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Does prednisone make you gain weight?

16 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?

diannewc1 15 May 2014

Yes it does,but i only gained a few lbs.ive been taking it for 3 months.

Votes: +0
endlessPred 21 May 2014

Some people feel an increased appetite so they eat more. Try an apple instead of a bag of chips. Weight gain, except for some water weight which will go away, will be due to eating too much. Just as it normally does. Keep track of your diet and you will be fine. Long term use does have problems but little trouble with short term use. It does cause type II diabetes at high levels for long time use. Consult your doctor and see what is recommended with your conditions believe me, they don't want you gaining weight. And off the prednisone as soon as possible. If possible.

Votes: +1
Schweiger 28 May 2015

I just wanted to add a comment. I have polymyositis and fibromyalgia. I take prednisone also and will for the rest of my life. I did gain about 20-25 pounds the first year. Then I went on a mission to lose it as I have never been fat. What I discovered about this drug is that the drug itself does nit cause weight gain. It causes cravings for carbs! I started drinking V-Core protein shakes for breakfast and lunch. I cut out most of the sugar and carbs. Took me about 2 months to lose it. Since then which has been a year I have been able to eat most anything I want in moderation. I weigh exactly what I have always weighed all my life with no fluctuations. The 2 months of actual "dieting" were hard at first till my body adjusted to the liss of most bad carbs. People dont believe that I take it daily. I am 60 yr old 5'6" and


114 lbs. there is hope when you understand its the cravings caused by the drug that you have to fight. Whatever reason your are on it for, keep fighting, dont let the disease win!! I fight everyday because I am yold one day It will finally win and I will be in a wheelchair, thats what keeps me fighting. Hang in there and keep fighting!

Payette1137 27 Aug 2015

I've never been fat. I am now. I'm taking 5 pills of prednisone, sometimes 6 daily for over a year. I've gained 40 lbs. I have hives so badly that the prednisone doesn't work so I have to go to Urgent Care or the Hosp for a shot. I just started seeing an Allergist. Extensive tests all come back negative. He wants to put me in a study I'm at the end of my rope with this.

Payette1137 27 Aug 2015

I'm 53 year old female. I've never been fat. I am now. I'm taking 5 pills of prednisone, sometimes 6 daily for over a year. I've gained 40 lbs. I have hives so badly that the prednisone doesn't work so I have to go to Urgent Care or the Hosp for a shot. I just started seeing an Allergist. Extensive tests all come back negative. He wants to put me in a study I'm at the end of my rope with this. I wish I could have an operation that disables this function from happening but I doubt it's possible.

Payette1137 27 Aug 2015

To add from my last comment, I'm a 53 year old female. It was seven years ago almost to the day when I experienced my first episode outbreak of hives.

Laurif 16 Feb 2016

Hi, just wanted to let you know about a immune disorder called hypocomplementia urticarial vasculitis.. thats what i was diagnosed with after seeing several different doctor's, even allergists. A rheumatologist is pretty much only doctor's that know what it is. I had biopsy of a hive thats how its confirmed. Hopefully this help you out.. i know the frustration with hives and why I was getting them. .

mariekv 15 Apr 2016

HI, I am 65 years old and have been taking prednisone for 2 years. (liver transplant) I have gained over 25 pounds. I was 115 lbs and I am 5 feet 2inches tall. I have always been very active and athletic. Since my operation I have doubled my excercise routine. Alas, to no avail! The only strange change in my diet is that I crave proteins and more salty items. This is directly opposite of what I enjoyed my WHOLE life--SWEETS, I ate, for real, at least 2000 calories a day just in sweets! I have been a size 3 to 7 my whole life! Now, I can't look at sweets. I don't understand, but it has truly made me depressed in the area of my appearance. I'm OK in my basic outlook on life which is good for me. Does anyone else share any of these any of these feelings? Thank you, Marie

Jeanot12 7 Jul 2016

I already gained 7 lbs in a week from 40mg daily trying to stop the eczema itching. One year and 5 docs later, no relief. Decided to send all my records and biopsies to Mayo for a consult. I'm desperate for relief and ready to just about try anything. Otherwise a healthy guy and very active at 70, but as eczema sufferers know, this can be a nightmare to endure.

Debbie1129 29 Jul 2016

Paulette, I became very ill, fever, swollen glands and my gums hurt. I thought maybe it was the flu. The next day I broke out in a rash that looked like big bites but eventually they spread out in large circles. I had biopsies done and it kept coming back negative until my doctor told them to check for Sweet Syndrome and that's what I have. I'm on a very high dose boost of predisone and I'm finally starting to feel better. Have them check you for that. Good luck to you.

Sirpwd 23 Sep 2016

I have been battling angio edema for a year now and not one doctor, and I've seen them all, could tell me what to do. I've been on a half dose, five mg, of prednisone to keep the facial swelling down. I go on Tuesday to start treatment with Xolair. I pray this works an I can get off of the prednisone, Allergra and Ranitidine that I take twice a day. I have gained about ten pounds from that stuff and feel awful. I need to get my life back and hopefully Xolair will help me do that.

Seriditide 15 Mar 2018

Incorrect. Prednisone, a corticosteroid feeds back on DHEA production by the adrenal cortex so catabolic processes i.e. breakdown dominate so breakdown of body occurs. Like accelerated aging.

Food is preferentially turned into fat, leaving hunger. Keeping track of diet does not alter this. Heavy exercise to reduce sarcopenia i.e. muscle loss, strips protein from inner organs.
Watching your diet is just watching, it will not grow back hair under the armpits, on arms or head or thicken skin.

IamauntyPB 11 Mar 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

Shegee 23 Mar 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.

Kurt Wetzel 19 Apr 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.

ablueyedsissy 28 Apr 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
DrDonovan 25 Jun 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
Sabra Lily 20 Jul 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.

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
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
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
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
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
Uppermissi 14 Mar 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 free discount card

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