Dietary Supplements Used for Weight Loss
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Two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. Since the late 1970s, the prevalence of obesity among adults has nearly doubled to 34%. Almost 1 of every 5 children is now overweight. The implications of this epidemic are serious; obese people are at increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, arthritis-related disabilities, respiratory problems, and some cancers.
Consumer spending on dietary supplements for weight loss exceeds $1 billion per year and we are inundated with advertising for these products, which claim to produce weight loss quickly and easily. Unfortunately, there is little or no clinical evidence to support such claims and consumers are largely unaware of this void. About half of all dietary supplement users mistakenly believe that the FDA approves weight loss supplements, verifying both efficacy and safety. One-third believe that these products are safer than OTC or prescription drugs (e.g., orlistat [alliTM, Xenical®], sibutramine [Meridia®]) which are actually subject to much stricter regulations.
This issue will update you on the regulation of weight loss supplements and give you a brief review of the products widely used for weight loss, focusing on evidence for benefits and risks. Useful tables summarize the adverse effects and drug interactions linked with these products for “at a glance” review.
Publication Date: 10/01/2008
Expiration Date: 10/01/2011
CE Credit: 1.5 (0.15 CEU)
Type of Activity: Knowledge-based
This program was developed by The Rx Consultant and published by Continuing Education Network, Inc.
The Rx Consultant accepts no advertising or financial support from the pharmaceutical industry and
is funded solely by the purchase of programs. The Rx Consultant is dedicated to providing unbiased,
balanced information to health care practitioners.
Programs developed by The Rx Consultant are written by health care providers with expertise in the topic
area, peer-reviewed, extensively edited, and fact-checked. This development process was created to insure
that every program presents information that is current, accurate, relevant to "real world" health care
providers, and written in an easy reading, "plain English" style.
Candy Tsourounis, PharmD, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, UCSF School of Pharmacy, San Francisco, CA.
Dr. Tsourounis reports no financial or personal relationship with any commercial interest producing, marketing,
reselling, or distributing a product that appears in this issue.
Guest Editorial Advisor
Catherine E. Ulbricht, PharmD, MBA[c], co-founder and Chief Editor, Natural Standard Research Collaboration, Cambridge, MA.
This accredited program is targeted to pharmacists and nurses.
Goals & Objectives
At the conclusion of this program, participants will be able to:
- Describe the impact of current Federal regulations on the efficacy, safety and purity of dietary supplements marketed for weight loss. Be familiar with current weight loss recommendations compiled by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- Discuss the evidence that supports or refutes the use of dietary supplements for weight loss, including Citrus aurantium, chromium picolinate, glucomannan, guar gum, chitosan, hydoxycitric acid, green tea extract/EGCG and conjugated linoleic acid.
- List the potentially harmful effects of the dietary supplements listed above, including potential drug interactions.
The Rx Consultant is a publication of Continuing Education Network, Inc.
Continuing Education Network, Inc. is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education as a
provider of continuing pharmacy education.
Continuing Education Network is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 13118. Programs approved by CA BRN are accepted by most State Boards of Nursing.
ACPE Universal Activity Number: 428-0000-08-009-H01-P
Exam & Credit Statement Procedures
Upon successful completion of this program and the post test (70%), 1.5 hours of continuing education credit will be awarded. To receive credit and your exam score, please complete the exam questions and
Editorial and Review Board
Chief Editor and CE Administrator
Terry M. Baker, PharmD
Tracy Farnen, PharmD
James Chan, PharmD, PhD
Pharmacy Quality and Outcomes Coordinator
Associate Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Richard Ron Finley, B.S. Pharm.,R.Ph.
Clinical Pharmacist (volunteer faculty)
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center
Lecturer (Emeritus) UCSF, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCSF School of Pharmacy
San Francisco, CA
Ray Dolby Brain Health Center, Sutter Health/CPMC
San Francisco, CA
Consult Pharmacist Aging and Adult Health Services
San Francisco Health Department
San Francisco, CA
Julio R. Lopez, PharmD, FCSHP
Chief of Pharmacy Service
VA Northern California Health Care System
Adjunct Clinical Professor
College of Pharmacy
Assistant Clinical Professor
School of Pharmacy
University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA Adjunct Professor
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy
University of the Pacific
Visiting Associate Professor and Lecturer
Samuel Merritt University
Pamela Mausner, MD
Helen Berlie, Pharm.D. CDE, BCACP
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice
Wayne State University
Ambulatory Care Specialist - Diabetes
Health Centers Detroit Medical Group
Senior Editorial Advisor
Gerard Hatheway, PharmD, PhD
Belinda M. Danielson, RPh
Christopher M. DeSoto, PharmD
Angie S. Graham, PharmD
Cynthia Chan Huang, PharmD, MBA
Fred Plageman, PharmD
Editorial Advisor and Clinical Practice Consultant for Nurse Practitioners
Meuleman, RN, C, MS
About the Rx Consultant
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the information presented here and interpreting it in relation to each patient's specific situation before utilizing the information.
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