add the disclaimer that you should never stop or change your medications without consulting your medical provider first. That being said, if you are currently regularly taking one of the medications listed above, make an appointment to ask your doctor about an alternative medication you can switch to in order to mitigate this issue. For example, Metformin, a drug commonly prescribed to Type 2 Diabetics and prediabetics does not cause weight gain. If you happen to be on a different blood sugar lowering medication, Metformin could possibly be a good alternative.

Evaluate the need for the medication. For example, birth control. There are several side effects and potential long-term risk factors for taking birth control besides weight gain. Evaluate if switching to a non-medication form of birth control would be a better option for you (such as condoms, a sponge or a vasectomy for a long-term partner). 


Thirdly, explore alternative medicine. There is a ton of research out there to show that whole food supplements are just as effective if not more effective than their drug counterparts. Also, alternative forms of treatment such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and just good old diet and lifestyle changes can be a side effect free way to manage your medical condition.  I highly suggest that if you are on one or more of the above weight gain causing medications, that you make an appointment with a functional medicine practitioner and have them evaluate your current medical status and make suggestions for alternative forms of treating your conditions. Don't live near one? No problem! Many functional medicine practitioners do virtual appointments and can treat you no matter where you live in the world. 

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