A study released in late January warns that individuals who have purchased diet pills from South America may be unintentionally compromising their health. Due to the unprecedented international purchasing possibilities of the Internet, it appears that many US residents who are looking for new dietary solutions may fall prey to unscrupulous sales -- and may even be taking amphetamines without even knowing it!
A study recently been published online in Springer's Journal of General Internal Medicine which was carried out by Dr Pieter Cohen of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School, brings attention to this unfortunate abuse. In the US, the FDA has already banned amphetamine-based appetite suppressants, but they are still prevalent internationally.
Fenproporex is one of the most widely used of these appetite suppressants. It is quickly converted into amphetamine, and addictive. But due to its international availability in locales like Brazil, this drug has found its way to the US through Internet sales despite the FDA's appropriate ban on the substance. It appears that many are unaware that these diet pills combine fenproporex and benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors, diuretics, laxatives, thyroid hormones and other substances.
"To illustrate the risks posed by taking these diet pills, Dr Cohen reviews two case reports of patients taking appetite suppressants containing fenproporex, illegally imported from Brazil. In the first case, a 26-year-old woman suffered from intermittent chest pains, palpitations, headaches and insomnia for two years. She consulted her doctor numerous times over the two-year period for these unexplained symptoms. Her urine tested positive for amphetamines and benzodiazepines, and both fenproporex and chlordiazepoxide were present in her pills. Her symptoms disappeared after she stopped taking the imported pills.
"In the second case, a 38-year-old man tested positive for amphetamines after an occupational urine screening test and was suspended from work. Both fenproporex and fluoxetine were detected in his imported pills. While he was taking the pills he also experienced insomnia and palpitations, symptoms which disappeared after he stopped taking the pills. In both cases, not all the substances detected in the pills matched the ingredients on the vial labels."
"Given the wide variety of potential adverse effects from the medications included in these diet pills, patients attempting to lose weight who experience unexplained symptoms should be specifically questioned [by their physicians] regarding the use of imported diet pills," said Dr. Cohen.
We might add that before taking any form of dieting pills, it is always prudent to make sure that it has approved by the FDA and is sold legally in the US. In all cases, it is always best to consult one's doctor first before any dietary alterations of this type.
SpringerLink: Imported Fenproporex-based Diet Pills from Brazil: A Report of Two Cases
Science Daily: Hidden Amphetamines In Some Diet Pills Pose Health and Employment Risks
MSNBC: Diet pills from Brazil pose big health risks
Examiner: Amphetamine Based Diet Pills Ensure You'll Lose More than Just Weight
Fox News: Report Warns of Dangerous Amphetamines Found in Online Diet Pills