Long-term systemic glucocorticoid therapy and weight gain: a population-based cohort study

To describe the variation in weight gain in people chronically exposed to systemic glucocorticoids in primary care and to identify the risk factors for weight gain.|Data were analysed from the British database, The Health Improvement Network. Body weight variations of individuals prescribed systemic glucocorticoids for at least 3 months at a mean dose ≥10 mg/day were described. The risk factors associated with weight gain ≥10% of the usual weight were assessed.|A total of 31 516 adults prescribed glucocorticoids and 26 967 controls were included in the study. During glucocorticoid exposure, only 12 475 (39.6%) individuals gained >2 kg compared with their usual weight. Younger women were more likely to gain weight (mean weight gain in 18-39-year-old glucocorticoid-exposed women: 3.6 kg (s.d. 8.6) compared with 2 kg (s.d. 7.3) in the control group; the absolute mean difference was 1.6 kg (95% CI 0.9, 2.2; P < 0.001).

Weight gain ≥10% of the usual weight was observed in 10.2% (n = 3208) of those chronically exposed to glucocorticoids. Women, younger people, those living in areas of higher deprivation, smokers, those on higher doses of the drug and those previously exposed to glucocorticoids were at higher risk. The risk was lower in people prescribed glucocorticoids for an inflammatory condition when compared with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.|After taking into account usual weight rather than weight just before glucocorticoid initiation and the natural history of weight variation, the amount of weight gain induced by systemic glucocorticoids as prescribed in primary care is less than usually thought.


Authors: Fardet, L.; Nazareth, I.; Petersen, I.

Ttile: Long-term systemic glucocorticoid therapy and weight gain: a population-based cohort study

Year: 2020

Journal: Rheumatology (Oxford)

Pubmed Link: click here

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