Diet pills are drugs meant to help with weight loss. However, these pills are not for everyone. They are only meant for people suffering from serious obesity. The drugs reduce patients’ appetites and stimulate them to do physical activities, and these facilitate weight loss.
These pills can either be prescription drugs or bought over the counter. They may be in either capsule or tablet form, imprinted with the brand name and strength. Prescription weight loss pills that are FDA-approved have the following generic names (and brand names in parentheses):
- Orlistat (Alli, Xenical)
- Lorcaserin (Belviq)
- Phenetermine and Topiramate (Qsymia)
- Naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave)
- Liraglutide (Saxenda)
There are also natural variants, like herbal supplements. Herbal pills and natural food supplements are available over the counter as either capsules or tablets, and each one has different main ingredients such as:
- Garcinia cambogia
- Bee pollen
- Green tea
- Raspberry ketones
- Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
If you’re curious about what diet pills are and what they do, here are more facts about them.
Only people with obesity should take diet pills
These drugs are prescribed only to people categorized as obese. In other words, they have a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30. The pills help them shed off extra pounds so they can attain a healthy BMI.
There are 5 types of diet pills
There are 5 main types of weight loss pills, each with different modes of action. These are:
- Lipase inhibitors
- Natural dietary supplements
Anorexiants and stimulants work by suppressing appetite, allowing patients to eat less. Stimulants, though, have some added effects, which are to enhance metabolism and encourage physical activity.
Lipase inhibitors prevent fats from being absorbed into the body. This way, excess fat will not end up becoming fatty tissue later on.
Laxatives, on the other hand, enhance bowel movement. They are not primarily meant for weight loss, as they are usually used for treating constipation. Still, some people use laxatives to help lose some pounds.
Last but not the least, natural dietary supplements work in many different ways, depending on their active ingredients. These are widely used as there is no need for a doctor’s prescription to get them.
The DEA considers diet pills as controlled substances
Prescription ones, in particular, are classified by the DEA under either Schedule III or IV. This means that they do have addictive potential, but not as much as other drugs classified in higher Schedules (II or I). Patients must still use caution, though, as improper use may lead to drug dependence.
When sold illicitly, diet pills are known by these street names:
Diet pills can shave off up to 10% of body weight
Many prescription weight loss drugs can reduce patients’ body weights by 3 to 10 percent. How fast the results come out depends on the dosage and the kind of drug.
There are also illegal drugs used for weight loss, such as meth and cocaine. While these are stronger and more effective in suppressing appetite, they are much more addictive and have lots of detrimental side effects.
Diet pills are detectable up to 4 days after intake
For most of these drugs, the active ingredient is a substance called phentermine. It is the component responsible for controlling appetite. It remains in the body in different intervals, depending on the location. It can remain detectable in the blood 24 hours after intake. In the urine, traces of it can remain for up to 4 days.
Diet pills have side effects
Aside from reducing appetite, the drug may also produce a few annoying side effects, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Tingling sensations
Side effects would also depend on the dosage and frequency of intake. If the drugs are taken more often, or in higher doses, there could be more side effects at once, or they could be more severe.
Also, these drugs are meant only for short-term use up to a maximum of about 12 weeks. Otherwise, if taken for much longer, more serious side effects could develop, including:
- Loss of sense of taste
- Uncontrollable body shaking
- Irregular sleep patterns
- High blood pressure
Diet pills can still be abused
These medications only have low to moderate addictive potential. But most of them do have components similar to amphetamines, so there is still a risk of abuse. Also, higher dosages expose patients to greater risks of becoming dependent.
Knowing the risks, patients must always talk to their doctors first before taking these drugs. Having a properly prescribed dosage, frequency of intake, and drug type would prevent unintentional addictions.
When non-obsese people take diet pills, overdose can happen
In some cases, people who are not obese or overweight take these drugs, which may lead to accidental overdoses. These people often self-medicate, which is even more dangerous.
Sometimes, people take more than one weight loss drug at the same time, or they combine their prescription pills with illicit substances. Any of these practices will result in overdose a lot faster.
When people overdose on these pills, they would show the following symptoms:
- Fast heartbeat
- Difficulty urinating
- Uncontrollable changes in mood
- Gastrointestinal problems
When these happen, they must seek medical care immediately.
It is possible to recover from diet pill addiction
Diet pill rehab often involves step-by-step processes that ensure users recover completely. One important step is curbing the drug habit and managing the withdrawal symptoms. These can be particularly uncomfortable, like brain fog, fatigue, irritability, and unstable moods.
Alongside these, rehab professionals would help users develop healthy habits and better coping mechanisms for stress. In turn, these will overturn drug dependence. Group therapy also helps a lot by giving users a sense of community with others who have similar problems.
In any case, talk to an addiction recovery professional to get the best options.