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Healthy Weight Center

What's the Different Between These Pills?



How do Dexatrim and Acutrim compare with Metabolife and PowerThin?


All for of the products you mentioned are meant to curb the appetite. They also are to be used in conjunction with a low calorie diet and regular exercise program. Dexatrim and Acutrim contain phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride (the only over-the-counter weight loss drug approved by the FDA) and caffeine. Possible side effects include: nervousness, irritability, headache, sweating, dry mouth, nausea, and constipation. These drugs should not be used if you are taking a MAO inhibitor antidepressant.

Powerthin and Metabolife contain a variety of components including herbs, vitamins and minerals in varying amounts. Both contain the herb MaHuang (ephedra). This particular herb is similar to epinephrine (a hormone). It is dangerous if abused and should only be used under medical supervision. It's cardiovascular effects include: increases in blood pressure, cardiac output, heart rate, and blood flow in the heart, brain, and muscle. According to the book "Herbs of Choice" by Varro Tyler, PhD, "there is no substantial evidence that ephedra is a safe or effective promoter of weight loss in obese persons. Large doses may cause

These side effects render the indiscriminate use of ephedra highly inadvisable, particularly by persons suffering from heart conditions, hypertension, diabetes, or thyroid disease." Use of these products may produce weight loss in some people, however once the drugs are discontinued the weight loss may not be maintained.

Also, keep in mind that these weight loss products do not promote the lifestyle changes needed for permanent weight loss and management. They are costly too. So, before considering a weight-loss drug, please keep in mind that the goal of any good weight loss program is to lose body fat, preserve and/or increase muscle tone, and change your poor eating and exercise habits to good ones that you can live with for a LIFETIME.

Therefore, you do not go "on a diet (or drug)" so that you can go off one. Instead, you adopt a new value system and focus on a better lifestyle. This helps avoid the feelings of disappointment, frustration, etc. from lapse and relapses. A Registered Dietitian can help you achieve your weight goals. To find a Dietitian in your area, refer to the American Dietetic Association's website below. I hope this is helpful to you. 

* Learn important new information concerning the FDA withdrawal of dietary supplements containing Ephedrine Alkaloids (Ephedra or Ma Huang)


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Response by:

Jane   Korsberg, MS, RD, LD Jane Korsberg, MS, RD, LD
Senior Instructor of Nutrition
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University