Eating Disorders Increase the Use of Non Prescription Weight Loss Pills

Non Prescription Weight Loss Pills

Eating disorders are common among adolescents and teenagers. Being overweight or obese can negatively influence self-esteem. To lose weight out of desperation, people opt for easy methods to lose weight including OTC or Non Prescription Weight Loss Pills.

These Non-Prescription Weight Loss Pills can negatively impact their health. In a meta-analysis, the use of Non-Prescription Weight Loss Pills was estimated at around 5.3%.

The use of these weight loss pills was more common in teenagers and adolescent girls.

Eating Disorders and Non-Prescription Weight Loss Pills: Key Points of the Study:

  1. About 1 in 10 adolescents, especially girls, have used non-prescribed weight-loss products, which may have harmful consequences on their health.
  2. This study, covering over 600,000 participants, indicates a global concern, with 56% of the studies from North America.
  3. These weight-loss products are found to be ineffective for losing weight, and their long-term use can lead to health problems.
  4. Considering the ineffectiveness and potential harm, there’s a need for interventions to discourage adolescents, particularly girls, from using non-prescribed weight-loss products.

Eating disorders are serious conditions affecting both the body and emotions of young people, causing substantial harm to their overall health [ref].

Furthermore, disordered eating is linked to negative psychosocial issues, impacting mental and social well-being adversely [ref].

This trend is more common among adolescents as they look for ways to lose weight through dieting or taking medications without a doctor’s prescription.

The use of such weight loss products has been linked to psychological disorders like depression or low self-esteem [ref].

However, it does not stop there, the use of weight loss medicines without a prescription has been associated with substance abuse as well [ref].

A quick solution regarding this persistent and unhealthy behavior would be to spread awareness.

More information regarding the harms of weight loss products or non-prescribed drugs must be put out so people can understand the actual damage.

A study posted this month in the JAMA network took a deeper and broader dive into the effects and prevalence of non-prescription weight loss products.

Many teenagers, especially females, are using weight-loss products, according to the research. 

Researchers emphasize the significance of putting interventions in place to reduce the use of these products among this demographic, given their ineffectiveness for weight loss and the possible long-term health risks they pose.

This is an alarming condition as 1 in 10 people are consuming such drugs or products leading to a decline in their health.


Study methods and analysis:

The study on teenagers’ use of weight-loss products was done carefully, following PRISMA guidelines for meta-analysis.

Researchers searched databases like EMBASE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and CINAHL for articles from 1985 to 2023. They also checked Google Scholar and references for more data.

To choose studies, the researchers included observational ones revealing how much teenagers use weight-loss products.

These products refer to drugs and supplements that control weight without a prescription. The researchers evaluated the studies’ quality using the Joanna Briggs Institute Appraisal Checklist.

The researchers checked 90 studies to figure out how many teenagers use weight-loss stuff.

They also looked at specific things like when, what kind of products, boys or girls, different places, and publication years.

The goal was to really understand how much teens use these products and what things are connected to them. They did this by carefully studying lots of existing research.


Commonly Used Non Prescription Weight Loss Pills:

ozempic diarrhea after eating Non Prescription Weight Loss Pills

There are different weight loss pills. Some are FDA-approved such as Alli (Orlistat). Other weight loss pills available OTC are non-FDA Approved.

Phentermine is commonly sold as an OTC appetite-suppressant diet pill. However, the FDA has approved Phentermine + Topiramate as a single pill under the brand name Qsymia.

The meta-analysis mentioned above found that around 5.3% of people are using non-prescription weight loss pills.

6% of the people are using “diet pills”, 4% are using laxatives, and 2% are using diuretics.

These are hazardous weight-loss methods and can result in serious consequences.

For example, the use of diuretics and laxatives can cause severe dehydration, shut down your kidneys, and result in electrolyte imbalance (leading to cardiac arrhythmias – heart beating abnormally).


The Healthy Alternative to Weight Loss Pills

While teenagers struggle to lose weight and find the perfect method that works for them, they may get lost in the realm of unhealthy ways of losing pounds.

However, shedding the extra weight is not as complicated as it is assumed. With healthy practice and a lot of patience, you can definitely see your desired kgs on a weight scale.

For your convenience here are some weight loss methods that are better than non-prescribed drugs.

  • Stress management:

This is critical to maintain the health of your body and your mind together. Abnormal stress can lead people to engage in comfort eating which is just an excessive intake of calories.

Additionally, studies have demonstrated that stress management has a positive effect on weight loss and leads to a healthier lifestyle.

Also, the release of cortisol during stress can lead to fat deposition around the belly area [ref].

Simply, when you are less stressed you are more likely to make appropriate choices for your daily meals and remain healthy.

  • Consistent physical exercise:

Increased calorie expenditure, better metabolism, and enhanced overall fitness are just a few benefits of consistent exercise [ref].

Mostly people give up the gym or working out for reasons like laziness or a hectic schedule. This can alter their weight loss journey.

Frequent exercise also helps to lower stress, elevate mood, and enhance general health, which forms a comprehensive and long-lasting strategy for managing weight [ref].

Non Prescription Weight Loss Pills best exercises for ankylosing spondylitis

  • Balanced Diet:

This gives your body the right mix of important nutrients, promoting overall well-being and helping with weight loss.

It means consuming a variety of foods in the right amounts, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

You can follow the dietary guidelines to help choose the best and appropriate portions of food daily. [ref]

Using this method guarantees that your body receives the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other essential elements for optimal functioning.

A balanced diet makes it more comfortable to lose weight in a realistic and manageable way than a fad diet.

It not only promotes steady weight loss but also keeps your metabolism in check and guards against nutrient shortages.

  • Seeking professional help:

You can lose weight on your own but there might be some conditions that require you to consult an expert.

  • Medical conditions:

You might be suffering from medical conditions that can lead to weight gain, for example, hypothyroidism, PCOS, Cushing’s syndrome, etc [ref]. In such cases, you must consult your physician before taking on a weight loss program.

In this way, you can learn to lose weight while managing the disorder at the same time. It is also advised to inform your trainer about the medicines you take as some steroids are a reason behind weight gain.

  • Unexplained Symptoms:

When you try to lose pounds but experience signs like abnormal hair growth or irregular menstrual cycle it is better to inform your physician immediately.

Symptoms can help you identify a condition before it can progress any further. Particularly if you cannot lose weight despite all efforts or if you see a sudden loss in body weight.

  • Dietitian on board:

Food is the best remedy for a number of concerns including weight loss. So, when you are trying to get lean you can consult a nutritionist who can devise a diet chart for you. This way you can eat healthy without compromising on taste as well.


What do you think?

Written by Dr. Ahmed

I am Dr. Ahmed (MBBS; FCPS Medicine), an Internist and a practicing physician. I am in the medical field for over fifteen years working in one of the busiest hospitals and writing medical posts for over 5 years.

I love my family, my profession, my blog, nature, hiking, and simple life. Read more about me, my family, and my qualifications

Here is a link to My Facebook Page. You can also contact me by email at or at My Twitter Account
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