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Diet pills are abundant and come under many different trade names. However, most contain some form of phentermine, which is an approved appetite suppressant of the amphetamine and phenethylamine class. Phentermine requires a prescription and is used to help reduce weight in obese patients when used short-term and combined with exercise, diet, and behavioral modification. It is typically prescribed for individuals who are at increased medical risk because of their weight and works by helping to release certain chemicals in the brain that control appetite.

Phentermine first received approval from the FDA in 1959 as an appetite suppressing drug. Phentermine hydrochloride then became available in the early 1970s. Phentermine is also currently sold as a generic. The most recent study on the drug was in 1990 which combined phentermine with fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine and became known as Fen-Phen. In 1997 after 24 cases of heart valve disease in Fen-Phen users, fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine were voluntarily taken off the market at the request of the FDA. Studies later proved that nearly 30% of people taking fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine had abnormal valve findings. The FDA did not ask manufacturers to remove phentermine from the market. Phentermine is still available by itself in most countries, including the U.S. However, because it is similar to amphetamines, it is classified as a controlled substance in many countries. It is recommended by the FDA that phentermine be used short-term, usually up to 12 weeks.

Diet pills that are available over the counter number in the hundreds. Generally, most diet pills tend not to make a big difference in how much weight you lose, but rather help by providing extra psychological motivation and by taking the edge off your appetite. Some contain a chemical called phenylpropanolamine (PPA). Unfortunately, PPA has been linked to many health problems, including stroke, high blood pressure, and anxiety. There has also been no scientific proof that PPA helps people permanently lose weight. Other ingredients in over-the-counter diet pills may include diuretics, caffeine or other stimulants used to speed up metabolism and control appetite. Another common ingredient are so-called carb-blockers and fat-blockers, which claim to prevent your body from absorbing fat and carbs. The idea is that taking these pills prior to eating will make it possible for you to eat what you want, while your body will be unable to process the macronutrient in question. None of these ingredients have a scientific basis for weight loss and can have dangerous side effects. Some are even dangerous. The best advice for any overweight person is to visit a doctor or nutritionist, and follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen to safely and permanently eliminate excess weight.


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