Enalapril and Weight Gain

Based on data from clinical trials, it does not appear that there is a relationship between enalapril and weight gain; however, it is impossible to say with any certainty that enalapril is not responsible for weight gain in any individual case. If you are taking enalapril and experience a gradual weight gain, you might want to try making changes to your diet and exercise habits. Rapid weight gain (more than 3 to 5 pounds in a week) is a possible symptom of congestive heart failure; contact your healthcare provider if you experience unexplained rapid weight gain.

Enalapril and Weight Gain: An Overview

There are a number of possible side effects with enalapril (available as Vasotec® and generic Enalapril Maleate). Gradual weight gain, however, does not appear to be one of them. This is based on data from clinical trials where enalapril was extensively studied and its side effects were documented.
One thing to keep in mind is that rapid weight gain (more than 3 to 5 pounds in a week) is a possible sign of congestive heart failure. Therefore, if you have unexplained rapid weight gain, shortness of breath, or swelling of the feet, ankles, or legs, contact your healthcare provider.
(See Symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure for more symptoms associated with congestive heart failure.)

Enalapril and Weight Gain: Understanding Clinical Trials

Before medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies where thousands of people are given a particular medicine and compared to a group of people not given the medicine. In these studies, side effects are always documented. This way, it is possible to see:
  • What side effects occur
  • How often they appear
  • How they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
Side effects are then usually separated into those that occur in more than 1 percent of people and those that occur in less than 1 percent of people. Weight gain with enalapril was not reported as either a common or rare side effect during these studies.
Yet clinical trials are designed to factor out many possible variables in order to understand whether the medicine works and its possible side effects. This means that once approved, it is possible that new side effects may occur now that a wider range of people are taking the medicine and for longer periods of time. However, once a medicine is approved, a drug does not usually continue to be studied, so certain side effects that occur very rarely may never be documented, especially if it is not a serious side effect. In an individual case, it can be very difficult to say with complete certainty that a particular complaint is not a side effect of a medication -- even if it was not reported during clinical trials.
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Enalapril Medication

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