Side Effects Of Diet Pills: Benefits VS Risks

By:    Published: September 6, 2012

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People who struggle with their weight are often willing to try several different weight-loss methods and products in order to get the results they want. One of the most commonly advertised products you’ll see for weight-loss is diet pills. Though the manufacturers of these pills claim they can provide significant weight-loss results, many of them come with harsh side effects and can even be dangerous. Before you consider diet pills to help you lose weight, learn more about what these pills actually do and the potential side effects you could experience.

What Are Diet Pills?

Diet pills are any of the weight-loss medications that you can get either over-the-counter, online or by prescription. Because the over-the-counter and online versions of these drugs are so easy to obtain and are relatively affordable, there is often great temptation to use these pills to shed pounds. There are several well-known name brands, including Alli, Meridia and Hydroxycut.

Various diet pills contain different substances that are combined to produce the desired weight-loss. However, the way in which that weight-loss is achieved may vary from one pill to another. For instance, many diet pills are appetite suppressants that claim to help you lose weight simply by eating less. Meanwhile, other diet pills are made to inhibit the body’s absorption of fat.

Potential Side Effects Of Diet Pills

One of the main reasons that people are hesitant to take diet pills are the possible side effects. There’s a reason that diet pills have a reputation for causing dangerous side effects. Many are labeled as dietary supplements, which allows them to avoid many of the rigorous standards that prescription drugs are subjected to by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a dietary supplement, these pills can be sold before thorough proof of their effectiveness and safety has been reported. This leads to many of the diet pills on the market, particularly newer ones, to carry a risk of side effects or dangerous health risks.

(To learn about possible dangers of dietary supplements, read The Dangers Of Dietary Supplements And Tips For Safe Use.)

Whether a diet pill is effective or not, it may come with some uncomfortable side effects. While some individuals experience very mild side effects or none at all, others feels the side effects more intensely. Some of the more common side effects that a person taking diet pills may experience are:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure levels
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Changes in taste or a metallic taste in the mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Numbness of the skin
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues
  • Liver problems

The symptoms listed above may vary depending on the type of weight-loss medication that a person is taking. In addition, it’s important to note that these drugs are often intended for short-term use, so using them beyond the recommended length of time may produce other side effects. If you do choose to use diet pills, always read the labels and directions carefully.

Weighing The Benefits VS The Risks

Making a decision about whether to use diet pills can be difficult, even with information regarding the possible risks of using these drugs. However, just because many of the products available today carry side effects or risks doesn’t mean that diet pills should not be used by anyone. Those who have a body mass index (BMI) over 30 and those with a BMI over 27 along with a serious weight-related health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, may be good candidates for the use of weight-loss drugs. The catch is that these pills must be combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise to be effective.

(For a new weight-loss exercise routine, check out High Intensity Workout Routines For Rapid Weight Loss.)

In addition to potential health risks, another factor to consider when taking diet pills is whether you are taking any other medications. Always make sure to ask your doctor before you start taking any weight-loss medications. Your doctor can give you more information about whether the pills have been approved by the FDA, whether they will cause any negative reactions with other medications you are taking, what the potential side effects are and how you can increase your weight-loss success.

In many cases, over-the-counter diet pills and those found online may carry significant health risks. It’s best to proceed with caution and always ask your doctor before trying any weight-loss medications. However, with the right product for the right candidate, weight-loss drugs can produce an average weight-loss of about 5 to 10 percent of a person’s total body weight, says MayoClinic.com. This relatively small amount of weight-loss can provide great health benefits, including lower blood pressure and glucose levels. However, these results are partially due to a change in diet and exercise, and even those who take the pills and make these lifestyle changes are not guaranteed to see results.

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