Medication in the Treatment of Obesity (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Medications to Avoid
Some medications are not recommended for weight loss because of safety concerns. Some are no longer available in the United States. Avoid them. Be sure to check any weight-loss products you acquire without a prescription to make sure they do not contain any of these products.
Two drugs known as fenfluramine (Pondimin) and dexfenfluramine (Redux) affect serotonin levels in the brain.
Ephedrine (ephedra, ma-huang)
A ruling by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Apr. 12, 2004, prohibits dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids (ephedra).
Ephedra, also called ma-huang, is a naturally occurring substance derived from plants. Its principal active ingredient is ephedrine, which, when chemically synthesized, is regulated as a drug. In recent years, ephedra products have been extensively promoted to aid weight loss, enhance sports performance, and increase energy. However, the FDA has determined that ephedra presents an unreasonable risk of illness or injury. Ephedrine has been linked to significant adverse health effects, including high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, stroke, and death.
Phenylpropanolamine (PPA) is a stimulant that is closely related to ephedrine. PPA was previously an ingredient in appetite suppressants as well as over-the-counter cough and cold remedies.
Gayle M. Galletta, MD, FACEP
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