Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Treatments: Do They Actually Work?

Yes, diet pills and supplements *are* too good to be true.

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You’ve probably seen commercials on TV claiming to hold the key to weight loss: a diet pill. Over the years, this industry has grown and continuously promised quick and easy results. As suspicious as these products are, many people really want to believe there is something out there that can help them lose weight successfully. But the question is, do over-the-counter weight loss treatments and supplements actually work?

Are OTC Weight Loss Treatments Safe?

Over-the-counter weight loss treatments typically fall under the category of supplements. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate or approve supplements. As a result, they aren’t as safe as medications, which go through intense testing to prove their safety and efficacy.

This can be dangerous for patients because weight loss supplements often contain ingredients like caffeine or antioxidants. In high doses, these ingredients may be harmful. The supplements may also contain thyroid or adrenal gland extract to boost metabolism, which may put an individual in danger.

Side Effects to Look Out For

Taking over-the-counter weight loss treatments could be dangerous to your health. Some potentially harmful side effects these supplements can cause include:

  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • High heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Low blood pressure

If you are taking an OTC weight loss supplement and notice these symptoms, call your doctor.

Should You Use OTC Diet Pills?

In short—no! Over-the-counter diet supplements have the potential to be dangerous, and there’s little proof that they provide long-term results. The reality is that there is no easy way to lose weight. Sustainable weight loss takes time, dedication, and patience. Learn more here about lifestyle changes for long-term weight loss here.

Luckily, there are many people who can help you. Talk to your doctor, endocrinologist, or registered dietitian if you’re having trouble losing weight. They can help you come up with a plan that is right for you and safe for your body.