Experts don’t fully know why some some drugs pack on pounds, says Louis Aronne, MD, a weight-loss expert at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, but your doctor may be able to switch you to a different class or lower dose of a drug. Here are some weight-gain-causing meds and their smart swaps.
Drugs for: Depression
Could Cause Weight Gain: SSRIs such as paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa)
Skinny Alternative: Buproprion (Wellbutrin)
Our Expert Says: Some researchers believe SSRI-style drugs increase appetite. Antidepressants that affect dopamine, such as buproprion, may actually reduce hunger.
Drugs for: High blood pressure, coronary heart disease
Could Cause Weight Gain: Powerful beta-blockers such as metroprolol (Lopressor), atenolol (Tenormin)
Skinny Alternative: Mixed alpha and beta-blockers such as carvedilol (Coreg)
Our Expert Says: With the single-effect beta-blockers, it can be harder to lose weight, possibly because they reduce metabolic rate.
Drugs for: Allergies
Could Cause Weight Gain: The antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
Skinny Alternative: Antihistamines loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Reactin)
Our Expert Says: The alternatives contain different, less potent active chemicals, decreasing the chances that the drugs will boost appetite.
*Important: Before switching medications, always consult your physician. You may not be eligible to take certain medications. Only your physician can determine which medication is the overall best option for you.