What You Should Know About Diet Pills

by : Mark Kimathi

There are basically two kinds of diet pills; one is the prescription only diet pills and the over-the-counter diet pills.

Prescription diet pills are medical drugs. As such they are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration agency (FDA). The FDA strictly monitors their side effects, their advertising as well as prescriptions. The most popular of these is Xenical, which is currently the only licensed weight loss drug for long-term use. However, drugs being drugs these diet pills always have side effects. For example diarrhea, oily and unexpected fecal discharge is just some side effects that accompany Xenical. Therefore, users are advised to take it with a low fat diet plan.

On the other hand Over-the-Counter diet pills are categorized as food substitute and are unregulated. However having said this beware that these diet pills are not federal authority tested and may cause serious side effects up to and including death.

According to manufacturers, Over-the-Counter diet pills use natural ingredients capable of prolonging life and containing alcohol used in medication or flavoring. But one thing's for sure, never take diet pills as substitute for cutting calories without the doctor's recommendation. There are simple but important steps to be followed when taking diet pills, whether prescription or over-the-counter:

1. Take it whole with a full glass of water. Never crush diet pills, for example to mix in drinks or soups. They may not taste that good but unless you are specifically told to chew them, do not chew them, they are designed to be taken whole. Crushing them might make them more powerful than they should be making them lethal.

2. Diet pills cause a person to urinate more frequently due to its diuretic effect. This could lead to dehydration, thus, causing complications. As a pre-caution, it is best to drink eight glasses of water everyday while on diet pills.

3. Never take more pills than you should. Take only the recommended dosage. Taking more than required will not help you lose weight but will definitely increase the risk of side effects.

4. Monitor your heart rate. Heartbeat should be less than 86 beats per minute. Stop taking the pills if it reaches 90 or higher that is why regular checking of pulse is a must. If your heart rate increases inform your doctor/specialist immediately.

5. Always follow the instructions set by the dietitian and/or doctor and not only rely on what's enclosed in the box. Also diet pills will only work as expected if diet plan is being followed.

6. After three months, stop taking the diet pills. This will mitigate against some side effects like addiction. Other diet pills like phenylpropanolamine are safe to use only up to sixteen weeks. Some studies show that it can cause health problems if taken under one month.

Aside from a dietitian, your local pharmacists can also help in determining the pills that are safe depending on your circumstances and health condition. Just be extra careful about the so-called "natural" or "organic" ingredients. Not everything that comes from a natural source is safe. One example is Ma Huang, which is a botanical source of ephedrine known as a stimulant and being studied for potential side effects.

Those who have or have a family history of prostate problems, thyroid disease, mental illness, high blood pressure, and heart problems should avoid taking diet supplements without medical supervision. The same applies to those who've had seizures or strokes.

And as a general rule, don't ever try to take diet drugs if pregnancy is suspected. Persons that are allergic to sulfites and tartrazine should also avoid taking diet pills. And those who are under 18 years or over 60 years of age should consult their doctor first prior to taking any dietary drugs, especially if they rely on over-the-counter stimulants used as a replacement for increase exercise.

If someone is taking cold medicines, especially those with decongestants, diet pills should not be taken. These two can end up interacting and causing major problems. Whether it is a prescription or an over-the-counter diet pill, the dangers are unvarying with other similar drugs which control the brain to reduce appetite. Such dangers can be as serious as chest pains, hair falling, fever, depression, and even impotence.