Before you shop for the overly advertised over-the-counter weight loss pill in an effort to meet your weight loss goal, please think twice. Your diet pill may be unsafe, ineffective or downright dangerous. The health warning was published in the November issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource wherein a special report discusses the popular weight-loss diets, eating plans and strategies, including diet pills.
The report expressed concern that with obesity of the rise many local drugstores sell diet pills and even more choices are available on the internet. A lot many people are tempted to buy these drugs but they don’t even know that the safety and effectiveness of these drugs have not been proved.
For instance, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned ephedra but it can be purchased online. The report says that pills containing ephedra are touted to decrease appetite but they can cause dangerous side effects, including heart attacks, seizures, strokes and sudden death. Similarly, herbal supplements that contain the plant-derived chemical ephedrine also are available online and can cause similar health problems.
The report cautions about several other weight-loss pills which contain a cocktail of ingredients, including herbs, botanicals, vitamins, minerals, caffeine or laxatives. Quite often, it is not known how these ingredients, individually or in combination, could affect individuals. The risk of adverse reactions increases when diet pills are taken with other medications.
The report also discusses the weight-loss drug Alli, which is a reduced-strength version of the prescription drug orlistat (Xenical) and has been approved by the FDA. Alli is taken with meals and promotes weight loss by decreasing absorption of fat by the intestines. It is intended for use as part of a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet. When individuals don’t reduce fat in the diet, diarrhea and gas with oily spotting can be significant side effects.
The study concludes by saying that while diet pill claims may be tempting, weight loss only happens when more calories are burned than consumed.