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Can Diet Drugs Mess With Your Mood?

There are numerous weight loss pills on the market. Sometimes they help to reduce weight, but they can also carry serious side effects. Recently, researchers gathered data on three of the most popular weight loss drugs - Xenical, Meridia and Acomplia - to determine their positive and negative physical and mental health effects.

30 trials involving over 19,000 people were analyzed by researchers in Canada and Brazil, producing very interesting results. The patients were men and women from 45 50 years old. Most of the volunteers weighed around 220 pounds with a body mass index of 35, and the participants used the diet drugs in varying time periods, from one to four years.

Xenical There were 16 trials involving over 10,000 people for Xenical, a drug that works by inhibiting fat digestion. Xenical is also known as Orlistat, or an over-the-counter weight loss drug available in the United States, Alli. While Xenical provided users with an average weight loss of 6.6 pounds, over 30% of the patients reported incontinence and disagreeable digestive effects. Researchers reported that Xenical reduced diabetes and improved blood pressure and cholesterol in the patients who lost weight.

Meredia Next, the researchers studied 10 trials on the drug Meredia involving over 2,500 people. Meredia showed an average participant weight loss of 9 pounds, but still 20% of the patients reported insomnia, nausea, high pulse rates and raised blood pressure. The researchers reported an improvement of cholesterol levels in Meredia users.


The last drug, Acomplia, yielded the highest weight loss results: an average of 11 pounds. There were 4 trials analyzed and over 6,000 people involved in the studies. Only 6% of the patients reported mood disorders and researchers reported improved cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Acomplia works by disrupting the brain nerve signals.

Another study reported that using Acomplia increased the risk of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric issues. The FDA also reported that a study on Acomplia showed that 26% developed anxiety, depression and in extreme cases, suicidal tendencies.

The FDA rejected the drug by refusing to authorize it. It is currently available in the United Kingdom, Greece, Germany, Austria and Denmark.

Mixed Results?

While researchers are focused on the fact that weight was lost, cholesterol and blood pressure was lowered and diabetes was minimized, most of the study participants stayed overweight or had very little weight loss, in addition to experiencing a wide variety of unpleasant side effects, from nausea, insomnia and raised blood pressure, to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

While some experts are commenting that any weight loss is a positive step and that even 5 pounds can make a big difference in health issues, other experts are worried that the long-term health effects are unknown and that people are being given a false sense of security to think that a pill can help substitute for overall lifestyle and health changes.

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