Are Blood Pressure Drugs Contributing to the Obesity Epidemic?

A new report based on a recent study conducted in Australia has found that the routinely prescribedblood pressure medication (beta blockers) could be fuelling the obesity epidemic. It is likely that beta blockers actually inhibit the body’s ability to burn calories and this causes fat deposits to build up over time, the researchers led by Dr. Paul Lee at the St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney think.


For a while now, medical professionals have found that traditional blood pressure medications like atenolol (Tenormin) and metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL) may contribute to weight gain.

Newer formulations such as carvedilol (Coreg) are seen to be less likely to cause the side effect of weight gain.

When researchers examined subjects with diabetes or high blood pressure, they found that the individuals on beta blocker medication weighed more and had bigger waistlines as well.

It was also found that people who were on the medication burnt fewer calories after eating and that they had lower levels of physical activity in their everyday lives.

So, based on the kind of difference that beta blockers can make to the way in which the body burns and expends calories, researchers arrived at the view that in a sense beta blockers were contributing to and fueling the obesity epidemic that we see today.