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Study finds injectable birth control causes significant weight gain and changes in body mass
Date:3/4/2009

this method and selected another form of birth control were followed for up to two additional years. Throughout the course of the study, researchers compared changes in body weight and composition and took into account the influence of age, race, caloric intake and exercise, among other factors.

When researchers compared all three groups, DMPA users were more than twice as likely as women using nonhormonal or oral birth control to become obese over the next three years. "The findings are worrisome; however, more research is needed to determine if DMPA use directly contributes to obesity-related conditions and puts patients' overall health at risk," said Berenson.

Women using oral contraception did not gain more weight than those using a nonhormonal form of birth control. However, the study found that their body fat increased slightly while their lean body mass (muscle) decreased. Researchers said this was less likely among those women who exercised regularly and consumed a healthy diet that included increased protein intake.

The study will enable physicians to counsel women accurately about the body changes associated with widely used forms of contraception and also shed light on how weight gain might be reversed, said Berenson.

According to Berenson, the mechanism by which DMPA causes an increase in weight gain and fat mass is not known, and no connection was found between DMPA use and caloric intake, fat consumption or amount of exercise on body mass changes. The findings seem to argue against the theory that weight gain could be due to the drug's perceived effects on increased caloric intake and decreased energy expenditure, but ongoing research is needed to confirm or discount varying possible explanations, she said.

UTMB researchers are conducting follow-up studies to determine which subset of women is most likely to gain weight on DMPA. Berenson noted that in ongoing research, preliminary data has shown that
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Contact: Olivia Goodman
olivia.goodman@gabbe.com
212-220-4444
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

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