Medications You Didn't Know Could Make You Gain Weight

Losing weight is hard enough by itself. However, taking a medication that's causing unwanted weight gain is just plain frustrating. Drugs have come a long way in treating various health problems, but one common side effect is weight gain. 

These medications don't necessarily make you just put on more weight. Instead, there are different ways in which they can cause weight gain. According to GoodRx, some increase your appetite, some cause water retention, some lower your metabolism, some increase your fat storage, and some even create difficulty exercising. 

According to WebMD, different groups of medications that can make you gain weight are medications for mental health conditions (SSRIs and mood stabilizers), seizures, migraines, and diabetes, as well as corticosteroids, beta-blockers, birth control, and antihistamines. Healthline adds that other psychiatric medications can cause weight gain — tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and atypical antidepressants.

If you take any of these medications, you could gain weight. Everyone is different, though. One person could gain 10 pounds, and another may not see any weight gain even when taking the same medication and dosage. There are some actions you can take when your meds are causing unwanted weight gain. First, talk to your doctor who prescribed the meds. Don't stop taking your meds without consulting your doctor, who might be able to prescribe a different medication that does the same thing for you without causing weight gain.

What to do if your medication is causing weight gain

Prevention points out different ways you can stop unwanted weight gain from medications. If there are no alternative medications for you, make some lifestyle changes to help maintain a healthy weight — eat well, sleep well, and exercise regularly.

If you're taking a steroid, maintain good sleep hygiene to avoid the side effect of insomnia, which can cause an increase in your appetite.

Many psychiatric meds have alternatives that don't cause weight gain. Ask about your options.

Birth control often causes weight gain. Fortunately, there are many options. For example, you can get an IUD or take low-dose estrogen pills.

Migraine prevention and blood pressure meds that aren't diuretics can make the number on the scale go up. Daily migraine meds can cause you to gain weight. Take an as-needed migraine medication instead and eliminate any migraine triggers. PCRM suggests to eat a plant-based diet. You also want to eat low-sugar foods, exercise regularly, and sleep well.

There are a couple alternatives to taking antihistamines. First, try a nasal spray when you're congested. Next, see an allergist about immunotherapy to reduce your allergy symptoms, so you don't have to take antihistamines anymore.

If you take insulin or another diabetes medication, and diet and exercise aren't helping, ask your doctor about metformin to help you maintain a healthy weight.

Sometimes you have to take a medication that causes you to gain weight. Healthline recommends reducing sodium intake, increasing potassium, eating smaller meals, staying active, trying intermittent fasting, and sleeping well.