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Are There Any Safe Diet Pills?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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In independent reviews, and in some medical reviews, research suggests that the only safe diet pills are the ones that don’t provide temporary results. Most diet pills, whether in prescription form or marketed as “nutritional supplements” work because they are stimulants, and thus do have appetite suppression qualities. They are not magic bullets that can be substituted for the actual benefits of a healthy diet and exercise. Further, most people regain weight as soon as they stop taking diet pills, since appetite suppression is not self-willed, but is controlled by a pill.

The dangers of taking amphetamines, including caffeine to control appetite are numerous. They can raise blood pressure, affect heart rhythm, and in some cases cause hearts attacks and stroke. They are also not safe because they are addictive. Even caffeine diet pills can cause addiction which may lead to overuse or overdose.

The more serious of the diet pills containing ephedrine, or ephedrine type supplements have been linked to dangerous arrhythmias and heart attack. Sadly, though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was able to pull most versions of ephedrine off the shelves, it’s still widely available on the Internet, and may be still be sold in tea form in stores.

As most doctors are eager to point out, if we truly had access to safe diet pills that worked, no American would be overweight. This is obviously not the case, and it is clear that many diet pills cause more harm than good. Many ingredients in diet pills that are deemed as safe are actually not tested for safety by the FDA.

When diet pills are marketed as nutritional supplements, they do not need to go through the same rigorous testing that applies to prescription medication. The FDA can only act if a product has been shown to cause significant harm. Thus there is always risk in taking diet pills.

Many so-called safe diet pills have a combination of ingredients that may interact with other medications. For example, some combine hoodia and St. John’s Wort. Little is known about hoodia at this point, except that many doubt its effectiveness. St. John’s Wort can interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which many take for depression. It can also cause hypersensitivity to the sun.

One current diet pill marketed as Leptoprin and sometimes as Anorex, has a particularly deceptive marketing aspect. Leptoprin sells for 153 US dollars (USD) per bottle, and advertisements urge, only those who are “serious about dieting” should purchase the product. Some forms of Leptoprin have Ephedra and do suppress appetite.

Additionally, the company refuses to give a full ingredient list, and anecdotal evidence suggests these are clearly not safe. Many who take it report increased urination, allergic reactions, heart palpitations, muscle cramps, and feeling spaced out or sped up. Some further report difficulty sleeping, and dramatic loss in appetite.

The non-ephedrine version of Anorex contains an ephedrine like clone that is still not considered to result in safe diet pills. In fact most diet pills that no longer contain Ephedra contain bitter orange extract. This again has been shown to raise blood pressure.

Since safe diet pills really don’t appear to exist, it makes more sense to come up with a safe diet. Planning with a doctor can help one find ways to eat sensibly and to exercise in a safe manner. Though studies have shown diet and exercise tend to result in more gradual weight loss, they also show that people who adopt healthier attitudes toward eating and exercising seem to be able to keep weight off.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon341778 — On Jul 14, 2013

It's true that there are no quick solutions to losing weight. Generally, exercise and dieting would still be the best natural way to lose weight, but that doesn't mean it's effective for all people. Some people, like me, have been using herbal weight loss supplements and I find it really effective. I have been using prescopodene and it has given me a significant amount of weight loss with no side effects to date. Not all pills are bad for the body.

By peachy1234 — On May 27, 2013

I gained so much weight when I stopped going to the gym last year and I think this is also caused by having too much stress and pressure at work. I have so many things to do that most of the time, I failed to monitor my food intake.

Right now, I am close to being obese. My friends advise me to take diet pills. But I am afraid to take one because of the many negative comments concerning their side effects. Do you know some medication which has minimal side effects? Please do let me know.

By Rowie70 — On Dec 31, 2012

I have been losing weight safely (I assume I have as I feel great) by using supplements by Innoveat (suppress, satisfy and shed). Granted, they are not the cheapest diet pills I have tried, but unlike others I have tried they are not a quick fix and according to Innoveat, promote safe weight loss. Innoveat also echoes many of the points in this article about other unsafe pills which is comforting to me as I have lost a total of 14 pounds and am now 100 percent relaxed about continuing to take them.

By anon306326 — On Nov 29, 2012

I just found coupons for two diet pills: Qsymia and Suprenza. Has anybody tried either of these? I am obese and have an appointment in a few weeks with my doc. I think I am going to try to see if I can get on one of these diet pills.

By anon278642 — On Jul 08, 2012

I have also found a product that has worked for me: Proactol. Because it is made of natural ingredients, the side effects are minimal and results were quick.

By anon131315 — On Dec 02, 2010

There are some busy people who eat fatty foods to sustain their lifestyle and can't exercise

regularly because of the tight schedule they have. Diet pills are good as long as it is proven safe. I've taken pills for one year now and I'm enjoying the benefits. People should be aware of the health risk of the products they are buying.

By anon122698 — On Oct 29, 2010

Right you are. There are no easy solutions but to work at it and modify diet and exercise patterns. The good news is that those who take off weight gradually have a lower incidence of regaining the weight.

By anon93978 — On Jul 06, 2010

i want to try diet pills because even though they can be risky, what if I'm one person that it works for and i don't have any heath issues in the future. And i can't even tell you how discouraged i am lately just trying to lose weight and nothing's happening.

I want to try it so bad. I've heard all the health lectures from doctors, my mom, grandma and dad. But shoot! Can't i have my own miracle!

By amypollick — On May 04, 2010

@Anon81812: Have you thought about water aerobics? That would help you get some exercise, but the water and a life vest would help hold you up, so even if your balance isn't great, you could still do the exercises, using the water as resistance, and hold on to the side of the pool if you needed to.

I have a friend who does aquatherapy and physical therapy with people and she has had several stroke victims who have done well using this method of exercise. Good luck!

By anon81812 — On May 03, 2010

I have been looking for a safe way to help me suppress my appetite, but I have many factors that could prevent that.

In 2007 I had a bypass followed up by a stroke, which left me disabled in walking. Not having activity in my life limits my ability to exercise like I would like to.

This has put on a lot of weight, but the weight gain is also very dangerous to my overall being. It is a catch-22 situation for me. Most doctors do not address this in depth, other than to recommend to eat sensibly and exercise!

By anon42269 — On Aug 20, 2009

I agree that the only tried and true way to lose weight is to eat well and exercise, however it would be really great if there was a diet pill or some aid out there that was safe to take to help boost you in the beginning. Getting the weight off is really tough to begin with and when you don't see the scale or your clothes size dropping at all it's very discouraging which is probably why people stop doing it.

By WGwriter — On May 01, 2008

Tugboats,

Right you are. There are no easy solutions but to work at it and modify diet and exercise patterns. The good news is that those who take off weight gradually have a lower incidence of regaining the weight.

By tugboats — On May 01, 2008

It is too bad that there doesn't seem to be any safe and super easy way to lose weight. Wouldn't you think by now that we'd have the science and technology to come up with something? At least with Americans, a lot of the problem is portion size - we just eat too much. We think very large portions are totally reasonable, when in fact they are much more than we need. I even know quite a few people who do that with their dogs and cats!

We also eat way too much fat and sugar, and eat for emotional reasons, not because we're hungry. Changing all of those factors is harder than just taking a diet pill, but that is what we'll have to do if we want to lose weight.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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