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Does prednisone make you gain weight?

17 Answers

Official Answer Medically reviewed by Last updated on Sep 16, 2020.

Prednisone is a corticosteroid medicine that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Prednisone is used as an anti-inflammatory or an immunosuppressant medication. Prednisone treats many different conditions such as allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or breathing disorders.

Corticosteroids have many side effects. Weight gain is one of them. They cause weight gain by altering the body’s electrolyte and water balances, as well as its metabolism.
Prednisone affects how your body deposits fat. The change in metabolism can lead to an increase in appetite, leading to weight gain, and in particular lead to extra deposits of fat in your abdomen.
In addition this is complicated by being less physically active because of pain and other consequences of chronic inflammatory disease.

Not everyone experiences side effects. If your dose of prednisone is low and for a short period of time it is unlikely you will experience any weight gain.
Side effects of prednisone are more likely if your dose is high or your treatment is long-term.

Votes: +5
Rwpfinance 5 Sep 2016

Suzanne66, thank you for the info. The reason I arrived here is I am a 54 yo male who 12 years ago was 5'10" and 185lbs. I was diagnosed with heritatary hemochromatosis. I won't bore anyone with what can happen when you have stored iron since birth. My weight dropped to an all time low of 119lbs. I have tried everything to gain the weight back including eating until I'm sick and "T" shots in the hip. Someone very close to me suggested prednisone and I don't mind trying unless it's just another waste of time. The dosage I have available is 20mg twice a day. Any help is appreciated.

Christie Ding 21 Sep 2018

Hi. I had Prednisone from doctor and was asked to take one tablet per day for only five days. Will I gain weight?

kohana0137 8 April 2022

YES! I've been on steroids for over 7 years for Auto immune disorders Rheumatoid Arthritis, Anklosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis plus hives. It's awful and I've gained not due to extra calories more because of the disease, chronic inflammation and PAIN. This is the vicious cycle of chronic illness. Inflammation causes pain, pain and inflammation need treatment, pain causes decreased mobility adding more weight as steroids also lower the metabolism. Causing weight gain causing more pain on joints causing more inflammation causing more steroids! It's awful and need to have treatment that's effective and not the insurance company dictating treatment but the Drs. who are treating us. I was a very active and fit, healthy, and gym rat before all of this so it's not my lack of knowledge of healthy eating. I know caloric deficit, it's chronic illness cycles that don't break.

Votes: +0
Gino715 10 June 2019

This is my 5th day taking Prednisone 20mg once a day. I have gained 5 lbs. I have been eating a lot of sweets since I started on this med which is probably more of the reason for weight gain, but yes Ive gained weight.

Votes: +0
Uppermissi 14 March 2018

Prednisone is a synthetic hormone type drug that spikes your blood sugar. Yes you will gain wait if you take it regularly at any dose. If you only take it once in a great while for bronchitis etc., you probably don’t need to worry. I have been on it three years now for asthma, with heavier doses the last 12 months. I have put on 110 pounds and it’s NOT BECAUSE I ATE MORE. It’s the lesser of two evils when it comes to this drug, and the side effects are nasty.

Votes: +2
Elf41978 1 Feb 2018

Yes. I've been on it twice. First time in 2005, gained 50 lbs, never came back off. Second time, 2008, 100 mcgs, on for 6 months or more, gained 25 lbs, and developed hanging belly. Just starting to take off this weight now. Its a terrible drug.

Votes: +1
Stejunior1 7 Jan 2018

I’ve been taking prednislone for 5 years. Initially I was on 60mg a day and within a year I had put 2.5 stone on. My dose has been reduced now to 10mg a day and the weight has come straight back off however has left me with stretch marks because i gained and lost the weight so quickly,

Votes: +0
June999 31 Dec 2017

Prednisone makes many people gain weight. It causes water retention, and for me an appetite like hungry bear! I have taken it in the past but now I refuse it. It weakens the immune system as well. However, it can be a good solution for a few issues ... not for mine though.

Votes: +0
Seriditide 15 Dec 2017

Yes. The corticosteroid like excess cortisol triggers fat storage in abdomen and peripherally around abdomin. It causes fat accumulation on upper back and near neck at back, cheeks, forehead and chin and front neck, larger breasts. This is a normal body body response to excess cortisol which the corticosteroids mimic in relation to lipid storage and metabolism.
Starving oneself does not correct the action of corticosteroids.
As well suppression of adrenals by prednisone leads to adrenal insufficiency meaning that aldpstrone and DHEA are insufficient which further causes depression and weight gain.
That is well know, NOT unknown as your site states

Votes: +0
Keshia 06 10 Nov 2017

Heck yes!! I've been on "preddie" since 2014, 30 mg a day for Systemic lupus erythematosus. I am already on the chubby side. I feel bloated all the time.

Votes: +0
Sabra Lily 20 July 2017

I was on prednisone for 6 months. Originally I did not gain wait. However after about 2 months I started to gain weight rapidly. Overall i gained about 35pounds. However after I discontinued the steroid I lost that weight with exercise and swimming. it took about a month for the weight to come off. Hope this helps.

Votes: +0
Seriditide 15 Dec 2017

Thank you, good news. I am eating the raw broccoli plus mustard researched at uni of Melbourne, actual CURE for asthma hoping to stop using steatite/prednisone and get my life back after 12 years of hell.

DrDonovan 25 June 2017

Prednisone is well known to cause weight gain among other potential side effects. It causes many to crave sweets. Some degree of weight gain may also come from fluid retention. Monitoring one's weight is important while using prednisone.


Votes: +0
ablueyedsissy 28 April 2017

So... you WANT to gain weight ?! Prednisone is your man. I have been on small dose 2 &1/2 years n packed on 35lbs 1st year. While I was eating a full meal all I could think of was what I was going to eat next. Off it now n losing but really have to work at it.

Votes: +1
Kurt Wetzel 19 April 2017

I started on 60 mg of Prednisone Feb 3,2017 and being tapered off. Last dose May 3,2017.
Side effects
At first for 3 days a messed up sleep schedule. Had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. That quickly changed and I was able to sleep. No big deal.
I got the puffy face as well. Was a lot puffier when on a higher dose. Went down but still puffy. Normally my face is not like that.
Biggest side effect and annoyed by it is weight gain. I experienced increased appetite but more so when on a higher dose. Thought nothing of it and ate when I felt hunger. Went from 220 pounds Feb 3 2017 to 234 pounds April 16 2017. I noticed my weight gain and try to only eat smaller meals and very light snacks. A light snack is a individual serving size container of yogurt and some fruit. I eat smaller meals where I am full but nowhere near stuffed. I do not eat the healthiest but not terrible.


I do eat lots of frozen pre-packaged meals and food. Throughout the day I do drink lots of water. I cut out all pop/soda and alcohol expect the occasional drink maybe 2 times per week at a restaurant. At home I no longer have them on hand. Even with this I can't loose any weight. How do I loose weight? Could some of the weight gain be water weight? Will I loose weight just by getting off the med?

Votes: +0
Heather G 13 Oct 2018

First thing you need to do, is cut out processed foods. Like frozen microwave stuff. Full of sodium, sodium bloats really bad. So does booze.dont eat watching TV at night. No way to burn calories. Eat calcium foods, helps with sodium retention.excersise. you don't have to be good at everything, just find one thing you can do, and go with it. I was 115 pounds, and some jerk put me on tamoxifen for breast cancer I didn't have. I took it for a year, before I realized he sent me into menopause. I ended up weighing 175 pounds! I started walking, a quarter mile at first and worked my way up. Watched what I ate. Fish not fried, no fast food. Low carb, chicken, also not fried. Veggies, not cruatious, like broccoli, no lentals, like beans, they bloat. It took a while , I mean I started losing immediately, but to get to 115 again took a while. I just got screwed again. A nurse assistant who was big, was jelous I made my goal and pressured me to take mobic.


Now I have proteinuria, I'll have to take Prednisone, back at ground zero. Lost half my hair to it. Got Sibo and Leakey gut to. Bummer in the summer.

Shegee 23 March 2017

Some people temporarily gain weight, but it will go away. It raises your cortisol and insulin and makes your body hold estrogen. If you eat fiber rich foods like ground flax seeds, Jerusalem Artichokes and lower carb intake it will prevent a lot of gain. Eliminate soy and dairy, two of the biggest estrogen keepers. Take Alpha lipoic acid and conjugated linoleic acid too. Also, walking 30 mins a day keeps estrogen levels in check. If you take it around 2am I heard cortisol will be in check too, but I don't know if it's true. I lost three lbs. on 13 days tapered from 60.

Votes: +0
Seriditide 15 Dec 2017

I have been on prednisone as eratide for 12 years. Fat deposits on and in abdomen, face, back of neck, etc Have NOT gone away. Thinning skin and muscle loss in my arms has NOT gone away but increased as research supports in determining the excessive feedback on the adrenals of corticosteroids. My hair falls quickly, instead of being thick and long it is short except for back.

IamauntyPB 11 March 2016

Oh yes, I have been on prednisone on and off for about 4 months. I am embarrassed to say I have gained 15lbs. My face looks like a blowfish. Last June I had neck surgery. With my now 3 chins I don't have a neck. All you see is a blob of skin. I have tried to go without the medication. But I am able to do so much more when taking it. I have a lung disease and am only 48 yrs old. I live on oxygen and my O2 sats have been really low. I was in a bad car accident(fell 30 feet of an embankment flipping my car) with the accident, the lungs are worse. I bruised a lung badly. I suffer with chronic back and neck pain now. I'm going out of town soon to see a specialist and possibly discuss a lung biopsy. It sucks to be in pain and ill on a daily basis.

Votes: +1
Vickie50vm 27 May 2017

I'm sure your happy to be alive. Some things are more important than looks or your 3 chins... falling down a embankment 30' it s a miracle your alive... anyone that looks as you as anything but a miracle shouldnt be friends with you. I'm in pain always, and some people make it worse by their ignorant comments... well the day they can walk in my shoes I'll applaud them... but until then they should jump in a lake... you are very lucky and I'm sure very beautiful free discount card

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