In episode #15 of the Top Lung Health podcast I discuss whether inhalers cause weight gain.
Many inhalers contain a low dose of corticosteroids, however this dose is usually too low to cause any significant side effects throughout the body. As I explained in another article, inhalers allow the medication to be delivered directly to the airways, where it acts. Most inhaled medication is not absorbed at a significant level in the rest of the body. This is unlike tablets, which need to dissolve in the body’s fluids at a sufficient concentration to cause an effect in distant organs. Weight gain directly linked to inhalers would be extremely unlikely.
Most often there are other issues at play, such as deconditioning. People with chronic respiratory disease often end up being less and less active due to their symptoms. This in turn leads to muscle wasting and worse capacity to exercise. It is a vicious circle that can be hard to break. Similarly, other concurrent medical problems may contribute to weight gain.