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Review of Weight Loss Pills or Drugs - Off-Label Use and Health Risks
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Introduction to Diet & Weight Loss Pills

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Each year, about 17.2 million Americans buy diet and weight loss pills hoping to lose weight. Using drugs to speed up weight loss, burn extra fat or control obesity has always been irresistible. Many dieters prefer to use weight loss pills or diet drugs to control their weight and shape rather than follow a healthy diet and exercise plan.

History of Diet & Weight Loss Drugs and Pills

In the 50s and 60s diet pills were mainly amphetamine derivatives (speed). But due to addiction, doctors stopped prescribing drugs for weight loss. Diet and exercise then replaced drug therapy, temporarily. But in 1973 the FDA (the food and drug administration) approved a new drug for weight loss, called fenfluramine (trade name Pondimin). Then came dexfenfluramine (trade name Redux) in 1996. Some doctors prescribed phentermine (another type of weight loss medication) in combination with fenfluramine and the combined weight-loss drug was called fen-phen. Phentermine was also used in combination with dexfenfluramine (known as dex-fen-phen).

The drugs worked by increasing Serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical (neurotransmitter) associated with improved mood, appetite and satiety. Fen-phen had a double action. It tricked the brain into believing the stomach was full, and increased a person's metabolic rate.

People did lose weight on these diet and weight-loss medications, but in 1997 after reports of heart valve disease, the makers of fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine withdrew these diet pills from the market. Prescriptions were no longer written for Redux, Pondimin or fen-phen.

During the 18 months that fenfluramine (Pondimin) and dexfenfluramine (Redux) were being used as weight loss drugs, 14m prescriptions were written for people who wanted to lose weight..

The medication drug called Sibutramine (trade name Meridia) is the newest weight-loss drug currently being prescribed and many others are in development or waiting for FDA approval.

Off-label Use for Diet & Weight Loss Pills

The FDA regulates how a manufacturer can advertise and promote a diet medication. These regulations restrict a doctors ability to prescribe diet and weight loss pills for different conditions in larger doses or for different lengths of time. The practice of prescribing weight loss medication for periods of time or for unapproved conditions is know as off-label use. Using more than one appetite suppressant medication at a time (combined drug treatment) or using a currently approved appetite suppressant medication for more than a few weeks is also considered off-label use.

Dangers of Diet & Weight Loss Drugs

Diet and weight loss pills can have a significant impact on our blood pressure, metabolism and general health. Pills are not an easy option for easy or fast weight loss. Whether they assist weight loss or not, most diet and weight loss pills have unpleasant side effects, create drug-dependency and interfere with other medications. Weight loss medications are really designed for obesity control where the advantage of losing weight outweighs the disadvantage of side-effects. They are a short-term diet aid for severely overweight dieters. Finally, nearly all clinical trials of diet and weight loss pills show that weight loss drug therapy is only effective when part of a comprehensive weight management program of diet, exercise and weight loss support.

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. So in order to lose weight and improve your body shape, check out our diet information and advice at Best Diet.

NOTE: Before using any form of diet pills or weight loss supplements, please consult your doctor.

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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 2001-2018 Diet Information. All rights reserved.