Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Nutrition
Many Americans take stimulant medications daily to manage conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, depression, and narcolepsy. One common side effect is weight loss. Studies have shown reductions in patient body weight by as much as 10% in the first six months of stimulant treatment (Goldfield). Though many studies have observed this pattern, few have evaluated interventions to prevent it. This may be in part because in the United States, weight loss is almost always regarded as a positive outcome. Unfortunately, the reality is that some patients rely on stimulant medication to function, yet can become malnourished as a result. This paper will investigate the literature for mechanisms of that weight loss and strategies to prevent it.