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Medications that cause weight gain and alternatives in Canada: a narrative review

Authors Wharton S, Raiber L, Serodio KJ, Lee J, Christensen RAG

Received 17 April 2018

Accepted for publication 2 June 2018

Published 21 August 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 427—438


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ming-Hui Zou

Sean Wharton,1,2 Lilian Raiber,1 Kristin J Serodio,1 Jasmine Lee,1 Rebecca AG Christensen1

1The Wharton Medical Clinic, Toronto, Canada; 2School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Canada

Background: The cause of the obesity epidemic is multifactorial, but may, in part, be related to medication-induced weight gain. While clinicians may strive to do their best to select pharmacotherapy(ies) that has the least negative impact on weight, the literature regarding the weight effects of medication is often limited and devoid of alternative therapies.
Results: Antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihyperglycemics, antihypertensives and corticosteroids all contain medications that were associated with significant weight gain. However, there are several medication alternatives within the majority of these classes associated with weight neutral or even weight loss effects. Further, while not all of the classes of medication examined in this review have weight-favorable alternatives, there exist many other tools to mitigate weight gain associated with medication use, such as changes in dosing, medication delivery or the use of adjunctive therapies.
Conclusion: Medication-induced weight gain can be frustrating for both the patient and the clinician. As the use of pharmaceuticals continues to increase, it is pertinent for clinicians to consider the weight effects of medications prior to prescribing or in the course of treatment. In the case where it is not feasible to make changes to medication, adjunctive therapies should be considered.

Keywords: weight gain, weight loss, weight neutral, adverse effects of medications, obesity, adjunctive therapy

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