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What Diet Pills Really Work for Weight Loss?

Apr 17, 2008
It can be frustrating when it comes time to consider diet pills. Do they work or don't they when it comes to weight loss? Not only can they be expensive, but some simply aren't going to be effective. The good news is there are some diet pills that do work when they are taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Still though, keep their roles in perspective. While they may provide some weight loss help, their overall effectiveness is limited.

What diet pills really work will depend on your current health and weight - and whether or not your body responds favorably to the myriad of options out there. Unfortunately, there isn't a "one size fits all" diet pill. You'll want to consult with your doctor and discuss what options are best for you. Following is a list of some of the popular diet pills that people are taking today and what you should know about each of them.

Meridia (sibutramine)

Meridia works on the brain's appetite-control center and alters the chemicals norepinephrine and serotonin. These chemical regulate how full a person feels after eating. Meridia is available by prescription only and it intended for very overweight or obese individuals.

Meridia may be the answer for those individuals who are obese and are always hungry. It may help overcome that gnawing hungry feeling and may help a person feel satisfied. This drug is only given to people who are overweight and obese. It should not be used by someone wanting to shed a few extra stubborn pounds.

Before you start taking Meridia you should talk to your doctor about what to expect on the drug. Meridia has a bit of a reputation. It can increase the risk of stroke or heart attack and it can raise your blood pressure. Meridia has been banned in Italy due to people suffering bad reactions after taking the drug. There have been groups requesting that it be banned in the United States. While it hasn't been banned in the U.S., the pill's safety is being monitored by the FDA.

Byetta (exenatide) and Glucophage (metformin)

Byetta is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is an injectable diabetes medicine. Glucophage is also used for people with type 2 diabetes but it is an oral diabetes medicine. Both medications help control blood sugar levels.

Besides type 2 diabetics, people who suffer from hormonal conditions, which are linked to insulin resistance, that need to lose weight may be prescribed Byetta or Glucophage. Only a doctor can make this determination. Since these drugs are classified as diabetic medications, insurance companies will generally cover the cost of these drugs, unlike most other weight loss medications.

Zimulti (rimonabant)

One of the shining stars in the weight loss industry is Zimulti but you won't find it in the United States because at the time of this writing, it hasn't been approved by the FDA. The FDA has been reluctant to approve it because is has shown to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts. You can find it, however, in the European Union under the name Acomplia.

Alli (orlistat)

Alli is a weight loss supplement available over-the-counter. It is a reduced-strength version of Orlistat, a prescription drug used to treat obesity. It decreases the amount of fat you ingest from being absorbed by the intestines. The undigested fat is excreted from the body in the bowel. By decreasing fat absorption, you decrease the amount of calories you absorb.

You should know that while Alli works to keep fat from being broke down and stored in the body, if you eat too much fat you may experience loose, oily stools. Some people report having "accidents" and problems with leading and soiling. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended you limit your fat intake per meal to 15 grams or less.


Many people think that if a weight loss supplement is natural, it is safe. This is not necessarily so. For instance, some companies looking for a replacement of ephedra (the drug that was banned due to its adverse reactions, including strokes and death) are now using bitter orange extract in its place because it affects the body in a similar way as ephedra. This is a perfect example of how a supplement may be "natural" but not necessarily safe.

Two supplements which do appear to be safe and are rising in popularity are green tree extract and hoodia gordonii. EGCG, an antioxidant that helps boost metabolism, is found in green tea. Hoodia, on the other hand, has been shown to be a potentially effective natural appetite suppressant without any side effects.

What diet pills actually work for weight loss? As you can see, it depends on your situation and how you react to some of these drugs and supplements. What works great for one person may not work for you. Supplements may seem safer, but that is not always the case. The best solution for weight loss is diet and exercise. If you feel diet pills and supplements are necessary, then only look to them as a short-term aid and be sure to talk to your doctor first before taking them!
About the Author
Are hoodia diet pills a safer alternative to prescription pills? Read about hoodia gordonii side effects here and get brand reviews and recommendations.
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