Image via WikipediaThe real risks of heart attacks, strokes and other possible long-term side effects still are not completely known, even after Meridia was studied and pulled from the market.
Other prescription diet pills include orlistat (Xenical by prescription, Alli over-the-counter), phentermine (Adipex-P), diethylpropion (Tenuate), and phendimetrazine (Bontril). They can help with short-term weight loss. Orlistat can potentially be taken for a longer period of time. None can be considered entirely safe, some folks say.
Orlistat is probably the safest of the five. It blocks the intestine from absorbing fat. The main side effects are frequent bowel movements, greasy stool and gas. You need to stay on a low fat diet to avoid these side effects. A long-term concern about orlistat is that some claim that a user may not get enough vitamins A, D, E, K and beta carotene. These vitamins need fat in the intestine to be absorbed.
Phentermine, diethylpropion and phendimetrazine decrease appetite for the first few weeks of use. They may be prescribed to jump-start weight loss as part of a lifestyle modification program.