Changing Medications - Best Weight Loss Tip

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weight loss medications

Do medicines make people fat? Physicians may not inform patients about potential side effects, such as increased appetite, during office visits. If patients don’t ask, doctors may not take the time. They may not know, or they may worry that patients will not be compliant with a medication that might affect their weight. Drug companies that hold short clinical trials to get drugs approved might overlook weight gain as a side effect that doesn’t have time to show up in such studies.

Some Medications for Diabetes Can Add to Existing Problems

J. Mitri of Boston University Medical School wrote in an article published in the 2009 Expert Opinion in Drug Safety of concern that resulting weight gain diminishes the benefits of some medications for type II diabetics.

Thiazolidinodions, such as Avandia, Actos, and Avandamet, may further raise the risk of cardiovascular disease in diabetics by encouraging the proliferation of fat cells.

Diabetics who need to take insulin often put on pounds. This is due in part to insulin’s ability to help the body use sugar so that excess dietary carbohydrates can be stored in fat cells. But weight gain from insulin use may also result from rapid drops in blood sugar and high insulin levels, which have the effect of stimulating hunger.

Weight Gain Raises Blood Pressure, But Some Meds Contribute to Weight Gain

Thiazides, such as Diuril, and loop diuretics, such as Lasix, can raise blood sugar. Centrally acting agents such as Catapress and alpha adrenergic blockers, such as Cardura, may increase appetite. Flomax, used to treat enlarged prostate, is also an alpha adrenergic blocker. Beta blockers, such as Tenormin, Lopressor, or Inderal, have indirect effects on weight management. These medications change the way the heart responds to exercise, so fewer calories are burned during activity. All antihypertensive medications are associated with fatigue and depressed mood, curtailing motivation to exercise and eat a healthy diet.

Weight Gain is a Common Side Effect of Psychiatric Medications

Antidepressants that work by altering neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, may stimulate appetite. Popular SSRIs like Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, and Lexapro have this effect for some patients, particularly if taken for longer than six months. Older tricyclics like Elavil and Tofranil, and the seldom used MAO inhibitors such as Parnate and Nardil can also lead to weight gain even with short term use. Caution: do not stop taking antidepressants or other mental health medications abruptly, and do not change dosages without consulting a physician. Potential benefits of medicines must be weighed against potential risks.

Lithium, used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, is known to have an insulin-like effect. According to a study by Duke University researchers, which was published in the December 2005 issue of Schizophrenic Research, neuroleptic drugs used to treat psychosis are a major factor in obesity among patients who may need these medications. The development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be the result of drug-induced weight gain among those with mental illnesses, accounting at least in part for this population’s shorter average lifespan.

Corticosteroid Medications Influence Glucose Uptake

A variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and dermatitis may be treated with corticosteroids. As synthetic forms of the hormone cortisol, these drugs suppress the immune system and are used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs. Scientists at John Hopkins Weight Management Center believe these medications increase body fat, decrease muscle mass, and lower metabolic rate In addition to stimulating appetite.

Over-the-Counter Drugs Can Derail Your Diet

Histamine plays an important role in the regulation of appetite and metabolism, according to researchers at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

Antihistamines, like Benadryl, that block H1 or activate H3 receptors may lead to weight gain by thwarting the appetite suppressant effects of histamine.

Seasickness remedies, such as Dramamine, and some acid-reducer medicines such as Zantac and Tagamet are included in this family of drugs and share the same side effects.

Commonly used medications are contributing to the obesity epidemic in the United States. The side effects of drugs for some conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, allergies, and depression can make it harder to stick to a diet and exercise plan. Putting on pounds in turn can increase the risk of developing worse health problems.

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