Weight Loss

Prescription Weight Loss Medications: Can They Cause Joint Pain?

Key Takeaways
  • There is no known connection between weight loss medication and joint pain. In fact, there is some belief that weight loss medications may even improve joint pain symptoms.
  • You should not experience joint pain from WL medications. If you believe you could be having a side effect from your medications, be sure to talk to your healthcare practitioner right away.
  • For joint pain unrelated to weight loss medications, common over-the-counter painkillers may be the right choice for you. However, long-term or severe joint pain should be investigated by your healthcare practitioner.

Is Joint Pain a Side Effect of Weight Loss Medications?

Even with all the studies that have been done on weight loss medications, no link has been found between weight loss medications and new or increased joint pain symptoms.

There are a number of patients that find the opposite is actually true. Because they’re living in larger bodies, it puts greater strain on their muscles and joints over time.

The more mass we have the more strain this puts on these parts of our bodies. Eventually, this can start to cause aches, pains, or general soreness.

As weight loss progresses and the stress on joints may be reduced, some people may experience a reduction of joint pain symptoms and weight loss in tandem.

Do Weight Loss Medications Cause Inflammation?

Another common contributing factor to joint pain is inflammation.

If your body is producing an inflammatory response non-stop, even when the initial source of danger is gone, it’s known as chronic inflammation. This consistent inflammatory response can be painful, and may even damage healthy tissue.

Studies so far show that weight loss medications may lower inflammation. That’s because weight loss in general, whether achieved with the use of weight-loss medications or not, may reduce low-grade chronic inflammation.

Through this reduction in chronic inflammation, some people may find this to be another way in which weight loss meds help to reduce joint pain..

Weight Loss Medications & Their impact on Joint Health and Bone Density

The latest data indicate that weight loss medications have a neutral effect on bone health and rates of bone fracture (Medicina).

This means there is likely no cause for concern that using weight loss medications will negatively impact joint health or bone density.

Actually, there is some indication that they may improve bone density over time by impacting bone metabolism, allowing more bone to build up. However, further studies are needed to confirm this.

How to Manage Joint Pain While Using Weight Loss Medications

While weight loss medications won’t cause joint pain, you may still experience it due to other underlying causes. In this case, the regular joint health advice you followed before taking your new medication still applies.

Talk to your physiotherapist, orthopedist, or other licensed healthcare practitioner about medical and lifestyle interventions you can use to improve your joint pain, like low-impact physical activity and diet modifications.

Over-the-counter pain medications don’t typically interact with weight loss medications, but always check with your pharmacist to confirm that you can safely manage pain by using the pain meds you’re familiar with. 

Have more burning questions about weight loss medications? Check out the Felix blog for more information. If you think prescription weight loss treatment might be right for you, start an online visit with Felix to see if you qualify.

Should I Talk to My Healthcare Practitioner?

Are you experiencing joint pain? Have you been considering starting weight loss medications, but you’re worried about the potential side effects? Have you started to experience joint pain during rapid weight loss?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you should definitely talk to your healthcare practitioner at Felix.

With Felix in your corner, you can continue your weight management journey with the support of our experienced healthcare practitioners. Together, we can help you take back control of your weight and your health, so you can get back to living life on your terms.

NOTE: When we refer to weight loss medications, we specifically mean a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. These are drugs that mimic a naturally occurring hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1. They work by regulating hunger signals in the brain and slowing down the rate at which the stomach empties after a meal, increasing the feeling of fullness. 

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