The discovery of diet pills that made spending hours in a gym and following a strict dieting program redundant to a certain extent, created a rage in the market. They turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the whole pharmaceutical industry, which is today’s earning of massive revenues with the sale of these pills. It has been estimated that more than 20 million of Americans consume diet pills every year.
The History of Diet Pills
It was during the decade of 1950s when science and medicine were making striking achievements that these pills were first prescribed by the doctors to the patients. The doctors prescribed amphetamines, a drug used in the World War II to keep soldiers alert and active, for fat loss purpose. One of the side effects of amphetamines was appetite suppression which led doctors in prescribing them as diet pills. Soon many fat loss patients went through amphetamines led substance abuse problems and its prescription was inhibited.
It was in 1970s when health consciousness sprung up to its pinnacle and fitness became a world wide craze. Weight reduction became the name of the game and the pharmaceutical industry saw a sudden boom in the demand for them. The early such pills in this era were basically amphetamines derivatives, otherwise known as “speed”. Later, a variety of fat loss pills flooded the market.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug fenfluramine (Pondimin) in as early as 1973, which was followed by dexfenfluramine (Redux) in 1996. Then came the diet drug Phentermine, a sympathomimetic appetite suppressant, which was approved by the FDA in 1997. Many doctors prescribed Phentermine in conjunction with fenfluramine. The combined prescription of both the drugs was aptly named fen-phen.
The era of fen-phen soon declined with reports of heart valve disease resulting from the combined use of both the drugs began to surface. The makers withdrew fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine from the market, thereby ending the rule of fen-phen.
The most popular weight reduction medications that are prescribed in the US are sympathomimetic appetite suppressants such as Phentermine. These drugs affect the neurotransmitters in such a way that leads to a loss in appetite.
Other diet pills that received FDA approval are Orlistat (Xenical) and Sibutramine (Meridia), which received approval in 1999 and 2001 respectively. While Orlistat is a lipase inhibitor that inhibits the absorption of dietary fats into the body, Sinutramine acts on brain through serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibition.
During the past few years, a number of Over-the-Counter (OTC) pills are being marketed on a large scale to weight-loss focused consumers. Herbal pills and fat loss supplements are also gaining significance gradually as herbal pills are being considered as the best diet pills causing minimal side effects.
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