The Dangers of “Miracle” Weight Loss Pills and Supplements

Many people want to lose a few pounds or get in better shape. According to U.S. News & World Report, weight loss products and dietary supplements are part of a lucrative fitness industry worth $20 billion annually. Unsurprisingly, the promise of big profits draws thousands of companies into an industry that produces fitness clothing, gym equipment, weight loss pills, and dietary supplements.

Unfortunately, many of these products conceal hidden dangers. Because dietary supplement makers aren’t required to obtain FDA approval before putting their products on the market, consumers have no idea whether a particular supplement is safe.

Different FDA Regulations for Dietary Supplements

Weight loss pills, vitamins, and dietary supplements are all regulated by the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, which is enforced by the FDA. The DSHEA covers anything deemed to be a “dietary supplement”, which includes botanicals, herbs, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.

Unlike prescription drug manufacturers, however, makers of dietary supplements aren’t required to put their products through any type of testing before selling them to the public. These companies don’t need FDA approval. Instead, the DSHEA requires dietary supplement manufacturers to be truthful when making claims about their products’ effects and abilities. The FDA also holds dietary supplement companies responsible for unsafe products. Unfortunately, a large number of injuries and negative side effects must usually occur before the FDA becomes aware of a potentially unsafe supplement.

Recent Dietary Supplement Recalls

In 2014, the FDA recalled seven types of dietary supplements, including a weight loss supplement that contained the active ingredient in Prozac, a prescription drug approved to treat depression. In 2015, the FDA removed a common weight loss supplement from the market when it learned the product contained Meridia, a prescription weight loss drug banned in the U.S. since 2010.

Warning Signs of a Dangerous Dietary Supplement

The FDA has released a list of potential red flags to keep in mind when shopping for dietary supplements and weight loss pills. Be cautious of any dietary supplement that:

  • Guarantees a quick fix or claims it will help you achieve significant weight loss in very little time
  • Includes statements like “scientific breakthrough” or “guarantee”
  • Comes in a bottle printed in a foreign language
  • Claims to be “all-natural” or an herbal alternative to a prescription medication
  • Is marketed through mass email

This is not a comprehensive list, so it’s critical to consult your doctor before taking any type of weight loss pill or dietary supplement.

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Anesi Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. pursue justice on behalf of people and families who have been injured by a dangerous or defective dietary supplement, vitamin, or weight loss pill. Our lawyers fight hard on behalf of injury victims and their families. Call today at (312) 779-6610 to speak to an Anesi Ozmon attorney about your case.

This website has been prepared by Anesi Ozmon, Rodin, Novak & Kohen, Ltd. for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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