The fast pace of today's lifestyle has made it increasingly more difficult for a lot of individuals to keep themselves healthy, fit, and in shape. This can obviously be said to be the same reason why the World Health Organization recently declared that there are over 1 billion people globally who can be classified as being overweight.
Consequently, there are a lot of people who in order to lose unhealthy body weight have turned to a plethora of products and services that are claiming to be able to help them overcome this growing epidemic. This growing need for an easier way to lose weight has over the years made diet pills one of the most popular options for millions of people.
Diet pills can generally be divided into two different types - prescription and over-the-counter diet pills. A clear understanding of their differences will help individuals know which options may be more appropriate to employ in their weight management efforts.
1. Prescription Diet Pills
Like any other drug requiring prescription, this category of weight reduction pills is only available by recommendation from a registered physician. Prescription based weight loss pills are usually approved and regulated by the FDA and have equally undergone some clinical trials for proven safety and effectiveness.
However, to be qualified for use of a prescription based weight management drugs, an individual must be considered either clinically overweight (with a BMI between 27 and 30) or obese (having a BMI over 30). Besides the patient's BMI, to be approved to use a prescription weight loss pill, a physician will have to make sure that the patient passes other set criteria that take into consideration his or her health history, potential drug interaction and side effects, and any other possible risk factor.
Two of the most popular FDA approved prescription based weight loss pills are sibutramine (Meridia) and orlistat (Xenical). However, it is important to note that just because prescription weight management drugs are recommended by physicians does not mean that they are risk-free. This simply means that the benefits of these diet pills outweigh the risks but not necessarily that they are totally safe to use.
2. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Diet Pills
OTC diet pills however do not necessarily require the approval of the FDA and are therefore not forced to undergo the same rigorous clinical testing as prescription weight management drugs. This category of weight loss pills work in a variety of ways by making use of different active ingredients which the manufacturers claim to have weight loss effects.
Although there are various type of active ingredients in most of the common over-the-counter diet pills, most contain one or more ingredients such as chromium, caffeine, green tea extract, chitosan, and hoodia. It therefore becomes very important to check the label of the product to know its exact constituent ingredients when purchasing an over-the-counter diet pill.
One fact that must be understood here is that herbal or plant-based supplements might cause side effects similar to those of conventional prescription weight loss medications. The choice of a weight loss supplement should be hinged on the value of the product and its proven safety and effectiveness. However, this idea is greatly hampered today by the fact that most research data on diet pills are not concise enough to be relied upon.
Therefore, irrespective of which type of weight loss medication you decide to use, it is still very important to consult with your physician before making a final decision to determine if there might be any possible undesirable side effects.
No matter the acclaimed effectiveness of any type of weight loss medication, the fact remains that it does not serve as a substitute to eating a healthy diet and leading an active life of regular exercise. They are simply intended to augment your personal weight loss efforts.
Therefore, to get the best from weight loss diet pills, there is the need to combine them with a healthy low-calorie diet and regular exercise.