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Prescription Meds Can Put on Unwanted Pounds
Date:3/2/2012

that less-than-perfect adherence to prescribed medications is common, regardless of whether they affect a patient's weight.

With antipsychotic meds, Roux said, a challenge is that once people feel better they may stop taking them. When drugs like Zyprexa -- used in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder -- cause weight gain of 20 pounds and upward, that's another barrier to treatment adherence.

Blood pressure medicines that can cause weight gain include Lopressor (metoprolol), Tenormin (atenolol), Inderal (propranolol), Norvasc (amlodipine) and clonidine (Catapres).

Cheskin said dietary changes can help counterbalance the effects of these medications. "I recommend increasing fiber content and water, and lowering calorie density. Spread out calories over several meals, five or six a day, instead of saving it all for dinner."

Corticosteroids such as prednisone and methylprednisolone, are important for treating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and some types of cancer, but they're notorious for adding weight.

"With steroids, you're talking about putting on fat stores," Roux said. Extra weight may deposit around the body's trunk, he said, and people often retain salt and fluid.

Rather than giving up on the drug, Cheskin said, "Please talk to your doctor to see if there's an alternative. With steroids, you might be able take them every other day or in smaller doses. But there's no real substitute for steroids if you need steroids."

Diabetes drugs, including oral medications like Actos (pioglitazone) and Amaryl (glimepiride), promote weight gain, as does insulin.

"With insulin, a lot of it is the chicken and the egg," Cheskin said. "People who are obese become diabetic, and people who are diabetic have mechanisms that make them less responsive to dietary changes."

Weight-loss or weight-neutral alternatives exist for oral diabetes meds: Byetta (exenatide), Januvia (sitagliptin), Symlin (pr
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