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Prednisone weight gain?


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Hi,

I've just been prescribed 30mg of prednisone a day for a week for severe asthma. I know it's only short term but it's a fairly high dose and I hear prednisone can cause you to gain weight ridiculously quickly?
I'm sticking to <1700 calories a day at the moment but am in the middle of exams (aka all spare time spent studying) so can't increase exercise etc until they end in 3ish weeks.

I just really don't want my weight loss so far to be undone :( Does anyone have any idea or tips on how I can NOT gain on them, or at least minimise weight gain as much as possible? Also, much weight am I likely to gain from this?

Thanks in advance for any help!

21 Replies (last)

Have you actually looked up how it *could* make you gain weight? Nothing other than eating everything you see will make you "gain weight ridiculously quickly". You need calories to gain weight. Or fluids. Medication isn't going to make you gain weight by itself.

I was on it for about a month a while back and I was on a much higher dose.

 

I actually found it easier to exercise because it made me so jittery.  As long as you keep your calories on track you won't gain, but the med itself can cause water retention.

I actually lost weight, but everyone is different.

Ive been on prednisone for 6 months and it never made me gain any weight. I was on 75 mg :) don't worry, it won't make any difference

Another fact: The reason why prednisone can make you gain weight is because it makes you hungry, which make you eat all the time = extra calories. If you count calories and watch way you eat, then there's no way you'll gain any weight from it :)

I took fairly massive doses of prednisone as part of a chemotherapy regimen many years ago and the biggest issue I had with weight gain was water retention. You need to watch your salt intake and eat more foods with potassium to balance out the extra sodium your body will hold onto. I don't recall if it increased my appetite, but that could be another factor.

My suggestion: if your body wants more food, give it more fruits and veggies. Can't go wrong there. :)

 

Long-term predinisone/steroid use causes the moonface, bloating and weight gain, but it's prescribed because it's preferable to the effects of whatever is wrong with you to need it. A short-term course shouldn't have the same effects. You're only taking it for a week, and any side effects should wear off in another. I was nearly prescribed prednisone for this stupid cold/bronchitis/asthma thing I've got going on this week, and weight-gain is the least of my worries about its effects.

I have been on it for short term spurts for my asthma over the years and I know that everyone reacts differently. If you are aware of the side effect than you are one step ahead. I know when I was on it I was less hungry because of the increase of metabolism kinda like after I work out I have no desire for food but for some i think it makes them hungrier. I wouldn't worry about it too much.

Thanks all for your quick replies! I did a quick nosey round on Google before posting this and read somewhere that steroids affect how your body stores fat and glucose so can literally cause you to gain weight on top of excessive appetite/water retention.

Gone out and done a big fruit shop just in case of hunger and avoiding adding any salt to my food (I'm usually the worst for this!), so hopefully with this and your tips I should be prepared!

You've also all calmed me down - this is why they say never to consult Dr Google! Been having images of myself ballooning by the end of the week.

Also, jamiepantsca, how did you find it worked on your asthma? I'm going insane with mine, I just seem to be in and out of the doctors once a month getting stronger inhalers but I've got worse again!

Thanks again everyone :) 

it helps for sure I've actually only gotten prescribed after a serious asthma attack and not help day to day so your asthma must be severe.
has your doctor tried prescribing singulair which is a once a day pill?
I also use an inhaler which is called Symbicort here in Canada it really changed my life and helped my asthma a lot although the downfall is that if you aren't covered it's very expensive to buy...so is singulair.

Haha luckily I'm in the UK so I only pay £8/$12 per prescription in England, or free in Wales!

I've never heard of Symbicort or Singulair, what are they? I'm currently on my Ventolin inhaler and Seretide 250 as my preventer which is a steroid and bronchodialater, and then the steroid tablets on top this week. My asthma's pretty uncontrolled and has been getting randomly worse, and with a load of second-hand cigarette smoke this weekend I'm just pretty much constantly coughing and wheezing 24/7 .. driving me insane!

The one-a-day pill sounds like such a good idea! I have another appointment in a fortnight so I'll have a little ask when I'm there :)

Thanks so much for your help :)

The brand name may be different in the UK so here is what the active medical ingredients are

Symbicort (used as a preventative and rescue inhaler) contains a combination of budesonide and formoterol

Singulair or montelukast is a  leukotriene and is used to prevent asthma and help with allergens in the air

Hopefully these are drugs that have been approved in the UK because they would be a lot more beneficial to you than getting stuck on prednisone

#12  
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actually, it DOES cause weight gain.  it's a well known fact.  it causes water retention (commonly in the face, but can occur all over) by increasing your serum sodium levels.  ...it's NOT from drinking too much fluid, but rather from not peeing as much as you usually would.  it also increases your blood sugar levels.  and it supresses your immune system.  A known side effect of prednisone is fat redistribution.  i've been on prednisone for 5 days and have gained 4 pounds this week.  my goal is 1600 cal per day and i've stayed under that every single day this week and still gained 4 pounds.  ask a pharmacist, not these people who think they know something.

#13  
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Original Post by armandounc:

Have you actually looked up how it *could* make you gain weight? Nothing other than eating everything you see will make you "gain weight ridiculously quickly". You need calories to gain weight. Or fluids. Medication isn't going to make you gain weight by itself.

 

actually, it DOES cause weight gain.  it's a well known fact.  it causes water retention (commonly in the face, but can occur all over) by increasing your serum sodium levels.  ...it's NOT from drinking too much fluid, but rather from not peeing as much as you usually would.  it also increases your blood sugar levels.  and it supresses your immune system.  A known side effect of prednisone is fat redistribution.  i've been on prednisone for 5 days and have gained 4 pounds this week.  my goal is 1600 cal per day and i've stayed under that every single day this week and still gained 4 pounds.  ask a pharmacist, not these people who think they know something.

 

Yes, Prednisone will cause you to gain weight, much of which is water retention, and a little fat. I know, I just gained 8 pounds in 5 days, while on a short-term dose for an inflamed knee. I know that it will come back off once I discontinue the prednisone.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, and believe it!

I have been losing weight for 6 months, due to chronic health condition. Do you think I started eating and additional 4000 to 6000 calories a day so I could gain 8 pounds in 5 days? Get real!

 

 

guitrpikr

#15  
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I have been on prednisone for over two decades at 50 mg per day at this point in time. As stated earlier, for me the moonface, the extra 40 lbs and the water retention are way better than dialysis and kidney failure were.

Between the prednisone and other strong meds that are now used to control my nervous system, weight loss has become extremely difficult for me.

All four major meds that I am on cause a ridiculous amount of cravings. I am still working at learning how to best them.

My own personal experience of taking Prednisone three or four times for acute asthma attacks for a week at at time is that it did not affect my weight.

#17  
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Wow, I don't know if the people who said they had been on Prednisone actually had been on high doses for extended periods of time. 

Let me set you all straight. High doses of Prednisone for an extended (2+ months) period of time will put weight on you.  Period.  It is a horrific drug.  I was on it for 4 months and gained 60 pounds. My body blew up and it ruined my life.  I was only eating 650 calories a day throughout the 3 month period.  I know COUNTLESS women who have gone through this and UNIVERSALLY it is known as the easiest weight to gain (there is no controlling it) and the hardest to loose.

The problem is people who are on Prednisone are usually having severe auto immune problems, joint pain, breathing, organ complications... this makes it very difficult to work out. It can be done in some cases and I was one of those that worked out through the pain... I was DETERMINED but the drug ravaged my body anyway. 

Here are the facts:

"Corticosteroids, natural or synthetic, are a group of chemically-similar hormones that have important functions within the body. Steroids play a role in regulating metabolism, immune function, inflammation and response to stress and injury. Naturally-occurring steroids, like cortisol, are produced by your adrenal glands. Normally, the adrenal glands produce steroids that would be the equivalent of a low dose (about 5 mg) of prednisone daily. When corticosteroid drugs are prescribed at higher doses, they can help control inflammatory diseases.

Not everyone will gain the same amount of weight while on prednisone but most will have some degree of weight gain. Additionally, prednisone can cause a redistribution of fat, especially in the face, abdomen and back of the neck.

According to experts at The University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSFMC), weight gain associated with prednisone use is typically caused by fluid retention. That's in addition to being less physically active because of pain and other consequences of chronic inflammatory disease.

A low-sodium, high-potassium diet can help control fluid retention. According to UCSFMC, you should not ingest more than 2,000 mg of sodium per day. You can achieve these dietary goals by avoiding high-sodium foods, especially processed foods, while increasing your intake of potassium-rich foods." 

I hope the information above is helpful.

 

If you have severe asthma shouldn't breathing take priority over possibly gaining a pound? Seriously if you are more worried about weight than life...
#19  
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1) I've taken prednisone for a month at a time a few times in my life, the most recently being this past January. I have never gained weight on it. I think that usually only comes with extended usage, like more than a few months (or sometimes also with short time usage, but that weight comes back off quickly).

2) My asthma never got bad enough to require more than a daily steroid inhaler (I mostly used Flovent?have been released from the pulmonologist for 3 years now, but still have problems here and there when I am sick) and a short-term (like 4 hours) inhaler (Albuterol) that I used before exercising (at the time, I was on the swim team at school and still had PE classes, so like 2-3 times per day). My sister, however, has much worse asthma than I do, and she took Singulair every night along with Flovent for about 8 or 9 years until her lungs got strong enough to only use Flovent, along with Albuterol when she exercises and a more intensive breathing treatment when she gets sick. The Singulair really helped to get her asthma under control, though?there was a huge difference in her breathing before and after she started taking it. I highly recommend asking your doctor about it, especially since it has very few and mild side effects as compared to a lot of other steroids.
#20  
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My cousin also has really bad asthma?for a few years, she had to do a nebulizer treatment (the special machine that you use during really bad attacks) twice a day, every day. It really helped lower the frequency and intensity of her asthma attacks. Now she gets by on just the daily inhaler.
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