More and more people are looking for a simple way to shed weight quickly, so illegal diet pills continue to grow in popularity, despite their risks. The pills' dangers stem in part from their frequent use of controlled or banned substances, such as sibutramine or ephedra, which are often found in illegal diet pills. Unregulated, these substances and others have been proven to have a number of serious — even life-threatening — side effects, such as heart attacks, seizures, strokes, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Another danger is that illegal diet pills often contain a number of unlisted ingredients, making it hard for the person using them to know what he's putting in his body.
One of the most common side effects of illegal diet pills is an increased risk to the heart. Those taking illegal pills may experience a rapid heart beat, heart palpitations and an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack. Dieters using illegal pills also face an increased likelihood of strokes and seizures. Additional adverse health effects may include high blood pressure, drowsiness, or extreme excitability.
Another serious side effect of some illegal diet pills is the increased occurrence of depression and suicidal thoughts. The drug rimonabant, which is often used to target weight loss, is a prime example. Although the drug was approved for sale in Europe, it was banned in the United States after it was linked to several deaths and hundreds of serious adverse reactions.
While illegal diet pills are dangerous because of the drugs they are known to contain and documented side effects, they may be even more dangerous because of what consumers don't know about the drug. A great number of illegal diet pills include undeclared ingredients, which pose a great risk to consumers because they are unaware of the chemicals they are introducing into their bodies. Others illegal diet drugs, such as clenbuterol, were developed for treating illnesses in animals and were approved despite veterinary data documenting that the treatment led to stiffening in animals' hearts. Clenbuterol and other animal medications are typically not tested for dangers they may potentially pose to humans, so the side effects may be even more severe than known.
Dieters who obtain illegal diet pills also face an additional risk because their personal doctors are not aware of all the medications their patient is taking. This can lead to serious and even deadly drug interactions between the illegal pills and the medications prescribed by a doctor. Dieters who are interested in enhancing their weight loss through medication should talk to their doctors about drug therapies that have been approved by national drug administrations. While these drugs still come with risks, they are much safer than illegal diet pills, because of their accurate list of ingredients, documented side effects, and regulated testing process.