The diet pill aisle can be a pretty intimidating place especially for someone who has never taken them before. When diet and exercise have failed or you’ve plateaued for weeks, people look for other options to keep results moving. Here are some helpful tips for those venturing into the world of diet pills for the first time.
Know what your getting yourself into
Diet pills are loaded with caffeine and laxative-like ingredients, so between the two, you’ll be running to the bathroom all day. Diet pill packaging usually will tell you if their products contain caffeine and approximately how many cups of coffee you would need to drink to get the same effect. If you are a caffeine novice like myself jumping from none to the equivalent of 3 cups per day may make you feel jittery, agitated and possibly give you palpitations or increase your blood pressure.
Diet pills may interact with your medications or cause birth defects, which is especially important for women who are within childbearing age. Diet pills like Qnexa, which is looking for approval from the FDA sometime in 2012, will not be recommended for women within child bearing age for this exact reason. It may only help you for a limited amount of time. Diet pills like phentermine are only recommended to be used for up to 12 weeks. Studies have shown that results is not significant enough for someone to continue taking it after 12 weeks. In 2009, Hydroxycut received much criticism because of its effect on liver enzymes and one death was reported due to liver failure. It was recalled and has since been reformulated. Hydroxcut previously contained ephedra but the FDA asked that it be removed from their product when they discovered it caused heart problems and some deaths.
Don’t believe the hype
On most diet pill packaging you will see pictures of toned celebrities and models promoting the success of the product. Let’s be real here: diet pills alone are not going to produce amazing results, which is why they are technically called diet aids. Some products even throw some clinical trial information on the box to make it seem more enticing. Keep in mind that these trials usually only have a small amount of participants and this can skew the results to make their product look better than the placebo. Good luck trying to get a hold of the companies if you have questions. Most are not available by phone or even Internet.
Don’t you wish you could be like Alice in Wonderland and drink a magic potion and you’d be smaller? Many diet aids claim to do just that. But before you go running to the diet aisle here are a few things you should know:
1. They are not evaluated or approved by the FDA. This means these products do not go under the same safety and efficacy scrutiny as a prescription you get filled from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist. If you are someone who has diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or any other health conditions or are taking any prescription medications you definitely want to check with a doctor first before you start to take anything.
At the beginning of the month, our senior editor Brandi Koskie blogged about the Hydroxycut recall. Here’s a quick recap, and where it may (or should) lead with regards to future health legislation:
Is the Food & Drug Administration protecting consumers from dangerous and fraudulent claims by supplement makers, or are they simply reacting after the fact when it’s too late? That’s what the advocacy group called the Reality Coalition thinks. And there’s some merit to that claim. The group argues that the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), does little to protect consumers from unsafe supplements like Hydroxycut until it’s too late. (more…)
Following the death of a 19-year-old male and 23 reports of liver damage, the FDA has stepped in to warn consumers to discontinue use of the popular diet pill Hydroxycut. Hydroxycut manufacturer Iovate Health Sciences has agreed to recall 14 products from the market as “an abundance of caution.”
From the FDA press release — The FDA has received 23 reports of serious health problems ranging from jaundice and elevated liver enzymes, an indicator of potential liver injury, to liver damage requiring liver transplant. One death due to liver failure has been reported to the FDA. Other health problems reported include seizures; cardiovascular disorders; and rhabdomyolysis, a type of muscle damage that can lead to other serious health problems such as kidney failure. (more…)