FDA Puts Spotlight on Personal Injury; OTC Weight-Loss Meds


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In the United States, approximately 45% of people make New Year's resolutions. Of those who commit to making some kind of change, 38% set weight loss as their goal. It's not an easy journey, which is why many of them also turn to supplements and over-the-counter medications. In a timely release, the FDA reminds consumers that a vast number of drugs have not been approved by the regulating agency. At their best, they can be scams. At their worst, they may result in personal injury or death.

In 1997, the FDA approved the use of Meridia for weight loss. The active ingredient in it was sibutramine, and Abbott Laboratories marketed it to those who needed to lose a lot of weight. Clinical trials showed that people who took it as part of an overall change in lifestyle lost 5% more weight than those on a placebo. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that it also came with a 16% increase in the risk of major cardiovascular events, like a heart attack. After only three years on the market, the FDA recommended that the drug be discontinued. Of course, this was a prescription medication, but the problem is that sibutramine is still on store shelves. The FDA has tested countless OTC medications since Meridia was discontinued and has found sibutramine in hundreds of products marketed as weight-loss supplements.

Warning Signs
Aside from the risk of personal injury, Charleston stores, as well as online outlets, often hold supplements that are totally ineffective. Some cues to look for on the packaging include:

  • Claims that the product can cure a myriad of things.
  • Personal testimonials that cannot be backed up or scientifically proven.
  • Items that promise immediate results.
  • Meaningless hype, like the phrases "miracle cure," "secret ingredient," or "new discovery."

Protecting Yourself
It's important to thoroughly examine any product that you're considering before purchasing it. Even those that claim to be "totally natural" or an "ancient remedy" aren't necessarily safe. After all, poison ivy is natural, but you wouldn't want to ingest it. Bloodletting would be considered an ancient remedy, and, theoretically could lead to weight loss, but common sense dictates that you wouldn't try that either. Look for claims that can't be backed up or proven. If you find them, don't take the product. If something seems sketchy, check the FDA website to see if it's safe or discuss it with your healthcare practitioner. Unless an item has FDA approval to be sold as a weight-loss medication, it may not be effective at all. Moreover, medications like Meridia and Phen-Phen have received FDA approval, yet were later found to be harmful drugs. Although it may be tempting to look for a fast-acting solution when trying to lose weight, the safest bet has always been diet and exercise. For more information, check out Weight-control Information Network (WIN). It's a government-sponsored website packed with information and tools to help you on your journey.

Charleston Personal Injury Attorney

Obviously, the best thing you can do is to avoid these products altogether. However, we should be able to trust the FDA and have faith that items on store shelves are safe for consumption. If you have been hurt by a dangerous drug, whether it was related to weight loss or any other condition, your case may help instigate reform and get the product out of stores. You may also be entitled to compensation, which can help cover any financial losses you have accrued as a result of the product. Please tell us about your case using our online form or speak directly with one of our attorneys by calling 1(800)610-2546.

Contact Us

Clore Law Group welcomes your questions about any issues concerning a serious personal injury, car accident, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, or business tort. If you have a viable claim, we’ll explain the legal process. Since consultations are always free, there’s no cost in learning your legal options.