Medications

It is a common fact that doctors may prescribe medications to reduce triglycerides from the blood stream of a patient, if it is necessary. However, many of us are unaware that other than the medicines that lower triglycerides, there are also medications that may raise triglyceride levels. More often than not, these are medicines that are usually prescribed for a problem that has nothing to do with triglycerides directly. It has therefore been established that certain medications can be responsible for high triglycerides as well. If the reason for one’s triglyceride increase is indeed a medicine of some sort, then it might have to be stopped or restricted, but it is up to the doctor to decide. Here are a few of the medications that could be responsible for blood triglyceride increase:

  • Contraceptive pills are used for birth-control by a lot of women around the world and they might be responsible for triglyceride growth in a small proportion of them. It is the synthetic estrogen found in these pills, which the triglycerides might owe their origin to, but in most cases, the synthetic progesterone (known for its triglyceride reducing properties) usually cancels it out.
  • Steroids are one of those medications that might be used to increase triglycerides intentionally as anabolic steroids are often taken to build body mass (athletes like bodybuilders use them) and they are also known for their ability to increase one’s appetite. Both the hormonal changes and the increased appetite contribute to the sudden increase in blood triglyceride level. Even steroids that are prescribed to reduce inflammation can also increase triglycerides. Examples of corticosteroids include hydrocortisone and prednisone.
  • Acne is a common problem for children, teenagers and sometimes even grownups; retinoids such as isotretinoin are used to treat it by dermatologists and unfortunately for a few, these retinoids turn out to be the reason behind raised triglyceride levels.
  • Blood pressure medications are the most common culprits when it comes to medicine induced high blood triglycerides. Diuretics are used for their ability to reduce the blood volume of the person taking it and this group of meds is known for significantly raising triglycerides, especially if the daily dosage crosses 50 mg.
  • Beta blockers are a different group of blood pressure medication and they reduce blood pressure by controlling the adrenaline flow in our body. Although the rise in triglyceride levels brought on by these meds were never very high, the more recent beta blockers like carvedilol and nebivolol contribute even less to the blood triglyceride level.
  • Finally, some of the medications prescribed to mental patients can also be responsible for triglyceride growth in the blood. Atypical antipsychotics like clozapine and olanzapine, which are at times used to treat patients suffering from bipolar disorders or have schizophrenic tendencies, are known to have that effect.

Occasionally, doctors prescribe some of the steroids to intentionally increase triglycerides in patients who suffer from triglyceride deficiency (less than 35 mg/dL of blood). Mostly though, it is not an intention, but rather a side-effect.