The numbers, just like America’s waistlines, keep growing…
Earlier this year, a Harvard University study concluded that nearly half of adults in the U.S. will be obese by 2030.
Obesity is a true health scourge. It’s strongly linked to diabetes, cancer, fatty liver, heart disease, stroke, and osteoarthritis.
The problem is so bad that it even threatens national security. According to the CDC, if we had a major war, we may not have enough soldiers to fight it because one in four young adults is now too heavy to serve in the military.
Who’s to blame for this situation?
Dr. Rami Bailony says “gross negligence” on the part of the medical profession is fueling obesity. In a recent article he wrote that doctors don’t take weight gain seriously because they believe it is a “lifestyle disease.”
But at the same time, Dr. Bailony notes that they prescribe drugs that actually cause obesity.
In fact, dozens of common medications have weight gain as a side effect.
Dr. Louis Aronne is director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medical College. He said that as many as 15% of weight issues are related to medications.”
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Different types of drugs cause weight gain for different reasons.
- Mood stabilizers: These are used to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They include risperidone (Risperdal), clozapine (Clozaril), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), olanzapine (Zyprexa), and quetiapine (Seroquel). As a side effect, they increase hunger. Some people will gain as much as 11 pounds in 10 weeks.
- SSRIs. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are anti-depression medications. They include sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), mirtazapine (Remeron), and paroxetine (Paxil). These work by increasing serotonin in your brain. But they can also increase your appetite and cause your body to burn fewer calories. SSRIs can make you gain up to 24 pounds in a year.
- Corticosteroids relieve pain and inflammation. They include methylprednisolone (Medrol), prednisone (Deltasone, Prednicot), and prednisolone (Orapred, Pediapred, Prelone). They affect your metabolism and can increase your hunger, making it hard to burn fat.
- Diabetes medications. These include pioglitazone (Actos), repaglinide (Prandin), nateglinide (Starlix), glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol), and glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase). Newer ones—liraglutide (Victoza) and empagliflozin (Jardiance)—may make you gain weight initially until your body adjusts. But “some of the older drugs basically vacuum calories into fat cells,” said Dr. Aronne.
- Anti-migraine and anti-seizure drugs. They include nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), valproic acid (Depacon, Depakote, Stavzor), and amitriptyline (Elavil). Dr. Donald Waldrep is co-director of The Center for Weight Loss Surgery at California’s Los Robles Hospital. He said some of these medications “can up your appetite, lower your metabolism, and cause your body to hang on to extra fluids.”
- Antihistamines. Ones linked to weight-gain include loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), fexofenadine (Allegra).
- Beta blockers. They lower blood pressure and slow your heart rate. A side effect is that they inhibit calorie burning. Some also sap your energy, so you’re less prone to exercise. They include acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), and propranolol (Inderal).
If you are on one or more of these drugs, ask your doctor whether you can discontinue them or whether there are alternative medications that don’t cause weight gain.
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