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Diabetes Medication Side Effects Can Make You Fatter

Diabetes Medication side effects are also common. Why? The main goal of a type 2 diabetes medication is to help bring down your hemoglobin A1C, the three month measure of blood sugar, to around 7.0% or lower.

It is not to boost energy, burn fat, or pose zero risk to our organs. In fact, depending on the drug and the patient, if a diabetes medication can help significantly lower the A1C with only a marginal detriment to a patient’s weight, energy, or heart, liver, or kidneys, then that is considered acceptable.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a diabetes medication if it can help you lose weight, have the energy to exercise, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and of course improve our blood sugar while posing little or no risk to our organs. However, there is no drug for type 2 diabetes that does all of that.

To be clear, we don’t advise that you stop taking any of your diabetes medication without your doctor’s explicit approval (and hey, doctors are helping you treat this disease with the best tools they’ve been given). But a question that we’ve never seen asked is:

What are the worst diabetes medication side effects for each drug?

After all, if the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is saying that weight loss, not taking medication, is the single best control for type 2 diabetes, but fat gain is one of the biggest diabetes medication side effects, then don’t we have a disconnect?

Type II Diabetes Medication


Side Effects

Average A1C Improvement

Effect On Weight



Vitamin B-12 deficiency, GI issues, Lactic Acidosis (rare)


Weight Loss


Amaryl, Diabeta, Glucotrol

Hypoglycemia, weight gain


Weight Gain

Thiazolidinediones (TZD’s)

Avandia, Actos

Weight gain, fluid retention, increased death from heart disease


Weight Gain


Starlix, Prandin

Hypoglycemia, weight gain


Weight Gain

Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors

Precose, Glyset

Gas, bloating


Little Change

DPP-4 Inhibitors

Januvia, Onglyza

Common cold symptoms, Pancreatitis, greater cancer risk


Little Change

GLP-1 Agonists




Weight Loss

Ergot Alkaloids


Nausea, headaches, vomiting, hypotension


Little Change


Humalog, Humulin, Lantus

Hypoglycemia, weight gain

Can completely normalize A1C

Weight Gain

As you can see some drugs cause weight gain, some weight loss, and some have no effect, but all help lower the A1C. Therefore, to stay compliant with the American Diabetes Association, before turning to any medication to control your diabetes, we should first ask if weight gain is one of the diabetes medication side effects, because then it’s a hindrance to controlling diabetes through diet, exercise, and weight loss.

You’ll find no mixed messages like that at UltimateWeightLossRx.

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