With the recent FDA request to pull of another diet pill, perhaps overweight consumers need to rethink their desire for a quick fix to a problem requiring appropriate lifestyle changes. Whether you get them from the doctor as a prescription or over-the-counter, diet pills are not safe for weight loss.
Prescription Diet Pills
The weight loss pill Meridia was voluntarily pulled off the market by its maker, Abbott Laboratories after a request by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to an article in the New York Times, Meridia increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, while only giving patients a modest increase in weight loss.
Other prescription diet pills have been removed from the market, such as fenfluramine (Pondimin and part of the diet pill fen-phen) and dexfenfluramine (Redux), which caused damage to heart valves. A newer prescription diet pill, Qnexa, was not approved by the FDA in its review in July, though its components are currently available separately, phentermine (for weight loss) and topiramate (for seizures).
The only prescription drugs approved by the FDA for weight loss are phentermine, diethylpropion and orlistat (Xenical by prescription, and Alli over-the-counter). Phentermine and diethylpropion are approved only for short-term use and orlistat’s use may become limited with increasing cases of liver damage.
Over-the-Counter Diet Pills
Alli is a weaker dose of orlistat, but there are still the same risks of liver damage. Also, since orlistat blocks fat absorption in the intestines, side effects include diarrhea and anal leakage from the unabsorbed fat leaving the body. Alli is the only over-the-counter diet pill approved by the FDA.
Due to FDA labeling requirements, many weight loss pills are disguised as herbal and dietary supplements. The FDA has found there are many ingredients in these pills that are not listed on the labels, many of which have already been proven as unsafe. Contained in these pills have been controlled substances, medications not approved for use in the United States and chemicals not meant for consumption. The FDA has complied a list of unsafe herbal and dietary supplements for weight loss.
Diet Pills not Safe for Weight Loss
Some prescription diet pills were found to be more effective when used in combination with controlled diet and exercise over diet changes and exercise alone. But the diet pills have been found not to be safe overall. Also, if permanent lifestyle changes are not made, a person can gain weight again once the diet pills are stopped.
It’s time to stop looking for an easy way out by means of some magical pill to lose weight. In an article on WebMD, a woman claimed to go from 200 pounds to 143, from a size 20 to a size 10, with the use of Qnexa in combination with diet and exercise. I went through a similar weight loss, from 197 to 130, from a size 18 to a size 8, with simply lifestyle dietary changes and exercise and without the use of diet pills. It is difficult, but it can be done.
Being overweight causes health problems, but these problems should not be added to with the use of diet pills. If you need to lose weight, talk with your doctor to come up with the solution that is right for you without putting further risk to your health. Make gradual changes that will last a lifetime so you can keep the weight off without having to worry about the safety of diet pills.
CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE BEGINNING ANY EXERCISE OR WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM.
Andrew Pollack; Abbott Labs Withdraws Meridia From the Market; The New York Times
Health Reserve; Diet Pills – Prescription Weight Loss Drugs
Daniel J. DeNoon; FDA Panel Says “No” to Weight Loss Drug Qnexa; WebMD
Food and Drug Administration; FDA Expands Warning to Consumers about Tainted Weight Loss Pills, List increases from 28 to 69 products; Agency seeking recalls
Jolynne M Hudnell; Weight Loss Pill Qnexa Waiting Approval by FDA; Associated Content/Yahoo!
Jolynne M Hudnell; Articles about Dieting and Weight Loss; Associated Content/Yahoo!