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Using Diet Pills

Weight loss pills and diet drugs are not the solution for fast or easy weight loss.

Facts about Diet Pills

  • All serious diet or weight loss pills are designed for overweight people suffering from obesity. They are anti-obesity drugs - not pills for fast or easy weight loss.

  • Diet pills, supplements, drugs and other weight loss medications are not going to melt away your fat and solve your weight problem by themselves. Most weight loss trials show that diet pills offer (at best) short term support.
  • When using diet pills, make them part of comprehensive weight-loss program that includes regular exercise and a healthy low-calorie diet. Otherwise instead of losing weight, all you'll lose is money.

  • Beware over-the-counter diet pills, weight loss products and dietary supplements. These weight loss products are NOT regulated, contain active ingredients which have no proven weight loss benefits, and may damage your weight and health.

  • Beware diet pills advertised as "Natural" or "Herbal". Weight loss pills are not necessarily healthier or more effective for weight loss because they contain so-called natural ingredients. Herbal ingredients of diet pills are linked to a wide range of health problems.

  • Beware diet pills called 'fat-burners' when trying to lose weight. The only effective and safe way to directly raise metabolism and burn fat is to increase exercise.

  • If thinking of buying diet pills, always consult your doctor FIRST. Discuss your weight-loss options fully, and ask about all the known side effects and health risks of the diet and weight loss pills suggested.

  • When taking diet pills, ALWAYS follow the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Don't stay on diet pills for more than 4-6 weeks without consulting your doctor.

Potential Benefits of Diet Pills

Over the short term, weight loss in obese individuals may reduce a number of health risks. Studies looking at the effects of weight-loss medication treatment on obesity-related health risks have found that some diet pills lower blood pressure, blood cholesterol, triglycerides (fats) and decrease insulin resistance (the body's inability to use blood sugar) over the short term. However, long-term studies are needed to determine if diet and weight loss pills can improve health.

Potential Risks of Diet Pills

When considering long-term weight-loss medication treatment for obesity, you should consider the following areas of concern and potential risks.

Abuse of, or dependence on diet pills - Currently, all prescription drugs to treat obesity are controlled substances, meaning doctors need to follow certain restrictions when prescribing weight-loss medications. Although abuse and dependence are not common with non-amphetamine appetite suppressant medications, doctors should be cautious when they prescribe these medications for patients with a history of alcohol or other drug abuse.

Development of tolerance to diet pills - Most studies of weight-loss drugs show that a patient's weight tends to level off after four to six months while still on medication. While some patients and physicians may be concerned that this shows tolerance to the diet pills, the leveling off may mean that the medication has reached its limit of effectiveness. Based on the currently available studies, it is not clear if weight gain with continuing treatment is due to drug tolerance.

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Appetite Suppressants

Appetite suppressant medications are not "magic bullets," or a one-shot fix. They cannot take the place of improving one's diet and becoming more physically active. The major role of medications appears to be to help a person stay on a healthy diet and exercise plan to lose weight and keep it off.

Side Effects of Diet Pills

Because weight-loss medications are used to treat a condition that affects millions of people, many of whom are basically healthy, their potential for side effects is of great concern. Most side effects of these medications are mild and usually improve with continued treatment. Rarely, serious and even fatal outcomes have been reported.

Two approved appetite suppressant diet pills that affect serotonin release and reuptake have been withdrawn from the market (fenfluramine, dexfenfluramine). Medications that affect catecholamine levels (such as phentermine, diethylpropion, and mazindol) may cause symptoms of sleeplessness, nervousness, and euphoria (feeling of well-being).

Meridia (Sibutramine) diet pills act on both the serotonin and catecholamine systems, but unlike fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, sibutramine does not cause release of serotonin from cells. The primary known side effects of concern with sibutramine are elevations in blood pressure and pulse, which are usually small but may be significant in some patients. People with poorly controlled high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heart beat, or history of stroke should not take sibutramine, and all patients taking the medication should have their blood pressure monitored on a regular basis.

Xenical (Orlistat) diet pills have side effects which include: oily spotting, gas with discharge, urgent need to go to the bathroom, oily or fatty stools, an oily discharge, increased number of bowel movements, and inability to control bowel movements. These side effects are generally mild and temporary, but may be worsened by eating foods that are high in fat. Also, because orlistat reduces the absorption of some vitamins, patients should take a multivitamin at least 2 hours before or after taking orlistat.

For more information and advice about prescription-only diet pills, over-the-counter weight loss pills, dietary supplements and active ingredients in fat-burners and herbal diet pills, click the links at the top of the page.

Diet & Weight Loss Pills
Diet and weight loss drugs or pills, whether prescription or over-the-counter weight loss supplements, are only effective when combined with a healthy diet and exercise plan.


Guide to Pharmaceutical Medications to Reduce Obesity

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Advice About Supplements to Lose Weight

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Dietary and Weight Management Information

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No advice given here is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. For the sake of your health, always consult your doctor before taking any weight loss pharmaceuticals or dietary supplements. Copyright 2001-2017 Diet Information. All rights reserved.