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Choosing and Taking Your Diet Pills

Which diet pill is right for you? First, you should know that there are two kinds of diet pills in the market: the prescription diet pills and the over-the-counter diet pills.

Prescription diet pills are drugs that have to be prescribed at certain dosages to monitor and possibly avoid side effects. Orlistat (Xenical) is most popular and approved for long-term use. Its side effects are diarrhea and unexpected fecal discharge. Thus, users should take a low-fat diet.

Over-the-counter diet pills are categorized as food alternatives and are unregulated. People should be aware that these diet pills are not FDA-tested and may result to serious side effects that can be fatal.

Local pharmacists may help in knowing the pills that are safe and those that are not for every person’s situation. Be very careful about supplements labeled to have natural ingredients. Not everything natural is safe. For example, Ma Huang, a botanical source of ephedrine, has been banned due to its potential to cause serious cardiovascular events.

People who have a family history of heart problems or those who have had seizures or stroke should avoid taking diet supplements. A person taking cold medicines, especially those with decongestants, is advised not to take diet pills.

As a general rule, taking diet drugs is not advised for pregnant women. People who are sensitive to sulfites and tartrazine should also avoid diet pills. Those under 18 years or more than 60 years old should discuss with their doctor first before taking any diet pills, especially if they depend on over-the-counter stimulants as their alternative to exercise.

How to Take Diet Pills

To protect your health, never take diet pills without your doctor’s recommendation. Here are other measures to observe when you decide to take diet pills:

  1. Never mix diet pills with drinks or soups. Take it whole with a full glass of water. Diet pills can cause diuresis or increased urination; this may lead to dehydration. As a preventive measure, it is best to drink 8 glasses of water every day while on diet pills.
  2. Do not overdose. Take only the recommended dosage. Taking more than what is required will not help you lose weight but add to the risk of its side effects.
  3. Check your heartbeat. It should be less than 86 beats per minute. Stop taking the pills if it reaches 90 or higher. Check your pulse regularly.
  4. Follow the instructions set by the dietician or doctor; do not depend solely on what is on the package insert. Diet pills only work if you follow a healthy diet.
  5. Stop taking diet pills after three months. Phenylpropanolamine is safe to use up to 16 weeks only. Studies show that it can cause health problems even if taken for less than a month.

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