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Sibutramin in Weight Loss Food Supplements Risks and Benefits

Weight loss pills, as well as natural herbal food supplements, promoting weight loss, are always in demand on the market; especially today, when the amount of people, suffering from overweight and obesity grows tremendously. In the fight against extra pounds of body fat some people prefer pharmaceutical options, relying on the progress of pharmaceutical science, while others give their votes to alternative medicine, trying to kill two birds, named Effectiveness and Safety, with one stone.

Though the official science makes every effort to uncrown miracles in medicine, not rarely those efforts remain bootless. Many people still believe in the miraculous powers of alternative medicine with its herbal remedies and food supplements, capable of healing even the most serious conditions, where the official medicine is helpless.

To be unbiased enough, it is necessary to admit that in certain cases herbal remedies are really capable of treating health condition much better than pharmaceutical pills. But the other truth is that sometimes herbal remedies exploit not only the ancient wisdom of traditional medicine, but also the achievements of modern science. The big problem here is that sometimes the manufacturers of herbal remedies or food supplements “forget” to inform their customers that their products contain a particular pharmaceutical ingredient along with dozens of natural herbs.

One of the ingredients, which potentially may be and often is hidden by the manufacturers of herbal remedies and food supplements for weight loss, is called sibutramin. Why do they “hide” the fact of this substance presence in their products? Well, there are dozens of motivations to do that, starting from “to avoid clinical trials and patent law restrictions” and finishing with “to support a pure belief in miracles”… But our task is to reveal the consequences of such situation, when weight loss products, claimed to be 100% natural, contain hidden and undeclared pharmaceutical ingredients.

First discovered in 1987, sibutramin was originally prescribed as an antidepressant. However, later the scientists opened a new benefit of this medication, which resulted in the new indication of sibutramin. The point is that sibutramin is highly effective in suppressing appetite.  Nowadays, this substance is mainly used in anti-obesity medications, such as Meridia and Reductil, which have already gained a global popularity as the weight loss options.

Consequently, sometimes in order to make weight loss food supplements really work and bring evidences of their effectiveness to the customers, the manufacturers add sibutramin into their herbal formulations or food supplements, without declaring it on the label or anywhere else.  

As the result, a patient, who is absolutely confident of consuming natural remedy, may experience side effects, specific for a particular medication. Sibutramin is associated with the occurrence of such adverse reactions, as dry mouth, abnormal increased appetite, nausea, headache, upset stomach, strange taste in the mouth, trouble sleeping, dizziness and drowsiness. What is even more serious is that sibutramin may significantly increase blood pressure and pulse. Add to this the fact that since one may be unaware of sibutramin presence in the product he takes, he is also definitely unaware of how much sibutramin the manufacturers put into their food supplement. As the result, this may end up with overdose and serious side effects, requiring medical help or even hospitalization of a patient.

By the way, sibutramin belongs to the controlled substances in the USA, because this substance has some (though very little) potential for being habit-forming and addictive.

Another threat of hidden sibutramin in weight loss products is explained by a number of contraindications specific for this substance. Thus, sibutramin should never be used along with MAOI antidepressants, anti-migraine medications or opioid pain killers.

However, it is important to understand that after all, it is not sibutramin which is the major culprit in the discussed situation. When one gets the prescription for sibutramin – it is ok, because he is evaluated by a doctor, and he is explained of how to use the medication, in what dosage, and what to expect during the therapy. The biggest evil appears when people are offered with products without letting them know the exact components. As the result, consumers, believing they use absolutely safe natural product, may experience severe side effects, the causes of which they will not be able to track.

That is why it is so important to stay aware and extremely careful about food supplements and herbal remedies, which offer a miraculous cure from obesity. Some tips may be of help here:

-         research as much as possible about the exact ingredients of the particular product;

-         search the FDA website for the name of the product you are thinking about to consume in order to check whether this product was not blacklisted as the one containing undeclared ingredients;

-         check this FDA press-release with the list of dangerous weight loss products;

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-         always consult a doctor about the use of herbal remedies or food supplements, especially if you are taking some medicines.

It is a truth of life that people sometimes prefer believing in miracles that some pill (by the way, it does not always matter here whether it is a pharmaceutical drug or herbal formulation) can do more for weight loss than regular exercising or healthy eating habits. But isn’t it because we often treat remedies as a kind of indulgency for our laziness or inability to resist the temptation of having a rich meal, an extra chocolate bar or pizza late in the evening?


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