Medicines That Increase Triglycerides

Man taking pills
Some medications can cause high triglyceride levels in the blood. (Image: outline205/iStock/GettyImages)

High levels of triglyceride, a type of fat which supplies energy to the body, in the bloodstream can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, Medline Plus warns.

While the tendency to develop high triglyceride levels can be inherited, triglyceride levels can also rise due to medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity and liver disease. Certain types of medications also can raise triglyceride levels over the normal limit of 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotic medications are given to treat disorders such as bipolar disease and schizophrenia. Some antipsychotic medications can raise triglyceride levels, particularly medications classed as atypical, which includes clozapine (Clozaril) and olanzapine (Zyprexa), Deborah Antai-Otong reported in the April-June 2004 issue of “Perspectives in Psychiatric Care”.

Blood Pressure Medications

Several types of blood pressure medications can affect triglyceride levels. Diuretics — which decrease the blood volume to lower the amount of blood being forced through the blood vessels — in doses greater than 50 milligrams per day can increase triglyceride levels, the Mayo Clinic reports. This effect may resolve within a year.

Beta blockers are another class of medication used to lower blood pressure. Beta blockers work by blocking the effects of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, on the body. Beta blockers slow the heart rate, so it requires less oxygen and blood to effectively pump.

Beta blockers can also raise triglycerides levels slightly, although the effect may be temporary. Older classes of beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor) and propanolol (Inderal) are more likely to raise triglyceride levels than newer beta blockers such as carvedilol (Coreg) and nebivolol (Bystolic), Mayo further explains.

Estrogen

Estrogen in synthetic form is found in birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Estrogen can raise triglyceride levels, but this may be offset by the synthetic progesterone, or progestin, in the birth control pill, which lowers triglyceride levels, according to MSN Health and Fitness.

Retinoids

Retinoids are medications used to treat acne. One well-known retinoid is isotretinoin (Accutane). Since retinoids raise triglyceride levels, most doctors check triglyceride levels before starting the medication and every four to six weeks thereafter, as long as a person is taking the medication, the University of Michigan Health System states.

Steroids

Steroid medications are often prescribed to reduce inflammation. Many people also take anabolic steroids to build body mass. Both types of steroids can raise triglyceride levels. Steroids also increase appetite, which can increase the intake of foods with high levels of fat that raise levels further, Marcel Casavant, MD, of Ohio State University explains on Net Wellness.

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