Tips #10. Review Any Medications

Many prescription drugs can stall your weight loss. Discuss any change in treatment with your doctor.

Here are the worst three:

  • Insulin injections, especially at higher doses, are probably the worst obstacle for weight loss. There are three ways to reduce your need for insulin:
    A. Eat fewer carbs, which makes it an easier to lose weight. The fewer carbs you eat the less insulin you need. Remember to lower your doses if you can.
    B. If this isn’t enough, treatment with Metformin tablets (at a dose of 2–3 grams/day) can decrease the need for insulin (at least for type 2 diabetics).
    C. If this is not enough to get off insulin (again, for type 2 diabetics) you could try newer promising drugs like Victoza or Byetta. These reduce the need for insulin and cause weight loss.
  • Pills Other diabetes medications. Insulin-releasing tablets (e.g. sulphonylureas) often lead to weight gain. These include: Minodiab, Euglucon, Daonil, and Glibenclamide. Tablets like Avandia, Actos, Starlix and NovoNorm also encourage weight gain. But not Metformin. The newer drugs Victoza and Byetta (injectable) often lead to weight loss, but possible long-term side effects are still unknown. More on diabetes
  • Cortisone as an oral drug is another common culprit (e.g. Prednisolone). Cortisone often causes weight gain in the long run, especially at higher doses (e.g. more than 5 mg Prednisolone per day). Unfortunately, cortisone is often an essential medication for those who are prescribed it, but the dose should be adjusted frequently so you don’t take more than you need. Asthma inhalers and other local cortisone treatments, like creams or nose sprays, hardly affect weight.

These other medications can also cause problems:

  • Neuroleptics/antipsychotic drugs, can often encourage weight gain. Especially newer drugs like Zyprexa (Olanzapine).
  • Some antidepressant medications can cause weight gain, especially the older tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) such as Tryptizol, Saroten, and Clomipramine; as well as newer drugs such as Remeron (Mirtazapine). Lithium (for manic-depressive disorder) often causes weight gain. The most common antidepressants known as SSRI’s (for example Citalopram and Sertraline) usually don’t impact weight significantly. More on depression
  • Some contraceptives often contribute to slight weight gain, especially those that contain only progesterone and no estrogen, for example the mini-pill, the contraceptive injection, or a contraceptive implant. More on fertility
  • Blood pressure medication in the form of beta blockers can cause weight gain. These drugs include: Seloken, Metoprolol and Atenolol. More on high blood pressure
  • Epilepsy drugs may cause weight gain (e.g. Carbamazepine and Valproate).
  • Allergy medications, antihistamines can cause weight gain, especially at high doses. Cortisone is even worse (see above). More on allergies
  • Antibiotics can possibly lead to a temporary weight gain by disturbing the gut microbiota and increasing the amount of energy we absorb from food. This is still speculative for humans but it’s another reason not to use antibiotics unless you truly need it.