New national study investigates prescription medications and weight gain

David M. Janicke, Ph.D.

David M. Janicke, Ph.D., ABPP, will serve as OneFlorida site principal investigator for MedWeight, a national study that will examine how long-term use of certain prescription medications influences weight, risk for diabetes, and cholesterol. The 4-year study, led by Jason Block, M.D., MPH, at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Harvard Medical School in Boston, is funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

“Medication-induced weight gain is a common factor driving patient nonadherence,” said Janicke, a professor in UF Health’s department of clinical and health psychology. Weight gain associated with prescription medication use also increases obesity-related health risks for individual patients and contributes to the nation’s obesity epidemic.

The researchers will use electronic health records from 19 diverse healthcare institutions across three PCORnet CRNs, including PEDSnet, OneFlorida and Mid-South, along with Kaiser Permanente Colorado, to investigate weight gain, risk for diabetes, and cholesterol in children and adults associated with five classes of common prescription medications: diabetes medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics, anticonvulsant drugs prescribed for seizure disorders, and antihypertensive medications. The team will evaluate how the drugs influence weight, risk for diabetes, and cholesterol up to 10.5 years after patients began using them.

“This will be the largest, most comprehensive study of medication-induced weight gain and metabolic risk across the lifespan to date,” Janicke said. In 2017, Janicke served as the OneFlorida site PI for the PCORnet Antibiotics and Childhood Growth Study Group, which explored the connection between early exposure to antibiotics and childhood obesity.

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