America has been plagued by an obesity crisis for decades, and many people find that the traditional methods of weight loss (healthy eating and exercise) are too demanding or too difficult. Many individuals turned to medical methods for weight loss, including weight loss surgical procedures and prescription medication for metabolic management. There’s also a huge market for over-the-counter weight loss medication and dietary supplements. Many of these are dangerous diet pills for your overall health.
Weight Loss Supplements You Must Avoid
While some of these pills are relatively safe when used as directed, some diet pills and weight loss supplements should be avoided at all costs. Here are some of the most dangerous diet pills on the market and why you should avoid them.
Meridia was voluntarily removed from the market in 2010 at the urging of the FDA. Meridia, also known as sibutramine, has the potential to increase heart rate and blood pressure and carries a host of dangerous side effects. The FDA and other international regulatory bodies cited sibutramine as capable of causing:
- Upset Stomach
- Suicidal Thoughts
Also known as Clen and previously marketed under the names Ventipulmin and Spiropent, Clenbuterol is illegal for human consumption in the United States. The International Olympic Committee banned Clenbuterol after discovering that athletes used it as a performance enhancer. Clenbuterol is used to treat horses in the United States with respiratory issues. Clen’s side effects include arrhythmia, chest pain, diarrhea, nausea, nervousness, hyperthyroidism, muscle tremors, dangerous blood pressure extremes in both highs and lows, and headaches.
Also known as DNP, Dinitrophenol literally cooks users from the inside out. The FDA banned the drug for human consumption in 1939. It was originally used in the manufacturing of explosive compounds and used as a chemical pesticide, but people sought the drug for its weight loss capabilities. DNP speeds up the body’s metabolism and raises the body’s temperature, causing intense sweating, lesions, respiratory difficulty, bleeding lips, and the formation of cataracts. DNP use claimed more than 60 lives.
- Heart Attack
- Cardiac Arrhythmia
- Dry Mouth
Named for its two main active ingredients, Fenfluramine and Phentermine, Fen-Phen became incredibly popular in the 1990s. The FDA banned the drug in 1997 after linking it to valvular heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, and increased pulmonary artery pressure.
Japan Rapid Weight Loss Diet Pill
This imported supplement was sold in three colors, offering three degrees of intensity. The FDA issued a statement in 2012 warning consumers of the dangers of these supplements, which contained phenolphthalein (a suspected carcinogen) and sibutramine—also known as Meridia.
The Brazilian Diet Pill
The FDA warned against these nutritional supplements in 2006 based on the combination of stimulants and depressants present in these pills. Sold under the brand names Herbaslim and Emagrece Sim, these Brazilian diet pills are a cocktail of Librium, Prozac, and Fenproporex. The supplements cause severe mood swings and extreme personality shifts. Another side effect is hypersensitivity to touch, similar to the effects of the illicit drugs MDMA and Ecstasy.
Contrave is a combination of existing drugs that have already gained FDA approval, such as naltrexone (a drug used to treat opiate addiction) and bupropion (an antidepressant used as a smoking-cessation treatment). Although this compound or one of its several successors may eventually gain approval and hit the market, it’s important to be wary of the dangerous side effects, including potential heart valve damage and alteration in user metabolism and mood.
Qnexa (aka Qsymia) is a combination of immediate-release phentermine hydorchloride and extended-release topiramate. This drug was orginially rejected by the FDA, but finally approved in 2012. It is not recommended to take this pill right before going to sleep, as it could give you insomnia. Other potential side effects include:
- Heart Fluttering
- Numbness and Tingling
- Blurred Vision
- Birth Defects (if taken while pregnant)
- Kidney Stones
- Depression, Anxiety or Suicidal Thoughts
Beware Of Dangerous Diet Pills
If you want to lose weight, the best methods are regular exercise and a balanced low-calorie diet rich in nutrients. Our society is incredibly fast-paced, and instant gratification is the norm. However, never sacrifice your personal health and safety for the sake of looking better faster. Always ask your healthcare provider about any supplements, and consult a nutritionist or dietitian to construct a healthy weight loss plan. For additional help or advice, click on the button below for more nutrition tips.
Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America
Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding.
He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.