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Medication Use Linked to Weight Gain in Postmenopausal Women

Use of antidepressants, beta-blockers, insulin linked to increase in BMI, waist circumference

menopausal woman and doctor

WEDNESDAY, July 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For postmenopausal women, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and insulin are associated with weight gain over three years, according to a study published online July 15 in Menopause.

Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective observational study involving a cohort of 76,252 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years with weight measured at baseline and three years. Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) measurements were conducted at baseline and three years, and the association between use of weight-promoting medications with change in BMI and WC was examined.

The researchers found that overweight or obese women at baseline were more likely to be taking antidepressants, beta-blockers, and/or insulin. During the course of three years, taking at least one putative weight-promoting medication correlated with a greater increase in BMI and WC compared with not taking these medications (0.37 versus 0.27 kg/m³ 1.10 versus 0.89 cm). An increase in both BMI and WC was seen with the number of weight-promoting drugs prescribed. Compared with nonusers, those who took either antidepressants or insulin or a combination of antidepressants and beta-blockers were more likely to have a significant increase in BMI.

"Information about weight-promoting medications may help to inform clinical decision-making and support increased attention to lifestyle modifications and other strategies to mitigate these side effects," the authors write.

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