Over-the-counter diet pills and prescription weight loss pills serve the same purpose; to help an individual lose weight. Prescription pills are FDA-approved medications that are prescribed by a medical professional.
In contrast, over-the-counter pills can include herbal supplements, which may not necessarily have FDA approval, but can be found at numerous drugstores and health shops without the need for a prescription.
The two categories of drugs serve one or all of three goals: to increase the body’s ability to burn fats, to inhibit the body’s ability to absorb fats from ingested food, and to reduce the individual’s appetite, thus reducing calorie and fat intake.
However, despite the similarities in function, the two categories of weight loss drugs have significant differences in their effectiveness.
- Over the counter, pills are less safe.
Weight loss pills come with the promise of immense changes to body weight and size after taking them for a specific period. One of the three inhibitive techniques stated earlier, the pills help the user control their body’s fat accumulation and consequently helps them lose weight.
The results of the pills can be visible from a few months of faithful consumption. However, the effectiveness of these pills also relies on the safety of consuming them. Prescription weight loss pills usually get recommended to a doctor after considering their health and eliminating all other alternatives.
In most cases, the doctor has to strictly monitor the patient’s health history, note allergies and other requirements, and warn them of possible side effects from consuming the drugs.
Further, with prescriptions, the doctor will effectively dissuade specific individuals, like pregnant and breastfeeding women and people who could have violent reactions to the drugs, from taking specific weight loss pills.
With a doctor’s prescription, safety is guaranteed chiefly during consumption of these diet pills. Additionally, all prescription medicines given by medical professionals have FDA approval, which means that they are safe for human consumption and that their benefits outweigh the risks.
It also means that the prescription pills have been adequately tested to ascertain the effectiveness of their claims while fulfilling the quality standards set by the government or the global medical community, making them the most effective diet supplements.
On the other hand, most over-the-counter diet pills do not have any approval from the FDA and other quality assurance bodies. They also often have hidden ingredients that are not listed on their packages, banned for their damaging effects on consumers.
Without fulfilling standard safety requirements, over-the-counter diet pills often create more harm than good on their consumers.
- Over-the-counter pills may have dire long-term effects.
Quality assurance bodies well regulate prescription weight loss pills, and with sufficient examination by doctors before prescription to a patient, the occurrence of any dire consequences is minimized.
Over-the-counter diet pills, on the other hand, are not regulated; hence it is difficult to gauge their effects on consumers in the long term. Most over-the-counter diet pills are sold on unofficial channels, like directly from the manufacturer or online channels, often without sufficient testing and safety assessment.
Consequently, it is often hard to control the types of diet drugs pushed through these avenues, most of which do not come with recommended dosages.
With the addition of the hidden ingredients, patients taking these pills are unwittingly exposing themselves to severe health consequences in the future. Without a well-documented dosage, a patient can accidentally overdose, leading to death or severe health complications.
On the other hand, they could also consume too little, further delaying the process of weight loss they seek. Additionally, some of the ingredients hidden in these drugs hold dark consequences. For instance, many over-the-counter diet pills contain the ingredient sibutramine, an ingredient banned by the FDA in 2010.
While sibutramine aids in appetite reduction, a primary objective of diet pills also holds severe side effects like increased blood pressure, mood changes, and amnesia. These side effects could cause tragedy on patients with a history of heart disease and other complications.
The consumption of over-the-counter diet pills without a doctor’s prescription could also affect the effectiveness of other medications the patient may be consuming, either reducing the medication’s effectiveness or exacerbating the side effects to a critical level. If the drugs get consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women, the contents of the drugs could also affect the children, probably altering their health at a young age.
Finally, the drugs could potentially affect the consumer’s future metabolism negatively. For instance, by limiting the body’s fat absorption capabilities, the drugs can inadvertently permanently stop the body from ever managing this function, even after discontinuation of the use of the diet pills.
Consequently, the patient will face more than they had expected and even potentially cause more harm to the body’s proper function.