How many times did you hear commercials promising that you would lose weight by only taking some pills, no diet, and no exercise necessary? The industry of weight loss medication and drugs has a complicated history and quite substantial profit margins. Suppose your workouts seem to have little to no effect, while your calorie count throws you into a spiral of hunger desperation. Something as easy as a pill sounds miraculous in this case. But, are weight loss drugs as safe, healthy, and efficient as advertised?
Prescription Weight Loss Medication vs. Nondescript Diet Pills
What most people fail to realize is that, currently, the Food and Drug Administration approved for long-term use only five weight-loss prescription pills. They aim to treat chronic obesity and health conditions related to overweight problems. Some other drugs received approval for short-term use.
Everything else you find on the market is usually dietary supplements that the FDA did not approve or regulate. The federal law does not mandate the agency to prove that nutritional supplements are safe before they hit the markets. Here lies the problem. Most diet supplements’ manufacturers do not even test their products on people before putting them on the shelves.
One might wonder why over-the-counter weight loss supplements take so much heat lately. After all, most of them contain herbal extracts, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. You may have heard about “miracle” compounds that manufacturers advertise as appetite suppressors. Other ingredients in such pills might even decrease the number of fat cells that your body typically produces.
But is there any evidence of this besides influencer marketing? Should we believe over the top commercials, and “testimonials” from people who swear by the latest fad in supplements?
What Are the Dangers of Weight Loss Pills?
One of the first things you need to remember is that approved and prescribed weight loss medication is there to treat obesity. Most doctors will not prescribe them unless your Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 30. As medical safety goes, doctors might prescribe such pills to individuals with a BMI over 27 and associated obesity health problems, like high blood pressure or diabetes.
The other thing that people should also take into account is that all weight loss pills, FDA-approved or not, come with side effects and can even cause drug injuries. If you ask a drug injury claims lawyer, you would learn that some weight-loss drugs (Belviq or Belviq XR come to mind) together with other types of medication are on a “risk list” of compounds that can cause drug injuries. They differ from side effects, as they are almost always debilitating or even fatal. To give you an example, some ingredients in weight loss drugs can lead to other types of problems – like an addiction or cancer – which are not by any means “mild” symptoms.
On the other hand, if you consider the dietary supplements for weight loss to be more on the safe side, as they do not contain chemicals and synthetic compounds, you might have some surprises there too. Scientists, doctors, and drug injury attorneys would also tell you that despite all the advertising, the miraculous Garcinia cambogia correlates with liver problems when used in excess.
Other research has found that some of the most popular supplements do not yield significant results when it comes to their positive effects on weight loss. Think about everything, from caffeine to guarana, and from chitosan to spirulina. While most of them are just harmless herbal supplements, when they come together with other chemicals or contaminants, they can lead to severe injuries. And we don’t talk about a minor headache here.
To Risk or Not to Risk Your Health for Weight Loss?
It is easy to learn the side effects and potential drug injuries of the medication or supplements you want to take for weight loss. Should you check the database of the National Institutes of Health, you can also learn a lot about the ingredients in your diet pills and, most importantly, if they work or not.
Time and again, doctors and researchers insist that making lifestyle changes, keeping a proven and safe dietary plan, and engaging in exercise are the wise ways to weight loss. In case you have to deal with the chronic condition of obesity, check with your doctors and nutritionists. Your health and your life are priceless.
The public learns about FDA drugs reclaims only when it is too late, the patients hire lawyers, the media makes a scandal, and companies start delivering fine-tuned PR statements. Losing weight for the sake of losing weight is not worth the potential side effects, permanent drug injuries, and lengthy, ugly, devastating courtroom or hospital dramas for you or your loved ones.
Before putting your faith into the next best miracle drug, any drug, run it through a vetting process with your doctors and the science.