Our expert says:
You may have noticed that I am opposed to over-the-counter and herbal weightloss pills and potions because of a variety of reasons: 1) They often contain ingredients that are potentially harmful like ephedrine, synephrine, etc, plus harsh laxatives and diuretics that can either cause addiction or damage the normal function of the digestive tract or cause nutrient imbalances (e.g. as a result of chronic diarrhoea) or be lethal as has been the case with excessive use of diuretics. 2) On the other hand many of the over-the-counter diet pills and potions contain a host of ingredients that have no proven effect on weightloss, so patients may as well save their money instead of spending it on "dummy pills" (in such cases it is usually the semi-starvation diet that accompanies the diet pills, which causes the weightloss 3) Many of the herbal ingredients in over-the-counter pills can have highly negative effects which are not mentioned on the product labels (click on 'Diet' at the top of this page and then on 'Weight loss' and 'Diet Detective" to check out what some of the ingredients can cause 4) While diet pills that contain epinephrine or pseudo-epinephrine were still available without prescription in SA, I also cautioned users against their potential for addiction and the fact that there had been cases of fatalities in the USA with similar drugs. Luckily these diet pills can now only be obtained with a prescription. 5) Many of the diet products brought into this country at the moment are manufactured in "backyard operations" and there is no control over their safety, efficacy and microbiological purity (some are contaminated with high levels of pathogens like Escherichia coli which can cause severe diarrhoea).
Why I do recommend Reductil and Xenical to patients who have more than 20 kg to lose, is due to the fact that these products have been subjected to extensive clinical studies to determine if they work, if they are safe (i.e. if their side-effects are not potentially lethal) and if they are pure (not contaminated with unacceptable levels of pathogens) and if they can help patients achieve weightloss. They are also Schedule 5 drugs so they can only be obtained by prescription. I always caution patients that Reductil can cause side-effects, that it should only be used together with a balanced weightloss diet and under the supervision of a medical dr. Xenical which prevents uptake of fat in the digestive tract can cause deficiencies of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), but if taken under the supervision of a medical dr the patient should receive supplements of such vitamins.
At the end of the day none of these pills will help you lose weight unless you also reduce your energy intake and increase your energy output. So my basic premise is that people should try losing weight without pills, but if they do need some support then rather use a product that has been carefully researched and studied, than a dubious mixture that is concocted in a backyard.
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