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Diet Pills Essay

992 words - 4 pages

Diet Pills America is a nation with a problem, a weight problem. Over one third of the United States population is over weight (Cameron 202). To combat this problem many people have chosen to take prescription diet pills. While medical experts continue to affirm that diet and exercise should remain the first line of defense in treating obesity, the use of drugs continues to receive attention in both the lay and professional literature. In fact, by 1996 doctors had written eighteen million prescriptions for the drug combination fenfluramine and phentermine. The major concern regarding the use of these drugs are their potential for producing life-threatening changes in cardiac valves (Gray 70). Diet drugs are far more dangerous than being slightly over weight, yet doctors continue to write prescriptions for drugs they know little about for people they know even less about.Many doctors feel that any side effect from any diet pill is safer than the risks that come with being obese. ?Doctors, who have met with patients only once, will give out prescriptions for diet pills without a complete medical history, stating that there are many more side effects from being over weight than there are from taking diet drugs:? (Adato 43+). Many of these doctors feel that even a small weight gain is reason enough for some patients to take the drugs because ?the loss of five to ten pounds reduces insulin resistance and lowers diabetes patients? already elevated risk of cardiovascular disease?(Welch42).However, some of the doctors giving out these prescriptions are giving them to people who do not need them. The people receiving the prescriptions for diet pills are mostly white women who are not more than ten to fifteen percent overweight. ?A woman who wanted to lose fifteen pounds before she was to be married went to a doctor, who did not even take her blood pressure, and received the fatal prescription. After only three months of taking ?fen/phen? she lost her life due to a heart valve problem? (Mundy 43).Pharmaceutical companies claim their products are safe as long as used as directed. These companies claim that the drugs were all tested in Europe for at least a year and no problems with side effects were found (Welch 42). Pharmaceutical companies also claim ?There is no conclusive evidence of cause-effect relationship between the use of the drugs fenfluramine and phentermine and development of heart valve disease (Mixing Diet Drugs 30).According to Katherine Cameron of Nutrition Today ?By the 1970?s the FDA knew there was a problem with diet pills; early diet pills caused mood swings personality changes and their use was wide spread and indiscriminate? (Cameron 207).Three years ago, you could hardly pick up a magazine or newspaper without catching the buzz about a pill called Redux that was going to revolutionize the way Americans lose weight. Then in the summer of 1997 doctors noticed an alarming number of heart-valve problems in their...

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