Prescription drugs are used to treat and manage health conditions. While prescription drugs help those with health conditions to maintain a better quality of life, they have varying levels of undesirable side effects. One such undesirable side effect is weight gain, which can negatively impact your health and self confidence. If you are currently dieting or prone to weight gain make sure to discuss your medications with your doctor before taking, especially if you’re being treated for diabetes, depression or taking contraceptives. Here are three commonly prescribed medications that cause weight gain.
1. Birth Control Pills
Most of today’s birth control pills such as Ortho Evra and Yasmin contain between 20 mcg to 35 mcg of estrogen, and are considered to be low estrogen birth control pills. Zovia, Norinyl and Ovcon are just a few birth control pills that contain a higher dose of estrogen, at 50 mcg. Taking birth control pills that contain a higher dose of estrogen is more likely to cause weight gain through fluid retention and increased appetite. Estrogen stimulates a substance call renin-angiotension, which is the cause of water retention that appears as weight gain. Those with abnormal glucose metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance are shown to be more at risk of weight gain when taking high estrogen containing birth control pills. Not only will taking low estrogen birth control pills decrease the chance of weight gain, but the chances of developing strokes and dangerous blood clots will be less compared to high estrogen birth control pills.
Paxil is a commonly prescribed drug to treat depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other serious psychiatric issues. Most if not all antidepressants such as Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac are known to cause weight gain. However, some antidepressants such as Tofranil and Trazodone are more likely to cause weight gain than the aforementioned ones. While Paxil and other antidepressants cause some type of weight gain in a majority of individuals, other factors may contribute to the increased amount of weight the drugs cause. One such contributing factor in weight gain while on Paxil is indulging in comfort food to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Avandia is a medication that is taken orally for type 2 diabetes. Avandia helps to control blood sugar levels. While it is an effective drug for type 2 diabetes, it has reportedly been linked to increased chances of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and liver failure. Increased fluid retention, or edema, has also been associated with the drug. Similar to birth control pills, Avandia causes edema which increases body weight. This can be dangerous for those with heart issues such as congestive heart failure. Avandia, like a number of other diabetes prescription drugs, may cause low blood sugar or hypoglycemia, which in turn will cause an increase in appetite and food consumption. Avandia also causes the body to store more fatty acids in the blood cells, leading to increased body fat storage.