What You Need to Know About Appetite Suppressants
Diet and weight loss pills and supplements come with their own set of risks and side effects, including when using appetite suppressants. But are all appetite suppressants risky or can they offer some sort of benefit? Here is what you need to know!
More than two-thirds of the U.S. adult population are considered overweight or obese, increasing their risk of many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Achieving a healthy weight can mitigate such risks, though people may look for a diet pill to shed off those pounds. But such pills and supplements also come with their own set of risks and side effects, including when using appetite suppressants. But are all appetite suppressants risky or can they offer some sort of benefit? Here is what you need to know!
What Are Appetite Suppressants?
Appetite suppressants are essentially as the name suggests: a suppressor of appetite. Suppressing and curbing appetite can facilitate weight loss by prompting individuals to eat less with ease. There are numerous types of prescription appetite suppressants, along with suppressants that can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) and considered herbal remedies:
Prescription Appetite Suppressants
Appetite suppressants such as Contrave, Belviq, Qsymia, Saxenda have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All work to encourage feelings of fullness and suppress hunger by targeting hunger signals in the brain, while Qsymia also acts as a stimulant. However, only those considered clinically overweight or obese (with a body mass index (BMI) or 30 or greater), or individuals with a BMI of 27 or greater in conjuction with a health condition related to weight, including type 2 diabetes and hypertension, are eligible for a prescribed appetite suppressant.
Over-the-Counter Appetite Suppressants
Unlike prescription appetite stimulants, OTC pills are not regulated by the FDA and allow individuals to purchase them at a drug store or online without the need for a prescription. OTC appetite stimulants are the pills you likely see advertised as a "fat burner" on social media sites, along with bogus claims such as "lose 30 pounds in a month" or "drop a dress size in a week."
Herbal Appetite Suppressants
Like other appetite suppressants, plant-based herbal appetite suppressants are suggested to signal satiety responses from the brain. Some also have diuretic or laxative properties to increase urination or bowel movements, which may instantly help you feel lighter and give false hope, as true fat loss requires the harmony of healthy lifestyle choices, including a nutritious diet and regular exercise.
Are Appetite Suppressants Safe and Effective?
Some appetite suppressants actually have shown to be safe and support weight loss, particularly when prescribed and monitored by a healthcare professional. However, it is imperative to always consult with your primary care provider before taking any sort of diet pill or remedy, including OTC and herbal appetite suppressants. Equally important to mention, and while safe use of appetite suppressants exist, there is also the issue and risk of side effects. Common side effects of appetite suppressants include constipation, fatigue, dry mouth, headache, high blood pressure, dizziness, heart palpitations, and chest pain. Worryingly, too, Contrave has been found to cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors in young people, while Qsymia increases the risk for birth defects.
OTC and herbal appetite suppressants are also largely unregulated, meaning they are not tested for safety or efficacy by the FDA before being put on the market. While it is noteworthy to mention if the FDA determines that a product or ingredient is unsafe, it can take the product off the market, there are products that contain normally-safe ingredients that still pose side effects. For instance, while caffeine is generally safe, taking too much can have unpleasant side effects such as jitteriness and heart palpitations. But rather than taking the risk of OTC and herbal appetite suppressants, these 11 natural appetite suppressants ensure adequate nutrient intake, along with lessening the likelihood of adverse side effects of appetite suppressants that come in supplemental form.
Nonetheless, since each medication displays both pros and cons, it is always a good idea to weigh your options carefully with your doctor and discuss personal health history, including current health conditions; medications and supplements you take; and whether you are pregnant, plan to get pregnant, and breastfeeding.
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