When it comes to losing weight, medications for weight loss rarely deliver on their promises. Not only are over-the-counter weight loss pills often overpriced and ineffective, according to new findings, they may be deadly. A recent reported issued by the Food and Drug Administration and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association points out the dangers of using medications for weight loss that are purchased online or at your local drug or health food store. These “quick fix” diet drugs may only be quick to kill you.
The FDA points out that almost seventy diet medications commonly available through retail outlets and from websites were found to contain unspecified ingredients similar to what would be found in regulated diet medications that are usually only available by prescription. Such unspecified ingredients ranged from chemicals found in prescription diet pills, seizure medications, laxatives, and even a drug known to increase the risk of suicide. Because these ingredients aren’t disclosed on the label, consumers would have no way to knowing they’re taking ingredients that could be harmful.
The FDA pointed out that some of these medications for weight loss contained levels of ingredients that were far higher than what has been approved for use in even prescription medications. One over-the-counter medication for weight loss contained sibutramine, a prescription weight loss drug, that could be problematic for people with hypertension or heart disease since it has effects on both heart rate and blood pressure. It can also have negative effects on people with a variety of other medical conditions including those with liver problems, seizure disorders, and glaucoma.
Disturbingly, this trend isn’t confined to medications for weight loss. Unspecified ingredients are also being found in other over-the-counter products that are labeled as “natural” or herbal. Unfortunately, the market is so flooded with these shady, over-the-counter medications that the FDA is unable to monitor all of them.
How can you find out if a medication for weight loss you’re taking contains potentially harmful, undisclosed substances? The FDA has a list of known medications and their brand names that are thought to be a problem on their website. (see the resource list below).
If you’re tempted to take over-the-counter medications for weight loss as a quick way to lose weight, consider the consequences carefully. In most cases “quick fix” diet pills don’t work and you may be increasing your risk for developing serious health problems. The FDA has identified almost seventy potentially dangerous diet pills, so you can easily see the scope of the problem. When it comes down to it, there’s no real substitute for healthy eating and exercise.