Drugs That Affect Body Weight, Body Fat Distribution, and Metabolism

In: Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000.


Weight gain or body fat redistribution are common side effects of many widely used drugs. Weight gain amounts varying between a few kg to an increase of 10% or more of initial body weight have been described. Often accompanying this weight gain are worsened health risks, including an increased incidence of the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and other cardiovascular risk factors. With many drug classes, such as β-receptor antagonists, anti-psychotic drugs, corticosteroids, neurotropic drugs, and those used in the therapy of HIV, both significant weight gain and metabolic disturbances occur in susceptible patients. In this review, we provide an overview of drugs that affect body weight, fat distribution, and metabolism. Attention is given to the possible pathogenic mechanisms underlying these effects and their metabolic consequences. Potential preventive, alternative, or therapeutic measures are suggested where applicable. For complete coverage of all related areas of Endocrinology, please visit our on-line FREE web-text, WWW.ENDOTEXT.ORG.

Publication types

  • Review