Is There a Connection between Omeprazole and Weight Gain?

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
Less than one percent of people taking omeprazole report weight gain.
Less than one percent of people taking omeprazole report weight gain.

There may be a connection between omeprazole and weight gain, but it is a very rare one if it does exist. Weight gain is a listed possible side effect of the treatment but is only reported by less than 1% of people taking the drug. Studies have looked into the effects of omeprazole, and found that people taking the drug were more likely to gain weight than those taking a placebo. Despite these results, particularly sudden or unexpected weight gain is still a severe and unusual side effect of the treatment.

Omeprazole may be used to treat GERD.
Omeprazole may be used to treat GERD.

Most drug treatments will cause some side effects in patients, and these are classified according to their likelihood of occurring. Sudden or severe weight gain is listed as a possible side effect of omeprazole, but it occurs in only an extremely small number of patients. Arguably, it is possible that the drug’s intended effect, to reduce stomach acid for patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or ulcers, soothes the stomach and makes the patient more likely to eat. Any patient who experiences unusually sudden or severe weight gain should contact a medical professional, however, because this could be a sign of a serious adverse reaction to the treatment.

Patients suffering from serious cases of GERD may require a feeding tube.
Patients suffering from serious cases of GERD may require a feeding tube.

Studies have been conducted into the link between proton pump inhibitor drugs, such as omeprazole, and weight gain. Specifically, studies have looked at this effect in patients suffering with GERD. It has been found that an increase in weight over a two year period occurs in over 70% of patients taking this or similar drugs. The weight gain reported was only minimal, however, at around a 6% increase when compared to their baseline body weight. This small increase in body weight should be managed through diet and exercise, if possible.

GERD may cause nausea and vomiting.
GERD may cause nausea and vomiting.

Any patient who experiences a link between omeprazole and weight gain should attempt to manage the problem through lifestyle changes. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and lean meat is one way in which the problem can be managed. Patients who have trouble with weight gain should also use low-fat or fat-free alternatives to milk and avoid saturated fats and trans-fats. Getting regular exercise can also stave off weight gain.

Omeprazole, designed to reduce stomach discomfort from ulcers, may make a patient more likely to eat.
Omeprazole, designed to reduce stomach discomfort from ulcers, may make a patient more likely to eat.

Although it is unlikely, patients taking all of these precautions can still have trouble with weight gain. In less than 1% of people, diet and exercise may make little difference. Patients experiencing rapid or otherwise unusual weight gain should contact a medical professional immediately. This side effect may be a cause to stop taking the drug.

Common Side Effects of Omeprazole

As already mentioned, weight gain is a rare side effect of omeprazole. Omeprazole's most common side effects include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating. 

Severe adverse reactions from omeprazole usage are rare but allergic reactions like nausea, rash, diarrhea, and vomiting have been reported. Headaches, abdominal pain, and diarrhea were omeprazole's most frequently observed side effects.

Can Omeprazole Use Cause Bloating?

Patients who have trouble with weight gain should also use low-fat or fat-free alternatives to milk.
Patients who have trouble with weight gain should also use low-fat or fat-free alternatives to milk.

Bloating is a condition in which the belly fills up with gas and becomes tight. Abdominal bloating is usually a temporary condition and resolves on its own. Some medicines, such as omeprazole, can cause bloating. That might make the patient feel obese or overweight. Proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole delay the rate of emptying of gastric contents, which increases the chances of bloating (flatulence).

Drugs That Can Cause Weight Gain

When the lower esophageal muscle doesn't relax properly while eating, sore throat and heartburn may result.
When the lower esophageal muscle doesn't relax properly while eating, sore throat and heartburn may result.

Sometimes a patient takes more than one drug at a time for different health conditions. Various classes of drugs cause weight gain as a side effect. Drugs that most commonly cause unwanted weight gain include antidepressants, epilepsy drugs, oral steroids, heart medications (beta-blockers), and drugs for diabetes

Antidepressant drugs and oral corticosteroids are the main culprits in increasing body weight. Individuals who take omeprazole with either of the drugs might gain weight due to these drugs and not omeprazole.

Final Word

People may feel less like eating when they are experiencing symptoms of a peptic ulcer or other stomach issues.
People may feel less like eating when they are experiencing symptoms of a peptic ulcer or other stomach issues.

Though rare, there is the possibility of weight gain due to omeprazole. While you manage to shed the unwanted pounds with simple dietary and lifestyle changes, it is crucial to seek prompt medical attention if you experience sudden weight gain, as it may indicate sensitivity to the medication.

Discussion Comments

anon990293

I had been on this drug for years, as well as rantidine at night. I've been overly bloated for years with non-stop weight gain. I finally quit it all after having what felt like severe pancreatitis, no help from the doctor, as lab showed elevated amylaise, but not lipaise, so she closed the door on that dx.

However, I read up and saw that these stomach drugs do cause weight gain and pancreatitis. I stopped taking on my own. The inches seem to be melting off, my clothes fit better, the weight itself is taking it slow. I still have reflux and chest pain, but these drugs never really resolved that issue anyway.

discographer

@anamur-- You've touched on a great point. Omeprazole does reduce the absorption of vitamins, especially vitamin B12. There might be a connection between vitamin deficiencies and weight gain during proton pump inhibitor use, but I'm not sure if it applies to everyone.

I've gained twenty five pounds since I started my omeprazole treatment one year ago. But I am not over-eating, so I don't think that my weight gain is due to an increase in appetite. My doctor also told me that omeprazole is the cause and that I will probably go back to my normal weight once I stop the medication.

turquoise

I don't think weight gain on omeprazole is as rare as drug companies report. I have gained about two pounds per month on this drug and I know two other people who have gained weight on it as well.

serenesurface

My body is very prone to weight gain. I gain weight on most medicines that can cause this as a side effect, like anti-depressive medications. But I took omeprazole for about two years and didn't gain any weight. The only side effect I had was vitamin deficiency. I had to take iron and vitamin supplements throughout my treatment for this reason.

I wonder if the people who do gain weight on omeprazole do so because of vitamin deficiencies. I remember reading that vitamin deficiencies can increase appetite.

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    • Less than one percent of people taking omeprazole report weight gain.
      By: Rostislav Sedlacek
      Less than one percent of people taking omeprazole report weight gain.
    • Omeprazole may be used to treat GERD.
      By: bilderzwerg
      Omeprazole may be used to treat GERD.
    • Patients suffering from serious cases of GERD may require a feeding tube.
      By: sudok1
      Patients suffering from serious cases of GERD may require a feeding tube.
    • GERD may cause nausea and vomiting.
      By: Piotr Marcinski
      GERD may cause nausea and vomiting.
    • Omeprazole, designed to reduce stomach discomfort from ulcers, may make a patient more likely to eat.
      By: rob3000
      Omeprazole, designed to reduce stomach discomfort from ulcers, may make a patient more likely to eat.
    • Patients who have trouble with weight gain should also use low-fat or fat-free alternatives to milk.
      By: Sunshine Pics
      Patients who have trouble with weight gain should also use low-fat or fat-free alternatives to milk.
    • When the lower esophageal muscle doesn't relax properly while eating, sore throat and heartburn may result.
      By: JackF
      When the lower esophageal muscle doesn't relax properly while eating, sore throat and heartburn may result.
    • People may feel less like eating when they are experiencing symptoms of a peptic ulcer or other stomach issues.
      By: auremar
      People may feel less like eating when they are experiencing symptoms of a peptic ulcer or other stomach issues.