Skip to content

When medications cause severe obesity

Many Americans could be at risk of developing drug-induced obesity (also known as iatrogenic obesity) as a result of taking certain medications, according to John Morton, MD, director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. These drugs include corticosteroids such as prednisone, certain diabetes medications, antidepressants, the seizure drug Depakote, and heartburn drugs.

Morton discussed the issue last night in an NBC Bay Area news story about 19-year-old Jena Graves, a patient of Morton's who had gained more than 150 pounds due to her lupus medication.

In my press release about Jena's story, Morton said:

Medication use is rampant in the U.S., with different medications at different stages of life causing weight gain, including: children and antibiotic use, teens and antidepressants and central nervous system stimulants, and adults with cholesterol-lowering medications, anti-rheumatism medications, anti-depressants, anti-bipolar and anti-psychotic medications, estrogen and insulin.

Patients need to be made more aware of those drugs that can cause serious weight gain. And physicians should educate patients about the risks and offer available alternatives, especially in a case like Jena’s where diet and exercise recommendations to offset the effects were out of the question.

For Jena - who was 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 268 pounds at her heaviest - bariatric surgery offered the greatest hope. Since having her surgery in June, she has shed 40 pounds and continues to lose a pound a day. The procedure also instantly reversed her obesity-related illnesses and enabled her to stop taking the majority of the 30 medications she was on prior to surgery.

Previously: For weight-loss surgery, minimally invasive procedure yields better outcomes, study findsThe challenges of dieting and the promises of bariatric surgery and Study hints at benefits of weight-loss surgery for less obese patients
Photo by RambergMediaImages

Popular posts