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With the fast pace of today’s lifestyle it is no surprise that it is becoming more difficult for individuals to keep themselves fit and in shape. The same reason may also hold for the World Health Organization’s recent declaration that over 1 Billion people are overweight worldwide.

A lot of people in their quest to shed some of the excess pounds have turned to a plethora of products and services including diet programs, weight loss pills and supplements that all claim to be able to help them overcome this epidemic. The need for an easier and more appealing way to shed weight has made diet pills in particular a very fascinating option for millions of overweight individuals.

Diet pills can generally be classified into two different types – prescription diet pills and over-the-counter diet pills. It is therefore imperative to know some important facts about the diet pills before deciding to employ them in your weight loss effort.

Prescription Diet Pills: This category of weight loss pills are regulated by the FDA and required to go through clinical trials to ascertain their safety and efficacy. Additionally, they are only available by prescription from a registered physician. Nonetheless, prescription weight loss pills are generally approved only for patients who have a body mass index (BMI) that is above 30.

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Equally, to be approved to take prescription weight loss pills, a physician will have to ensure that you meet certain requirements by taking into consideration your health history, potential drug interaction and side effects, and any other possible risk factor.

Two of the most popular FDA approved prescription diet pills are sibutramine (Meridia) and orlistat (Xenical). Other available prescription weight loss pills include Brontril (an appetite suppressant), and Phentermine which is arguably America’s most popular weight loss pill today.

However, just because prescription diet pills are recommended by physicians do not mean they are risk-free. Prescribing them simply means that if used according to directions the benefits of these diet pills outweigh the risk but does not necessarily mean they are particularly safe to use.

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Diet Pills: Over-the-counter diet pills are however not regulated by the FDA and are therefore not subjected to the same stringent testing as prescription diet pills. Over-the-counter weight loss pills work in a variety of ways through one or more of their active ingredients that the manufacturers claim assist in weight loss.

Most over-the-counter diet pills are made from one or more ingredients such as orlistat, chromium, green tea extract, chitosan and hoodia. When purchasing an over-the-counter supplement, it is important that you check the constituent ingredients and read the product label carefully.

Essentially, when considering a diet pill, you should be on the lookout for value, safety and effectiveness. With that said, the decision on which diet pills are the best in terms of safety, value and effectiveness is greatly hampered by the fact that available research data on diet pills are not concise enough to be relied upon.

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The fact remains that herbal or plant-based diet pills might cause side effects similar to those of conventional prescription medications. Therefore, before you start using either a prescription or over-the-counter diet pill, it is important to speak with your doctor beforehand to determine if you have any medical condition that might be negatively affected by the weight loss product you intend to make use of.

The bottom line remains that diet pills are not a substitute for proper diet and exercise. In essence, taking any diet pill to expedite weight loss will only yield expected result when coupled with a LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Relationship, Nutrition) program. Therefore, to lose weight at a healthy and to get maximum and longer lasting result from diet pills, you will need to combine them with a healthy low-calorie diet and regular exercise.