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Drug-induced weight loss
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Drug-induced weight loss

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Contributors: Michael W. Winter MD, Paritosh Prasad MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

Drug-induced weight loss is the involuntary loss of body weight as an attributable side effect of a particular medication or substance of abuse. The etiology for weight loss varies depending on the medication. Some medications increase the underlying metabolic rate (either directly or through hormonal effects) resulting in weight loss, while other medications cause anorexia, nausea, dyspepsia, or dysgeusia, all of which can result in weight loss from decreased caloric intake. Patients abusing stimulant medications such as cocaine or amphetamines often experience weight loss. Alcohol use disorder is often associated with malnutrition and subsequent weight loss.

Medications associated with weight loss include antibiotics, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, sedatives, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antiretrovirals, anticonvulsants, antifungals, antidiabetics, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and alkylating agents.

Weight loss as an adverse effect from a medication can occur slowly, often over a period of several months. It is important for physicians to monitor their patients closely after initiating treatment with medications placing patients at risk for unintentional weight loss with surveillance office visits, as early recognition is the ideal management strategy. Often through dose adjustments, medication changes, or nutrition consultation, the downstream sequelae of malnutrition can be averted.

Codes

ICD10CM:
T50.995A – Adverse effect of other drugs, medicaments and biological substances, initial encounter

SNOMEDCT:
89362005 – Weight loss

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Therapy

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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References

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Last Reviewed: 12/13/2018
Last Updated: 07/19/2019
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Drug-induced weight loss
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Drug-induced weight loss : Weight loss
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