Drugs very beneficial for people to lose weight

Many drugs are coming into the market which may be very beneficial for people to lose weight. However, these medications may not be good for everybody especially those affected with certain conditions. Many people suggest that the best way to lose weight would be through diet and exercises. However, if the individual is experiencing great difficulty in losing weight or if the individual is experiencing a serious health problem due to obesity, then the physicians are often compelled to administer weight-losing pills (The Mayo Clinic. 2006).

However, they are frequently being abused. Orlistat, a weight-losing pill, is frequently utilized in hypertensive, diabetics, hypercholesterolemia, and heart disorders to help the individual tackle obesity and bring the weight within normal limits. They belong to the group ‘Lipase inhibitors’ that prevent the body from taking up fat from the gut, and allowing it to be excreted into the stools. Individuals consuming food should make sure that the fats present in the diet are reduced (no more 30 % calories consumed should be derived from fats).

Besides, exercises need to be performed that would also help in lowering the body weight. Usually, the Orlistat is sold as a prescription drug in 120 mg capsules. Soon, an over-the-counter version of Orlistat is going to be available in doses of 60 mg, which the FDA has given the go ahead. The drug would be available for individuals over the age of 18 only. A well-known physician from Phoenix Art Mollen is concerned that the use of these drugs is going to soar, and that it would be abused especially by individuals below the age of 18 years.

He says “There are literally millions of people in this country who want to lose weight….. When someone tells them they’re going to lose a lot of weight by taking a particular medicine, they’re going to try it. ” (Quoted from The Arizona Republic). He is most concerned that the abusers of these drugs would be teenagers, body-builders, young girls, and individuals suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Over-the-counter Orlistat (available as brand name Alli) is to be consumed thrice daily, and is seemingly safer than the professionally prescribed version. According to the studies conducted on Alli, individuals lost about 5 to 10 pounds when consumed over a six month period. However, the results of the studies may have not been accurate or consistent. Besides, only the short-term effects of the drug are known, and the long-term effects remain to be a mystery (The Arizona Republic. 2007).

Orlistat is known to cause a few side-effects such as loose stools, presence of oil in the stools, erratic and excessive bowel movements, stomach pain, abnormal menstrual periods, difficulty in controlling bowl movements, etc. The chances of these side-effects are even greater when the individuals do not restrict the fat content in the diet. Several serious side-effects that rarely occur include allergic reactions, itching sensations, difficulty in breathing, etc. The individual has to exert certain precautions when consuming the drug.

The drug can be potentially dangerous to individuals with malabsorption syndromes, gall bladder problems and kidney problems. Besides, pregnant women and lactating mothers should not consume the drug as it can be dangerous to the developing baby. As Orlistat prevents the absorption of fats from the gut, fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A (including its precursor beta carotene), vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K may not be absorbed well into the body. The individual is at a high risk of developing vitamin deficiency disorders such as rickets, night blindness, etc (Medline Plus.

2007). In the past several other drugs have been used to bring about weight-loss such as amphetamines (a drug that stimulates the brain and the central nervous system), fenfluramine (a drug that raises the level of serotonin), TrimSpa (that was in the NEWS recently associated with the Anna Nicole Smith episode) and Sibutramine (The Arizona Republic. 2007). Fenfluramine was available in combination with an amphetamine known as ‘phentermine’ (known as ‘Fen-Phen’).

This combination works by suppressing the appetite and increasing the biochemical processes in the body (metabolism), and may cause several side-effects such as heart disorders (especially damaging the heart valves), rise in pressure of the blood entering the lungs, etc. Fenfluramine causes a rise in the serotonin level present in the brain, and is associated with several other side-effects such as a rise in the blood pressure, sleeplessness, palpitations, depression, and a rise in the pulse rate (due to its stimulating effect). Fenfluramine in high doses tends to stimulate the nervous system.

Individuals who have previously consumed may have suffered damage of the heart valves and require antibiotic preventive treatment whenever certain invasive procedures are performed on the body, and the risk of infective endocarditis is high (Pallasch. 1999). Trimspa contains several other individual drugs such as caffeine, a Chinese herb (ephedra), a tropical berry derivative (guarana) and tea (The Arizona Republic. 2007). The individual is at a high-risk of developing strokes, and the drugs can have a stimulating effect on the CNS.

The individual can develop both highs and lows when using the drug. Ephedra is known to be very beneficial to the body in low doses and is used for colds, allergic conditions and bronchitis. However, when used excessively, especially in association with weight loss, the effects could be disastrous on the heart. The drug contains certain amounts of the neurotransmitters ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine which could affect respiration, heart beat and nerve transmission (Esther Hwang. 2005).

Some of the amphetamines are known to cause a rise in the blood pressure, palpitations, sleeplessness and increased heart rate (due to stimulation), along with euphoria (state of wellbeing). Due to the euphoria, the chances of addiction and dependence on amphetamines are very high (Craddock. 1976). Sibutramine, another weight-losing medication, works by suppressing the appetite. The appetite centers in the central nervous system are inhibited resulting in a reduction of the appetite. It obstructs the uptake of neurotransmitters nor-epinephrine, serotonin and dopamine by the nerve cells.

The drug can cause several side-effects such as headache, constipation, heartburn, zerostomia (dryness of the mouth), nervousness, drowsiness, sleeplessness, abnormal menstrual cycle, chest pain, rise in the blood pressure within the vessels that enter the lungs (pulmonary hypertension), breathing problems, heart disorders, rise in the blood pressure, vomiting, irritability, dizziness, rise in the pressure within the eyeball, confusion, seizures, fever, itching, visual defects, hoarseness of the voice, allergic reactions, bleeding, etc.

The more serious side-effects need immediate medical care (Medline Plus. 2007). Individuals with serious renal or liver problems should not be administered this drug. There is another effect that weight-losing drugs have on the body. The chances of gaining weight once the drugs are stopped when drug treatment is performed individually (Mayo Clinic. 2006). This may be harmful especially those with a medical disorder requiring precise maintenance of body weight.

Hence, some individual are persuaded to consume the drug for extended periods of time, which may have a disastrous effect on the body. Drug therapy cannot help to modify the defective eating patterns of the individual (Galloway. 1984). Due to all these facts, weight-losing pills have a high potential of causing harm to the body and hence should be best avoided during weight control regimens.


Connie Midey. Weight-loss drugs can’t replace exercise, healthy eating. 2007. The Arizona Republic. 16 Mar 2007 http://www.azcentral. com/arizonarepublic/arizonaliving/articles/0306qamollen0306. html Craddock D. “Anorectic drugs: use in general practice. ” Drugs 11. 5 (1976): 378-393. http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/entrez/query. fcgi? itool=abstractplus;db=pubmed;cmd=Retrieve;dopt=abstractplus;list_uids=782835 Esther Hwang. Diet supplement abuse causes worry. 2005. The Johns Hopkins New Letter. 16 Mar 2007 http://media. www. jhunewsletter. com/media/storage/paper932/news/2005/04/21/Science/Diet-Supplement. Abuse. Causes. Worry-2243418. shtml

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