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Dietary supplements online? It’s good to be careful there, too

The holidays have come and gone; Valentine chocolates are a memory. For some people, it is time to start a new diet to lose unwanted pounds of holiday cheer.

The weight-loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business in the US.  There are many options available to dieters, ranging from exercise, meal planning, and emotional support to diet drugs and diet supplements. However, not all options are supplied by reputable or ethical businesses. On the Internet, dieters should exercise caution when looking for diet supplements as aids to losing weight.

LegitScript frequently discovers unscrupulous rogue pharmacies and herbal websites that sell diet medications without prescriptions, or herbal diet supplements tainted with undeclared drugs.  These online businesses are potentially harmful to the health of online dieters.

What about prescription weight loss drugs like phentermine, Meridia, or Xenical? First, taking a prescription diet medication without advice and monitoring from your physician is simply not the right thing to do.  Diet medications can impact your respiratory, vascular and digestive systems, and interact with other medications.   Awareness of your own physical condition along with the advice and support of a trusted physician is the best choice when using a diet medication to reach weight loss goals.  When you have your physician’s support, you are able to make a better decision about using an online pharmacy, and you can use LegitScript pharmacy verification to select a reputable and ethical online pharmacy to fill your diet prescription. Prescription weight loss drugs sent directly from foreign suppliers to patients are not regulated by the FDA, and may or may not contain the proper active ingredients.

But what about non-prescription dietary supplements, like “phenermine,” “phetrimine,” or one of dozens of others? Legal without a prescription perhaps, but taking a diet herbal supplement without advice from a trusted physician or health professional can also present potential health risks.  Some herbal supplements include natural herbs that are known to interact with commonly prescribed prescription medications and even common foods like caffeine beverages.  These interactions can range from mildly unpleasant to potentially life-threatening side-effects.

Additionally, tainted herbal diet supplements containing undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients continue to present a health risk for dieters.

Just look at the history of this issue. In January 2008 and January 2009, the FDA issued a public warning and a long list of tainted herbal supplements that had been tested and found to contain undeclared, active pharmaceuticals. Some of these products continue to be sold online.  In 2010, more tainted herbal supplements were found and recalled. Troublingly, 2011 has started in the same way with several FDA tainted diet supplement warnings accompanied by product recalls of diet supplements tainted with Sibutramine, a prescription medication (and controlled substance!).  These FDA food and dietary supplement warnings and recall notices can be found by checking this FDA website.

A New Year resolution to start your diet should include a “be good to yourself” clause. Talk with your physician and health care provider for advice and make a plan that fits your weight loss and long-term health goals.  Be skeptical of websites and forums that promote diet medications without prescriptions or powerful herbal supplements with unpleasant side-effects and packaging that includes many warnings or restrictions.