• Ruth Marie Dales

Say NO to dodgy diet pills.

(This article was first published in Muscle & Fitness UK, May 2018 edition)


It’s fair to say a lot of people want to loose weight. The growing pressure in the media and in some sports to attain a certain body type can make people feel incredible pressure to look a certain way.



The rising obesity rates in the UK means the weight loss industry is supported by government policy. This is clearly a good thing for the health of individuals who are overweight or obese and the overall health of the nation. The Global Weight Loss and Weight Management market has seen massive growth and was reported to be $168.95 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach $278.95 billion by 2023 (Source: Industry Today).


Emotional pressure on individuals to loose weight combined with a growing $billion dollar industry means it probably won’t surprise you to learn that in a recent government survey 1 in 3 dieters had tried slimming pills bought online (Source: MHRA).



What you might NOT be aware of is that more than half of all medicines bought online are fake. That’s right: MORE THAN HALF.

Not only does buying from dodgy websites increase the risk of being ripped off through credit card fraud or having your identity stolen, side effects from fake medicines can include heart attacks, strokes and even death (Source: MHRA).


In 2016, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) seized over 4.6 million fake medical products and closed 4,700 websites in one month alone. When it comes to slimming pills the survey conducted by MHRA as part of their #FAKEMEDS campaign showed online sellers where putting desperate dieters’ health at serious risk by seducing them with the promise of quick-fix weight loss and discreet deliveries that bypass discussions with their GP and pharmacist. 3 out of 4 slimmers surveyed were enticed by promises of rapid weight loss and more than half were attracted to being able to order discreetly.



Almost 2 out of 3 (63%) suffered unpleasant side effects after taking slimming pills bought online. These side effects included diarrhoea, bleeding that wouldn’t stop, blurred vision and heart problems. Worryingly, 4 out of 5 (81%) didn’t report these side effects to anyone.


The potentially dangerous products seized by the Agency are not tested for safety and have been found stored in dirty, rat-infested warehouses and garden sheds.


“The majority of slimming products we seize contain the active ingredient Sibutramine. Sibutramine is a medicine that was withdrawn across Europe and the US in 2010 due to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes associated with its use. Other side-effects include headache, dry mouth, anorexia, constipation, insomnia, inflammation of the nose, sore throat, increased appetite, back pain, flu syndrome, accidental injury, asthenia, nausea, joint pain, nervousness, bloating and sinusitis.” (Source: MHRA)


4 out of 10 respondents said they had used the slimming pills knowing there were health risks, with more than 6 out of 10 (62%) doing so because they were ‘desperate to lose weight’.



The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. With this growing industry there are some fantastic organisations, individuals and resources out there that can help you loose weight, get lean or help you reach your goals, whatever your goal. A great place to start is the FREE advice provided by the NHS;

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/start-the-nhs-weight-loss-plan/


For anyone who feels they need a more personalised coaching approach contact me via my website www.ruthmariedales.co.uk


I have the utmost respect for anyone who is taking steps to loose weight. But my message is not be seduced by quick fixes. Loosing weight isn’t always easy which is why having the right support network to help you achieve your weight loss and fitness goal is so important.



If you are concerned at all about pills you have bought on line or anywhere else your first port of call should be your local pharmacist who can advise you what, if anything, to do next. Don’t worry, they won’t judge you after all you’re trying to make a positive change.


You can also you visit https://fakemeds.campaign.gov.uk/

There you can;

  1. Check if the website you are thinking of using is legit

  2. Report the website if its not

  3. Let the MHRA know about any side effects you might have had.



#mhra #fakemeds #sayno #weightloss #selfimage #staysafeonline #askthepharmacist #supplements #dietpills

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