Popular Brazilian Diet Pills Potentially Addictive

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Despite being promoted as "natural," weight loss supplements known as Brazilian diet pills have been found to contain potentially addictive ingredients.

The Study

A new article published in the American Journal of Medicine highlights the story of a young woman who became addicted to Brazilian diet pills, requiring psychiatric care to kick her $160/day addiction. When she tried to stop taking them, she experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache, tremor, cravings, and anxiety. The researchers attribute the addictiveness of the diet pills to contamination with pharmaceutical substances: a mixture of amphetamines, tranquilizers, and antidepressants. The addition of these drugs is probably what promotes weight loss, not the herbal part of the pills.

Why Is This Important?

The FDA issued a warning about the diet pills in 2006, but they can still be easily ordered on the Internet and remain popular. Most people who use nonprescription diet pills--and about 20 million Americans do--don't tell their doctors and may not realize that they're taking potentially addictive substances. Like any addictive drug, withdrawal from diet pills can be difficult and dangerous, and is compounded by the fact that users may not expect to be addicted.

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