Can Bipolar Medications Lead To Weight Gain? 


Can bipolar disorder medication lead to weight gain? Well, not all drugs increase your weight but some of them do.  

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings between high and low that affect a person’s everyday life. Episodes can vary from person to person, some experience them rarely and some often multiple times in a year. These mood swings affect the ability to judge, sleep, think and behave normally. As this is a lifelong disorder, treatment is essential. Treatment includes medication and different forms of psychotherapy.  

Different medications are used to treat bipolar disorder such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and antidepressants. All these drug groups affect your body differently. Some of them can lower your metabolism which can make you feel hungry and want to eat more. The craving usually makes you eat sweet and fatty foods which can lead to weight gain.                                                                                                                                                   That’s why you should discuss with your doctor first the side effects of the medicine you will take and how to deal with them if it happens. Log on to to know more about weight loss.  

Can bipolar medications cause weight gain? 

Bipolar medications do lead to weight gain. As bipolar disorder is treated with several medications to manage its symptoms, you’ll be on a variety of medications. All these medications influence the body. For example, some of them increase your blood sugar level, and some affect your metabolism.  

Those medications that cause metabolism to slow can increase your hunger. As metabolism regulates energy and hormones that make you feel hungry or satisfied, slower metabolism means your hunger will increase and to satisfy the temporary craving you are more likely to eat sweet, salty, and fatty foods which can lead to weight gain.  

These bipolar medications can cause weight gain: 

  • Anxiolytics: Lorazepam (Ativan) 
  • Mood stabilizers: Lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid) 
  • Antipsychotics: Asenapine, Chlorpromazine, Clozapine, Haloperidol, Olanzapine, Paliperidone, Quetiapine, and Risperidone. 
  • Anticonvulsants: Carbamazepine (Epitol, Equetro, Tegretol, others), Divalproex sodium, valproate sodium, valproic acid, (Depacon, Depakene, Depakote, Depakote ER, Stavzor). 
  • Antidepressant-antipsychotics: Olanzapine and fluoxetine (Symbyax) 
  • Anti Parkinson agents: Pramipexole (Mirapex, Mirapex ER) 

But keep in mind, every person’s body reacts differently to medications according to their symptoms and physical health. Some of them gain weight while some don’t. And your weight gain not only depends on medication but on your condition too. During depressive episodes, people are not able to sleep properly which does not burn the calories that are supposed to burn and increases their weight. Taking a bipolar drug may calm your mood and help you sleep. However, the medication affects the energy you burn during your sleep.  

So, if you experience side effects from the medication, discuss with your doctor to change them or how to manage your side effects.  

What should you do?  

As you know, you can’t control the side effects of medication however, you can ask your doctor about its alternative or other ways to manage those side effects. This includes:  

  • Anticonvulsant medications such as Lamotrigine (Lamictal, Lamictal XR, Lamictal ODT) are not linked to weight gain. But on the other hand, anticonvulsants are new, and more research is needed to make sure they treat bipolar disorder. And it causes side effects such as dizziness, tiredness, and nervousness.  
  • Certain antipsychotics such as Aripiprazole, Latuda, Vraylar, and Ziprasidone do not impact your weight.  
  • Anti-obesity medication for bipolar treatment can be a future option but right now it’s not available for public use. Researchers are still learning and testing its effects on people who have bipolar disorder. This is important for people who are overweight and more likely to develop obesity. 

Keep in mind that every drug that’s used to treat your condition has some effects on the body. So, you need to choose which side effects you can manage. For weight loss, you can take the old ways such as eating healthy food, exercising regularly, sleeping on time, and learning stress-coping techniques to prevent stress, all these tips are useful to manage your weight.  

Bipolar medications may lead to weight gain. As the drug affects metabolism and increases your cravings, it can lead to eating more, especially unhealthy foods. While you can’t prevent medicine side effects, you can talk about them with your doctor to get an alternate medicine or how to counter those side effects to improve your health.  

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