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  • Medicines That Can Cause You to Gain Weight

    You try your best to eat healthy and stay active, yet your pants seem a little tight and the arrow on the scale seems to have moved. Maybe your medication could be to blame. Check out this list of medications that may cause weight gain to see if something sitting in your cabinet could be the cause.



    • Antidepressants

    The medications phenelzine (brand name Nardil), isocarboxazid (Marplan) and tranylcypromine (Parnate) Have been shown to cause weight gain. Amitriptyline, imipramine (Tofranil)  and doxepin (Silenor, Prudoxin, Zonalon) tend to cause the most weight gain. Desipramine (Norpramin) and nortriptyline (Pamelor) may cause mild weight gain. Selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may less commonly cause weight gain paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva) in particular, in addition to fluoxetine (Sarafem, Prozac) and citalopram (Celexa).

    • Antipsychotics

    Antipsychotics are a class of psychiatric medication primarily used to manage psychosis (including delusions, hallucinations, or disordered thought), schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Antipsychotic drugs such as chlorpromazine (brand name Thorazine), clozapine, fluphenazine, haloperidol, olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), sertindole, thioridazine, mesoridazine (serentil)  and rarely quetiapine (Seroquel) can cause weight gain.

    • Anticonvulsants/Mood Stabilizers

    These drugs are primarily used in the treatment of epilepsy, bipolar disorder and prevention of migraine headaches. Medications such as valproic acid (brand names: Depakene, Depacon, Stavzor, and Depakote), rarely carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, Carbatrol, Epitol) , lithium, gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise, Horizant, Fanatrex)  and vigabatrin (Sabril) Can cause weight gain.



    • Beta Blockers

    Beta blockers interfere with the binding to the receptor of stress hormones, and weaken the effects of stress hormones. They are particularly used for the management of cardiac arrhythmias, protecting the heart from a second heart attack after a first heart attack, and hypertension. Beta blockers including propranolol, atenolol and metoprolol, which are used to treat a variety of cardiac issues, may cause weight gain, possibly due to fluid retention or other factors.

    • Calcium Channel Blockers

    Calcium channel blockers are used as antihypertensive drugs, i.e. as medications to decrease blood pressure in patients with hypertension. One study suggested that verapamil may cause weight gain in some people as well. Anyone who rapidly gains weight after starting a calcium channel blocker should consult their doctor right away.

    • Diabetes Medications

    Insulin, tolazamide, glipizide, repaglinide, nateglinide and thiazolidinediones like rosiglitazone or pioglitazone have been reported to cause weight gain.

    • Hormones

    Many studies have debunked the idea that birth control pills cause weight gain, but they may cause a slight increase in water retention. However, medroxyprogesterone acetate (also known as Depo-Provera) or the etonogestrel implant, other forms of birth control, may cause weight gain.

    Megestrol acetate, a hormone sometimes used to stimulate appetite in cancer patients or other conditions that cause weight loss.Corticosteroids such as prednisone that are used to treat inflammatory conditions, also cause weight gain especially if used long-term.

    • Cholesterol/Lipid-Lowering Drugs

    Clofibrate may cause slight weight gain, but is not commonly used.

    • Antihistamines

    Chronic use of antihistamines such as loratadine, cyproheptadine, fexofenadine, cetirizine and diphenhydramine can cause weight gain.

    • Antiretrovirals

    Protease inhibitors often used to treat HIV, including stavudine, zalcitabine, didanosine, lopinavir/ritonavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir/ritonavir can cause weight gain.

    • Cancer-Fighting Agents

    Cancer-fighting drugs cyclophosphamide, methotrexate and 5-fluorouracil, aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen can cause weight gain.

    Remember that while some people may gain weight taking these medications, not everyone will (and in many cases, weight gain is the exception rather than the rule). If you find you are gaining weight after starting a new medication, check with your doctor to make sure the weight gain is safe and talk about possible ways to combat it.

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