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Editor's Correspondence
April 12, 2004

Physicians' Personal Intake and Prescription of Weight Loss Products: Are We Practicing What We Preach?

Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(7):806-807. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.7.806

In the May 12, 2003, issue of the ARCHIVES, Stafford and Radley1 reported a significant increase in general population use of prescription medications for weight loss. National guidelines recommend that physicians prescribe prescription weight loss products to treat obesity but do not recommend nonprescription weight loss products (NPWLPs).2 In fact, phenylpropanolamine hydrochloride, an over-the-counter sympathomimetic used in some NPWLPs, was voluntarily withdrawn from the US market after reports of excessive risks of hemorrhagic stroke in women.3 More recently, ephedra, while effective for short-term weight loss, has come under greater public and federal scrutiny because of reports of adverse effects ranging from anxiety to tachycardia and death4,5; the Food and Drug Administration has banned ephedra sales. As part of a physician survey of personal weight management strategies, we set out to investigate physicians' own personal use of weight loss products and their prescriptions for their patients.

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