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Caution: Lose more than weight with imported diet pills
Date:1/26/2009

Americans who use illegal diet pills from South America are taking amphetamines without knowing it and seriously risking both their health and their jobs. Physicians need to be made aware of the range of serious side effects of these drugs to allow them to identify and treat those patients presenting with unexplained symptoms. These findings1, by Dr Pieter Cohen from the Department of Internal Medicine at the Cambridge Health Alliance in the US and Harvard Medical School, have recently been published online in Springer's Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the majority of amphetamine-based appetite suppressants, many are still prescribed in other parts of the world, including South America. The second most often prescribed amphetamine-based appetite suppressant worldwide is fenproporex. It is known to be addictive and is rapidly converted into amphetamine in the body. The international availability of fenproporex, combined with Internet sales and other illegal markets, have led to its availability in the US, despite an FDA ban. Most physicians in the US are unaware of the existence of these diet pills combining fenproporex and benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, diuretics, laxatives, thyroid hormones and other substances.

To illustrate the risks posed by taking these diet pills, Dr Cohen reviews two case reports of patients taking appetite suppressants containing fenproporex, illegally imported from Brazil. In the first case, a 26 year-old woman suffered from intermittent chest pains, palpitations, headaches and insomnia for two years. She consulted her doctor numerous times over the two-year period for these unexplained symptoms. Her urine tested positive for amphetamines and benzodiazepines, and both fenproporex and chlordiazepoxide were present in her pills. Her symptoms disappeared after she stopped taking the imported pills.

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Contact: Renate Bayaz
renta.bayaz@springer.com
49-622-148-78531
Springer
Source:Eurekalert

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