Many people, especially women, like to use weight-loss pills, including supplements or medications, to get rid of excessive weight and reach the ideal weight without dieting. They think these items will curb their appetite, so they will lose weight easily with the least physical effort and in no time. But many people use them without knowing enough about the dangers of these pills to their health, especially if consumed without consulting a doctor or a prescription, and here lies the danger.
Many people in Kuwait were angry recently following the news of the death of a young Kuwaiti woman prior to her wedding day after taking drugs for slimming that she bought when she saw an advertisement on a local social media influencer’s account. The angry activists said the girl, who died at the age of 21, was admitted to intensive care, where all her functions collapsed and she died before her wedding day. The incident has highlighted drugs that are marketed through social media sites.
The health ministry launched an investigation on the actual causes of her death. The ministry warned the public to stay away from drugs sold on social networking sites due to their dangers. Constitutional law professor Dr Hesham Al-Saleh said the woman who promoted the slimming pills could be held accountable and imprisoned for promoting medical products without a license and misuse of a telephone.
For years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US has said it monitors many unknown products that are marketed through social networks and TV, including unlicensed products that contain highly hazardous substances. These anonymous products contain materials that cause death, adding that the greater threat is that these highly toxic substances are not mentioned on the product and usually presented as natural or herbal, so people deal with them without knowing the chemicals hidden inside.
In 2014, the FDA issued 30 warnings and seven products were banned. I think it is wrong for someone to imagine that it is possible to get rid of excessive weight in record time like a week, as it is common for such pills to mention that they reduce weight – such as 10 kg – in one week, and that they are completely safe and herbal while they contain large amounts of toxins or unknown substances. Experts advise the public not to take any weight loss medication or supplements without referring to specialists in this field, and that changing diet and exercise is the safest way to lose weight.
The ministry of health called on people to cooperate with them to report such pills and not buy them from websites or deal with unlicensed drug sellers. I hope that this unfortunate incident in which a young girl lost her life leads to tighter supervision and control over unauthorized advertising on social media, and creates public awareness that old ways are still the safest and not magic pills.
By Muna Al-Fuzai