Hyderabad: Slimming pills consumed by a 30-year-old woman led to her death in Bhopal recently bringing to light the improper manner in which these pills are consumed. Slimming pills are mostly taken by overweight women before getting married or when they are not able to conceive.
With instant weight-loss and immediate reduction of 5 to 10 kg these pills lure young women but they do have serious side-effects. These pills cannot be prescribed to those whose Body Mass Index is more than 30. The overweight can use the tablets but not the obese, as their body is already under a lot of pressure and, therefore, the pills are not recommended, say experts.
The first generation of tablets with the generic name of sibutramine has significant cardiac side-effects.
Dr K.S. Lakshmi, senior consultant of minimal access bariatric and metabolic surgery at Global Hospitals, said, “The slimming pills have cardiac toxicity. In an established set-up it is not prescribed without proper cardiac evaluation. These pills only help to control the appetite whereby the mind feels that the stomach is full. The absorption of fat during this period is minimal. Hence there is a feeling of immediate weight loss and lightness in the body. But it is just a myth. The minute people stop taking the tablets, the weight bounces back and is almost double.”
The advice given by doctors is to not rely on these pills. Their job is to control the hunger, but actual weight loss happens when there is a proper diet chart followed along with a set of exercises.
Dr Venugopal Pareek, bariatric surgeon, said, “The second generation of tablets like orlistat is very safe with minimal side-effects. The side-effects are sticky stools, abdominal cramps, frequent urge to pass stools, staining of undergarments due to uncontrolled passage of gases. But these tablets can be prescribed for only two to three months depending on the BMI.”
A senior doctor said, “Most of the patients have already had an experience by picking up the pills over the counter. Some of the tablets available in the market work towards reducing the water in the body which is very dangerous. The body when it loses water is definitely going to weigh less.”