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Prescription Meds Might Be Making You Fat

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There's one side effect that might be neglected in the ads for certain medications taken by millions of Americans for mood disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic conditions:

Weight Gain.

That's like adding insult to injury. You're sick and have to take medication to help, but whomp whomp — it'll also make you fat.

Here's what the doctors are saying:

"Some medicines make an early, noticeable difference, causing patients to become ravenously hungry, while changes are subtle for others. A few months taking them and you've gained 10 pounds."

Luckily, we have a list of offending meds for you:

Mood-disorder drugs that can add weight include the antipsychotics Clozaril (clozapine), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Risperdal (risperidone) and Seroquel (quetiapine). Lithium, valproic acid (Depakote) and carbamazepine (Tegretol) can also put on the pounds.

These make you hungrier.

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).

You can make diet changes to counteract these: more fiber, for one.

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.

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

Weight-loss or weight-neutral alternatives exist for oral diabetes meds: Byetta (exenatide), Januvia (sitagliptin), Symlin (pramlintide), Precose (acarbose) and metformin (Biguanides).
Epilepsy drugs prevent seizures. Some, like carbamazepine and Neurontin (gabapentin), can cause weight gain. Possible alternatives are Lamictal (lamotrigine), Topamax (topiramate) and Zonegran (zonisamide).

The hard part is this: if these meds are working for you, should you switch to something else that might not work as well, just because of a little weight?

We'd say no. As long as they're taking care of a larger issue, you shouldn't worry so much about what weight gain might come with it.

It's all about your own comfort level, though! Just don't risk your health over 10 pounds!

[Image via AP Images.]

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