Guide to Weight Loss Drugs
Last Edited: October 22nd, 2012

Guide to weight loss drugs

Health conscious individuals have seen the weight-loss drug advertisements as they cruise down the supplement section of their local grocery store. Weight-loss drugs promise to help people lose weight by popping a pill. Many times these advertisements show deceptive pictures of beautiful women with carved abdominal muscles. As shoppers leave the aisle, they see exercise equipment and Weight Watcher bars. That would make anybody want to run back and pick up two bottles: one for trial and the next one for the Apocalypse. In all honesty, we can all use a little perk to keep us going; however, is it really worth our health?

Follow these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to determine if weight-loss drugs are the answer to losing stubborn fat once and for all:

Are weight loss drugs safe?
Local drugstores, supermarkets, and convenient stores carry weight-loss pills promising to take the weight off with the pop of a bottle. Unfortunately, many of these weight-loss supplements have not been tested by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Weight-loss supplements are not subjected to the same standards as prescription drugs, making them incredibly risky to ingest. Once a product hits the shelves, the FDA can monitor its safety and then take action to ban or recall dangerous supplements. The FDA has previously banned products containing ephedra and ephedrine-like substances.

Are there any weight loss drugs out there that may have health benefits?
Weight-loss drugs contain undeclared ingredients, or ingredients that greatly exceed the maximum recommended dosages. Some of these weight-loss products claim to have “natural” and “herbal” ingredients, but actually contain unlisted ingredients that could potentially harm unsuspecting consumers. The only guaranteed weight-loss supplements are prescription drugs regulated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), such as Qsymia.

What are the dangers of taking weight loss drugs?

Unregulated weight-loss drugs containing ephedra and ephedrine-like substances may produce dangerous symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, seizures, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, heart attack, and stroke.

Will weight loss drugs hurt the body?

FDA-approved weight-loss drugs do not pose the same risks as unregulated diet pills. Physicians should provide all of the necessary information about the potential side effects of using FDA-approved weight-loss drugs.

What will weight loss drugs do to my health over time?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has not conducted rigorous testing and evaluation to determine if weight-loss drugs produce harmful long-term effects. This makes it hard to determine whether side effects from ingesting pills will emerge down the road. Some weight-loss pills contain weight-loss medication that only morbidly obese patients should consume, such as the appetite suppressant substance known as sibutramine. Sibutramine alters the brain's chemistry to decrease desire for food.

Are there prescription weight loss drugs?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved of prescription weight loss drugs for short-term use, typically between a few weeks or months. The FDA approves of two types of short-term prescription weight loss drugs, including appetite suppressants and fat inhibitors. Appetite suppressants trick the body from craving food. Fat inhibitors prevent the body from absorbing fat broken down from meals.

Why do over-the-counter weight loss drugs have a bad reputation, yet sell so well?

People want a “magic” pill. The appeal of losing weight quickly makes it hard to resist for most people. Despite their bad reputation, most people hope that they can find that one solution that will solve all of their problems without dedicating themselves to the basics. Even if weight loss drugs worked effectively, it does not mean it should replace healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

What will weight loss drugs do to my energy levels?

Many weight-loss drugs contain ephedra or ephedrine-like substances, including caffeine to help boost energy levels. Caffeine itself can help people wake up and focus better. Caffeine can be a life saver in the right doses; however, it can also cause many problems if overdone. Some weight-loss supplements contain both ephedra and caffeine, which can overstimulate and potentially cause harmful side effects to the body.

Are there any states and or countries that forbid weight loss supplements?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has discovered numerous dietary supplements, including weight-loss pills, that contain drugs and other chemicals. Many of these ingredients do not appear on the label, which can cause serious side effects. The FDA considers tainted drugs as products claiming to be an alternative to FDA-approved drugs, products claiming to be alternatives to anabolic steroids, promises rapid results, and primarily marketed in a foreign language. In addition, the FDA considers any product claiming to “cure” ailments as illegal. Each state and country has their own regulations governing outside of these general guidelines.

Will weight loss drugs hurt my baby if breastfeeding?
Weight-loss supplements are not recommended for nursing women. In addition, nursing burns calories and helps women to lose weight naturally, because the body uses extra energy to produce milk. Therefore, it is not necessary to take weight-loss drugs while breastfeeding.

Will weight loss drugs help men and women?

FDA-approved weight-loss drugs can help men and women lose weight if they have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 for healthy individuals, or a BMI higher than 27 with health problems associated with weight, such as type-2 diabetes. Overweight individuals that have tried conventional methods to lose weight, including dieting and exercising can talk to their physicians about FDA-approved weight-loss drugs.


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