Background: Although the use of corticosteroids has been linked to high incidence of weight gain, no data are available concerning the differences in corticosteroid use between a diverse obese population and non-obese individuals. The main purpose of this study was to systematically explore the use of corticosteroids in obese subjects compared to non-obese controls. In addition, we also explored self-reported marked weight gain within obese subjects. Methods: Two hundred seventy-four obese outpatients (median [range] BMI: 40.1 kg/m2 [30.5-67.0]), and 526 non-obese controls (BMI: 24.1 kg/m2 [18.6-29.9]) from two different Dutch cohort studies were included. Corticosteroid use at the time of clinic or research site visit for up to the preceding three months was recorded in detail. Medical records and clinical data were evaluated with regard to age and body mass index in relation to corticosteroid use, single or multiple type use, and administration forms. Results: Recent corticosteroid use was nearly twice as high for obese subjects than for non-obese controls (27.0% vs. 11.9% and 14.8%, both P<.001). Largest differences were found for use of local corticosteroids, in particular inhaled forms, and simultaneous use of multiple types. Marked weight gain was self-reported during corticosteroid use in 10.5% of the obese users. Conclusion: Corticosteroid use, especially the inhaled agents, is higher in obese than in non-obese individuals. Considering the potential systemic effects of also local corticosteroids, caution is warranted on the increasing use in the general population and on its associations with weight gain.

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Keywords Adverse effects, Corticosteroids, Obesity
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Journal International Journal of Medical Sciences
Savas, M, Wester, V.L, Staufenbiel, S.M, Koper, J.W, van den Akker, E.L.T, Visser, J.A, … van Rossum, E.F.C. (2017). Systematic evaluation of corticosteroid use in obese and non-obese individuals: A multi-cohort study. International Journal of Medical Sciences, 14(7), 615–621. doi:10.7150/ijms.19213