Can Beta Blockers Encourage Weight Gain? Aussie Study Says Yes

Beta blockers, which many people with diabetes take to control high blood pressure, may be one of the reasons why type 2s often tend to gain and keep weight. That’s the conclusion of a study from St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia.

Researchers there looked at 11,438 adult patients who had high blood pressure or diabetes or both. They found that the patients taking beta blockers averaged from 11 to 37 pounds heavier than those not taking beta blockers. The beta blocker users typically burned 30 to 50 percent fewer calories after meals than their non-beta blocker-taking counterparts.

The research confirms what scientists have long known about beta blockers, that they often lead to weight gain in people taking them. Combined with sedentary lifestyles and poor diets, they are one more factor in the tendency to overweight, and even obesity, that challenges many type 2 people.

Beta blockers commonly associated with weight gain are atenolol and metoprolol, which have been around since the 1970s. A newer beta blocker, carvedilol, is said to carry less risk of weight gain. Other drugs that can add to weight gain include antidepressants and corticosteroids.

A synopsis of the study has been published in the International Journal of Obesity.

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