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Health Risks and Dangers of Weight Loss Pills
How to Reduce Complications and Side Effects of Weight Loss Drugs
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Health Dangers of Weight Loss Medications to Treat Obesity

Health Risks of Weight Loss Pills

Health Risks of Weight Loss Drugs - Introduction

Questions About Obesity Medications
Appetite Suppressants - Anti-Obesity Drugs - Prescription Obesity Drugs
Development of Diet Pills - Meridia Short-Term Obesity Drug - Xenical Lipase Inhibitors - Xenical Study
Orlistat & Obesity Management - Orlistat Weight Loss Study - Sibutramine FDA Approved Obesity Drug
Sibutramine Study - Obesity Drugs & Diabetes - Risks of Weight Loss Pills - Adipex Obesity Drug
Side Effects of Adipex - Phentermine to Reduce Appetite - Side Effects of Phentermine

All drugs involve health risks, including diet and weight loss drugs. The question is: do the benefits outweigh the risks?

  • For someone suffering from obesity, who weighs (say) 250 pounds and whose weight is already causing health problems, the answer is probably Yes. After all, the health risks of morbid obesity are well documented.
  • But for someone who has 30 pounds of weight to lose and whose health is normal, accepting health risks associated with weight loss pills simply to lose weight makes less sense.
  • But much depends on the availability of health risk information. Although prescription weight loss medications are closely monitored by maker and the FDA, the quality and quantity of health risk data concerning over the counter weight loss pills is less good.

How to Minimize Health Risks and Dangers of Weight Loss Pills

If you want to take weight loss pills but you want to reduce the health risks, follow these elementary precautions.

  • Always consult your doctor before taking weight loss pills. Ask about health risks.
  • Follow instructions, do not overdose. The health risks of overdosing on weight loss pills can be severe.
  • While taking the pills, maintain contact with your doctor. Describe any side-effects.
  • Unless advised by your doctor, do not take any weight loss pills for longer than a few weeks. The health risks of weight loss pills increase with length of use.
  • When buying over-the-counter weight loss medications, check with your pharmacist that the pills do not clash with other medications. Since certain diet pills contain similar active ingredients to (e.g. decongestants, cough medicine), combining certain medications with weight loss pills carries health risks of accidental overdosing.

Health Risks of Fen-Phen Weight Loss Pills

On September 15, 1997 the prescription weight loss pills redux and fenfluramine were recalled by their manufacturers after the FDA recommended that anyone taking them stop and consult with their doctors. The FDA asked manufacturers to withdraw the drugs after reviewing the records of 291 patients and found 30 percent had abnormal heart-test results. Some 92 patients had problems with their aortic or mitral heartvalves, the data showed. Other serious side-effects of these weight loss drugs included: nervousness, dry mouth, rapid or irregular heartbeat, sleep disturbances, diarrhea, depression. Participants in studies of these drugs gradually regained the weight they'd lost when they stopped taking the medication.

Health Risks of Meridia Weight Loss Pills

Currently, there are a number of health risks associated with Sibutramine (brand name Meridia) a relatively new weight loss drug that acts on the brain to reduce appetite. It is banned in Italy and being reviewed by authorities in France and the UK where there have been more than 100 serious adverse reactions and two deaths. Due to it's potent side-effects, people who have a history of hypertension, heartbeat-irregularities, stroke, heart disease, congestive heart failure, or uncontrolled high blood pressure should not use Meridia. The drug maker, Knoll Pharmaceutical Co., is urging physicians to carefully monitor the blood pressure of all patients taking Meridia. In clinical tests, the average yearly weight loss for patients taking a standard 10 mg dose was only six and a half pounds more than the loss in those taking a placebo.

Side Effects of Orlistat (Xenical) Weight Loss Pills

Orlistat is a different type of weight loss drug. Called a lipase-inhibitor, it helps reduce the amount of fat absorbed during digestion. Orlistat's most commonly reported side effects are bloating, diarrhea, and oily stools. In one clinical trial involving Orlistat, patients who took the drug and followed a weight-loss diet for one year lost an average of 19.3 pounds, while those who followed the diet and took a placebo lost 12.8 pounds, on average. It is not effective for weight loss unless combined with a low-fat diet.

Health Risks of Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) in Weight Loss Pills

On November 6, 2000 the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) announced a ban on the sale of PPA in products that are sold without a doctor's prescription. PPA is a common ingredient in appetite suppressants such as Acutrim and Dexatrim as well as many popular cough/cold medications. PPA has been linked to an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, commonly referred to as "bleeding in the brain". The use of diet pills containing PPA did not make a big difference in the rate of weight loss for most people. Even the best studies showed only about a half-pound greater weight loss per week using PPA combined with diet and exercise..

Health Risks of Ephedra in Weight Loss Pills

A 2001 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded the herb could cause high blood pressure, heart problems, stroke, seizures and death. And the FDA has reports of 100 deaths among ephedra users. Yet manufacturers adamantly claim the reports do not prove the product is risky and ephedra-containing products remain on the market. Because of the 1994 law, the burden of proof falls on the FDA to show a product is dangerous and regulatory action has proved difficult.Three years after unsuccessfully attempting to ban high doses and require warning labels, the controversial sales continue. In June of this year, the federal government initiated a new safety review and two months later, the Justice Department announced they were conducting a criminal investigation into whether a leading ephedra seller lied about the safety of this dietary supplement.

Health Risks of Herbal Weight Loss Pills

Due to lack of regulation, inaccurate labelling, active-ingredient combination and misuse, there are a growing number of adverse incidences and health-risks worries concerning herbal weight loss pills. In 2001, FDA issued a nationwide alert on the recall of thirteen herbal weight loss pills because of a dangerous ingredient and potential damage to the kidneys.

Health Risks of Appetite Suppressant Weight Loss pills

There are various risks associated with appetite suppressants, including: raised blood pressure, elevated heart rate, restlessness, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, and dry mouth. Besides the health risks, appetite suppressant weight loss pills are not a permanent solution to controlling your weight. Almost all consumers who take appetite suppressants eventually regain the pounds they shed, FDA spokesman Jason Brodsky says.

Reducing Health Risks in Weight Loss Pills - Dietary Supplement Verification Program

To encourage improvement in standards, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) has introduced the Comprehensive Dietary Supplement Verification Program. The Program involves USP certification that supplement products (a) contain the ingredients stated on the label in the declared amount and strength; (b) are within limits for contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides and microbes; (c) will be absorbed into the body according to USP criteria; and (d) have been manufactured using safe and controlled procedures.

Weight Loss Pills and Health Risks - Bottom Line

  • Seek your doctor's advice before launching into any weight-loss program, or taking any over-the-counter diet pill or supplement.
  • When choosing weight loss pills be aware of the health risks you may be facing.
  • Ideally, avoid weight loss pills altogether. No pill can offer risk-free weight loss and few can offer more than an extra 10 ounces of extra weight loss per month.

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