PhotoIt's hard to lose weight this time of year. Those New Year's resolutions may be going unfulfilled, not because you lack willpower, but perhaps because of the prescription medication you are taking.

Surprisingly, certain medicines can cause significant weight changes, which can be challenging for anyone wanting to shed pounds or maintain weight.

Weight side-effects are common in medicines used for diabetes, high-blood pressure and mental health conditions. Big gainers are likely for users of steroids for cancer treatment and women on birth control, while some antidepressants like Prozac and Wellbutrin are known for weight losses.

“Because of the stigma of weight gain, patients may tend to stop taking their medicines or decrease their dosage without talking to their physician,” said Ryan Roux, chief pharmacy officer, at Houston's Harris County Hospital District. “Doing this is a bad thing. It can affect your health in a number of negative ways.”

Talk to your doctor

Roux says patients should tell their physicians about any weight changes. The weight gains or losses could mean reassessing types of medicine or dosages taken. Additionally, gaining weight could increase the chances of developing diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol.

Your healthcare provider should advise you of any potential side effects associated with your medication.

Is your medication one that promotes weight gain? Take a look at the list below, provided by the Harris County Health District.


  • Actos (pioglitazone) 
  • Amaryl (glimepiride)
  • Insulins


  • Actos (pioglitazone)
  • Amaryl (glimepiride)
  • Insulins



  • Lopressor (metoprolol)
  • Tenormin (atenolol)
  • Inderal (propranolol)
  • Norvasc (amlodipine)
  • Clonidine


  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Amitripyline
  • Remeron (mirtazapine)



  • Clozaril (clozapine)
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine)
  • Risperdal (risperidone
  • Seroquel (quetiapine)
  • Lithium
  • Valproic Acid
  • Carbamazepine

Antiepileptic Drugs:

  • Carbamazapine
  • Neurontin (gabapentin)

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