Use of prescription medications associated with weight gain among US adults, 1999–2018: A nationally representative survey
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Use of prescription medications associated with weight gain among US adults, 1999–2018: A nationally representative survey

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  • Details:

    • Alternative Title:
      Obesity (Silver Spring)
    • Description:

      This study aimed to evaluate trends in the use of obesogenic medications among adults.


      Cross-sectional data on adults aged ≥20 years are from the 1999 to 2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n = 52,340). Obesogenic medications were defined according to the 2015 Endocrine Society guidelines on the pharmacological management of obesity. Weight status was categorized according to BMI. Trends in prior 30-day use were evaluated.


      In NHANES 2017–2018, 20.3% of US adults used an obesogenic medication. Beta-blockers (9.8%) and antidiabetics (5.7%) were the most common; antipsychotics (1.0%) were the least common. Most common indications were disorders of glucose metabolism, hypertension, neuralgia or neuritis, heart disease, and musculoskeletal pain and/or inflammation. From 1999 to 2018, the proportional use of obesogenic medications increased for anticonvulsants (34.4% to 55.0%) but decreased for antidepressants (32.1% to 18.8%), antidiabetics (82.9% to 52.5%), and beta-blockers (83.9% to 80.7%). The proportional use of obesogenic medications was not associated with weight status, except for antipsychotics.


      Use of obesogenic medications was common. Differences in the proportional use of obesogenic medication may reflect changing availability of obesogenic versus nonobesogenic medications over time. The decision to prescribe a nonobesogenic alternative, if one exists, is guided by weighing the risks and benefits of available treatments.

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