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Mood Stabilizers

Which ones:

These drugs help treat mental health conditions like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. They “directly affect your brain and will affect your weight and metabolism,” DeCotiis says.

Mood stabilizers cause your appetite to turn on and stay on. Some may cause as much as an 11-pound weight gain in 10 weeks. People taking them for a long time may gain more.

Diabetes Medicines

Which ones:

Diabetes medications control blood sugar levels in different ways. Some make you more sensitive to insulin. Others cause your body to release more insulin before or after meals.

It’s normal to gain weight when you first start taking them, while your body adjusts to the medicine. But “some of the older drugs basically vacuum calories into fat cells,” Aronne says. Weight gain can be especially frustrating for people with type 2 diabetes who were already overweight.

Your doctor can help you figure out if you might do better with another drug, or what lifestyle changes you may need to make.


Which ones:

  • methylprednisolone (Medrol)
  • prednisolone (Orapred, Pediapred, Prelone, and others)
  • prednisone (Deltasone, Prednicot, Sterapred, and others)

Corticosteroids reduce pain and inflammation. They’re different than the steroids bodybuilders take to build muscle.

You can take them as shots, rub them into your skin as a cream, inhale them as a spray, or take them by mouth. Because they also affect metabolism, “taking them for a long time may give you a bigger appetite and cause your body to hold onto more fat, especially around the belly,” DeCotiis says.

Drugs That Prevent Seizures and Migraines

Which ones:

Medicines that stop migraine headaches and seizures affect hormones that control hunger and make it harder for your body to sense when it’s full.

“They can up your appetite, lower your metabolism, and cause your body to hang on to extra fluids,” Waldrep says. In one study, people who took valproic acid (Depakote) even had more fast-food cravings.

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