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Dangerous Diet Pills

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 Posted by Travis Saunders
A big thanks to Peter for carrying the load the past few days while I traveled home to New Brunswick for the Holidays (I arrived safely this morning). We will do our best to continue posting throughout the Holiday season, although we may post slightly less often than usual as we are both traveling to visit family over the next week or so.

I came across this very interesting video this afternoon on the CNN website. According to the report, several over the counter weight loss medications being sold in the United States contain prescription medications as active ingredients, sometimes in very high doses (both of which are big no-no's). Further, some of these diet pills contain medications and chemicals which have not even been approved by the FDA for sale within the USA. For example, they report that Rimonabant, which was pulled from trials earlier this year due to concerns that it could lead to depression and suicidal ideation (and has not been approved by the FDA), is nonetheless listed as an active ingredient in one of these over the counter diet pills. Possible carcinogens and other prescription medications are also listed as active ingredients in other diet pills. According to Dr Janet Woodcock of the FDA "Consumers have no way of knowing that these products contain powerful drugs that could cause serious health consequences".

Frequent readers of the blog will know that Peter and I are not fans of over the counter diet pills in general. Unfortunately this report suggests that diet pills aren't just bad because they are often ineffective as we have argued in the past, but because they can also be outright dangerous.


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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