Obesity is a complex challenge. So, it is only fair that anyone would want a quick fix to it, especially after having tried science backed weight loss methods.
Now that brings us to a question… Have you ever seen ads pop up about weight loss pills? Or have you ever had a friend mention how they tried some magical medicine or herb that helped them lose their weight? Guessing that you have, we are sure you are tempted to try them out to see an instant and effortless change in your weight. But let’s face reality. It’s not that easy.
What are weight loss pills?
First of all, let’s talk about these pills. The existence of weight loss pills is real. These medications help you lose weight in the sense that they either suppress your appetite, increase your metabolism, or decrease the fat you absorb.
Now, over the counter weight loss pills mean that there are some weight loss medicines available for you to purchase without any prescription. Many people ask how non-prescribed weight loss pills are different from what a physician prescribes to you.
Over the counter pills are commonly known as supplements because they are not approved by the FDA. They come in different forms such as herbal products, vitamins, teas, or supplements. However, anything that is prescribed to you via the physician has to be approved by the FDA for weight loss.
Should you use weight loss pills, and do they work?
Opting for over the counter pills for losing weight does not sound like a good idea to us unless and until you have done ample research and it is an approved drug or supplement by the FDA. It is important for you to be aware that these pills do not consist of supernatural powers that will drop your weight to your ultimate goal. The only function they perform is to contribute to your weight loss journey.
If you are looking for a nudge to use them then there are a few things you need to consider. For one, you should always be careful about what you put inside your body. Because these supplements don’t go through the sort of inspection that FDA approved pills go through.
Secondly, don’t you think that seeing a physician before risking taking these pills and supplements is necessary? In our opinion, involving a professional is the safest option available to you. Because they prescribe you medicines and a weight loss plan specifically according to your body.
However, a few of these dietary medications and supplements might positively contribute to your weight loss. While some have undergone research and trials, others have not which can trigger certain health conditions such as heart or liver damage.
In case your gut tells you to try an OTC pill, make sure you discuss it with your physician.
When should you use them?
Here’s a reality check for you – eating without putting the extra effort of going to the gym and balancing your diet won’t get you anywhere with these over the counter pills. It’ll be a complete waste of money as well. These weight loss pills and supplements ONLY aid you in the process of cutting down on your weight.
Therefore, if you have made up your mind on trying weight loss pills out then you must continue going to the gym and keeping your diet in check. Otherwise, you’ll be back to square one.
Most popular weight loss pills
As obesity is an epidemic, we witness a lot of people trying out different drugs. However, most are not as safe and effective as the advertisements make them sound. Which is why we have compiled a small list of ones that are safe for you to try in case it is your first time.
Orlistat – This popular drug, with alternate names such as Xenical and Alli, is available over the counter in many countries. It works by stopping 30% of your dietary fat absorption. According to a study, the weight starts to decrease within two weeks of its intake. To achieve maximum advantage, it is better to use it while you are dieting and consistently exercising. However, everything good comes with a price and there are orlistat side effects too.
It comes with multiple side effects such as triggering steatorrhea, fecal spotting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Though you can see these side effects lessen with time. It also exposes you to an increased risk of acute kidney injury and osteoporosis because of impaired absorption of calcium and vitamin D.
Contrave – After multiple trials for safety and efficacy, Contrave was approved in 2014. This drug promotes satisfaction hence reducing food intake and helps you feel energized. As per research, after twelve weeks of its intake, obese individuals saw a 5% drop in their weight. Although contrave side effects such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, headaches, dizziness, dry mouth, diarrhea, and insomnia have been reported.
Liraglutide – A drug that also goes by name of Saxenda, helps to induce and sustain weight loss. With a consistent diet and gym session, taking it will result in a 4 to 6 kg weight loss. A piece of good news for obese patients suffering from hypertension and diabetes… it is safe and effective on you too!
However, if you are afraid of injections then this might not be for you because it needs to be injected and it is a bit heavy on your wallet. Some side effects that may arise due to its intake are gastrointestinal issues, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, headache, dizziness and fatigue and pancreatitis risk.
Phentermine-topiramate – Going by the name of Qsysmia, is an approved drug intended for short term use only. A repeated instruction follows with all the mentioned drugs and for this one too is that it must be used as an add-on with a healthy diet and exercise.
However, this drug is meant for individuals who are on a reduced-calorie diet. These individuals must also increase their time on exercise for better results. According to a study, obese patients lost 5% weight by four weeks of its consumption.
Are weight loss pills safe?
As appealing as these pills and supplements might sound, the efficacy of over the counter weight loss options is hard to determine. According to a study conducted among 3500 US adults, dietary supplements were used by 44.9% of the women and 19.8% men. The majority of them were under many misconceptions. The majority assumed that weight loss supplements were tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for being safe and effective before selling. It was concluded that, further research on dietary supplements is required to clarify misunderstandings and promote reliable strategies for losing weight.
It is important to keep in mind that even though taking a shortcut can sound great, but the content of these unlicensed solutions is still untested and unproven. As a result of their intake, you might experience side effects that could cause problems in your health in the long run. One of the most common ingredients found in these pills is Sibutramine. This substance has been banned by the FDA due to its side effects such as a 16% increase in cardiovascular problems.
Furthermore, do not be fooled into buying these products thinking that if it’s not in pill form then it is probably safe to consume. Certain beverages, for example, tea and herbs can be a misleading technique meant for you to buy to it. As it is difficult to be exact about the content of these pills, it is best if you stir clear of anything that you are not sure of.
A trick to dodge being misled is to avoid products that are in a language you don’t have strong handle on, any drug or supplement that promises results in a few days, and any mention of steroids.
Looking for an easy way out might just hit you with something worse than you expected. We understand that working on losing your weight and maintaining is an extreme challenge and taking magical pills can be quite charming. However, determining whether weight loss pills are safe or not is crucial! Don’t ever purchase something you see without conducting proper research on it. Maybe it worked for your friend without side effects, doesn’t mean it would work the same for you. Being careful is always a good idea.
Lastly, in case you figure that a drug or a supplement isn’t safe for usage being retailed online or in a store you must take action against it. We still encourage you to use safe weight loss methods.