Pills That Put on Weight
If you’re gaining weight for no reason or having trouble losing it, check the contents of your medicine cabinet.
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.