What Diet Aid Really Works?

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Not all diet pills are safe or effective, but several types are considered the best on the market, according to the Mayo Clinic. Before taking an over-the-counter (OTC) medication or asking your doctor for a prescription diet aid, be sure to learn all the facts about diet drugs, including any possible side effects. Remember, also, that no pill is a magic cure for weight problems nor can it substitute for poor exercise or eating habits.

Warning

Some diet pills are addictive, especially those marketed as “natural” Brazilian diet pills, according to MedlinePlus. Also, phentermine is an effective diet pill prescribed throughout the world, but it also may be habit-forming, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can reduce your chances of forming a diet pill addiction by taking your medications only as directed and only for the medically recommended period of time.

Types

Meridia and phentermine are prescription weight-loss drugs that help reduce appetite by altering the chemicals in your brain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Orlistat is a fat blocker that helps you digest less fat than you would without the drug. As of 2010, orlistat was available in a prescription-strength labeled Xenical or OTC in a reduced-formula, marketed as Alli.

Significance

Meridia and Xenical are the most-effective diet drugs out there, according to the Mayo Clinic. Moms who take one of these prescription drugs could reasonably expect to lose 6 to 11 lbs. each year, in addition to the approximate 8 lbs. that are typically lost by exercising and dieting alone. Alli is also effective, but less so. It usually leads to an additional weight loss of only 3 lbs. per year in addition to the approximate 8 lbs. typically lost through exercise and diet.

Considerations

Even the best diet pills carry the risk of side effects, according to the Mayo Clinic and MedlinePlus. Phentermine can cause a dry mouth, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, constipation, diarrhea and vomiting; sometimes, it can also lead to potentially serious symptoms, such as dizziness and chest pain. Orlistat users run the risk of having uncontrollable bowel movements or oil spotting onto their clothing. Also, as of 2010, the Food and Drug Administration was investigating allegations that Alli caused liver injury in some users.

Time Frame

Meridia, Xenical and Alli don’t have a limited time frame in which dieters can safely take the drug, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, keep in mind that some diet drugs become less effective over time. Phentermine should only be used for three to six weeks at a time, due to its amphetamine-like properties and addiction potential, according to MedlinePlus. Always check with your doctor before using any diet program long-term.

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