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Do Any Over-the-Counter Weight Loss Pills Actually Work?

I've seen so many TV commercials for "fast result," prescription-free diet pills lately that I don't know what to believe. My head is spinning! Do any over-the-counter weight loss pills (Hydroxycut®, Alli®, etc.) actually work?
 

Answer

Most over-the-counter (OTC) products marketed for weight loss are dietary supplements or herbal remedies. The evidence supporting these products for weight loss is lacking. In addition, some of the ingredients in these products are potentially unsafe, especially in people with other health conditions and those taking other medications.
 
Of the OTC weight loss products, Alli® (orlistat) has the best evidence in its favor. Alli works by blocking fat absorption from the stomach when you eat fatty foods. In one study, after a year of treatment with orlistat, people taking the drug lost about eight pounds more than the people taking a placebo.
 
Consult your healthcare provider before starting any weight loss program. Your healthcare provider can help you choose a method that will be safe and effective for your situation.
 
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