Weight Loss Pills:
Are they safe and effective?
Loss Pills - Safety and Effectiveness:
first weight loss pill approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for
the treatment of obesity, was Xenical in 1999. Xenical works by reducing the
body’s ability to absorb dietary fat by an estimated one-third. Most weight loss
pills have been approved by the FDA for short-term use, which usually means for
a period of time of several weeks to several months.
Some of the more popular weight loss pills include Meridia, Adipex, Bontril,
Xenical, Sanorex, Tenuate and Redux and Pondimin which have both been withdrawn
from the market, due to safety issues. While most side-effects of weight loss
pills for obesity are usually mild, serious complications have been reported.
Weight loss pills that are currently available to treat obesity, usually lead to
modestly effective weight losses (between 5-22 pounds above that expected from
non-drug treatments). Some people lose more weight than others. Weight loss
pills may have the benefit of reducing risk factors associated with obesity such
as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Weight reduction usually occurs within the first six months of treatment with
weight loss pills. Studies have shown that if you do not lose at least four
pounds over the first four weeks on a particular medication, it may be unlikely
to help you to achieve significant weight loss. Several antidepressant
medications have also been found to assist with weight loss. However, the loss
of weight in these circumstances is considered be an “off-label” use, rather
than what they have been specifically approved for by the FDA. Antidepressant
medications have been found to assist patients in modest amounts of weight loss
for up to six months.
Weight loss pills are believed to promote weight loss by decreasing your
appetite and increasing the feeling of being full. They seem to decrease the
appetite by increasing the neurotransmitter serotonin or catecholamine, which
are two brain chemicals which are known to affect mood and appetite.
Loss Pills - Long term Use:
Weight loss pills are usually recommended for short-term use. There are few
studies lasting more than two years, which have evaluated their safety or
effectiveness. Xenical and Meridia are the only weight loss pills which have
been approved for “longer-term” use in significantly obese individuals, although
their safety and effectiveness also, has not been established for use beyond one
comments on weight loss pills:
Weight loss pills may help you reduce a number of health risks in the
short-term. Studies examining the effects of weight loss medications on obesity,
have found that some of these medications will lower your blood pressure, blood
cholesterol, and triglycerides (fats) and decrease insulin resistance (the
body’s inability to use blood sugar) for the short-term, however, studies are
needed to determine their overall effect on health over the long term. There
will probably never be a replacement for the “old fashioned model” of reduced
caloric intake, nutritional education, and increased physical activity to
maintain long-term weight loss.
Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D Candidate
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