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Are FDA Approved Diet Pills Healthy & Safe?

Oct 6, 2009

When the United States Federal Drug Administration says a diet pill is FDA approved, we want to believe it is a safe weight loss option.  A closer examination of these FDA approved diet pills will help you understand just how safe FDA approved pills are.

What Does FDA Approval Mean?

To gain FDA approval, drugs have to be “proven safe.” They do this through extensive clinical trials. By the time a drug receives FDA approval, it has been taken by thousands of people over a time span of several years. Still, this approval cannot be a complete guarantee of safety. Even FDA approved drugs can carry harmful, even fatal side effects. Often those side effects take years after approval to be linked to the drug.

Fat Blockers

The diet pills that have met with  FDA approval can be grouped into two categories. The first is fat blockers. Fat blocking diet pills work by binding with the fat in the food you eat and preventing it from being absorbed by your body. Fat blocker pills such as Xenical, (sold over the counter as Alli) rush up to 30% of digestible fat out of your body before it can become a part of you . It has been proven effective for weight loss. However, it can come at a price. There is evidence that this drug also keeps your body from absorbing important fat-soluble nutrients and vitamins. Aside from this, expected side effects include oily stools, gas, frequent bowel movements and anal incontinence. These symptoms worsen the more fatty food that is consumed.

Appetite Suppressants

The second category is appetite suppressants. Appetite suppressant diet pills do their work more in the brain than the body. Usually these pills contain a drug called Phentermine, a drug that triggers a fight-or-flight response in the brain, which in turns signals a loss of appetite. Phentermine drugs include Adipex P, Diethylpropion and Phendimetrazine. They are considered to be some of the safest weight loss products, having few side affects. Meridia is another popular FDA approved appetite suppressant that works by interacting with brain chemicals to reduce appetite. However, there is now evidence linking Meridia to deaths and adverse reactions. The FDA has issued warnings about taking it.

Recalled for Deadly Side Effects

Again, just winning FDA approval doesn’t guarantee the safety of a weight loss pill. Hydroxy-cut is an example of a recalled drug that met with FDA approval, until it was recently linked with liver damage. Fatal components of the long recalled diet mix Fen-Phen were also FDA approved at one time.

It is always wise to take any weight loss aid with the guidance of a doctor. Pre-existing healthy problems could preclude you from safely taking even FDA approved weight loss pills.

The safest and most successful way to lose weight still remains proper diet and exercise. But, if you want a little extra help by means of a diet drug, make sure you consult a doctor before choosing the pill that is best for you.

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