Diet Pills: Usage trends
Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 1:22 pm
Diet pill Usage trends must be examined both in terms of legally prescribed medications and those obtained through illegal means. Prescription diet pills are manufactured for the treatment of obesity, an increasingly common medical problem. However, not just obese or overweight people use diet pills. Some people take diet pills to lose a few pounds quickly; others have eating disorders. Furthermore, people who lose weight using methods like diet pills tend to regain it once they stop dieting. They may start taking pills again to lose the new weight.
Scope and severity
According to a 2001 report from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), about half of American adults are overweight or obese. That same trend was found in Australia, according to a 2001 report from Euromonitor International, a market research business.
American spending trends. Americans spend approximately $33 billion annually on weight loss remedies such as diet pills, books, and weight reduction programs, according to the USDA report.
Spending for prescription diet pills reached a record of approximately $467 million in 1996, according to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, an association focused on weight loss. Fen-phen sales accounted for much of that record. After the withdrawal of dexfenlu-ramine and fenfluramine from the market, diet pill sales dropped.
In 1998, prescription diet pill sales totaled $169.2 million for January through November. IMS Health Inc. charted sales trends that showed 1.1 million prescriptions filled for Meridia, 351,000 prescriptions for Ion-amin, and 341,000 Adipex-P prescriptions. Prescriptions for other diet pills totaled 4.5 million.
Australian trends. Australians spend more than $500 million on dieting efforts, according to Euromonitor. However, not all dieters needed to lose weight. Underweight Australian girls used legal diet pills and amphetamines, as well as caffeine and tobacco, to lose weight, according to “Drug Use by Young Females,” a 1998 University of Sydney study.
The study noted that some Australian researchers found a double standard in 1982 and 1996. Both years, it appeared acceptable for girls to take diet pills and other drugs to slim down. That was regarded as a medical condition. On the other hand, boys took stimulant drugs for the intoxicating effect.
Age, ethnic, and gender trends
Passage of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act restricted Americans’ access to amphetamines. Before that, amphetamine users included dieters who were primarily women, truck drivers who were usually men, and college students of both genders.
The federal government classifies most diet pills as stimulants. Trends related to the illegal use of drugs like stimulants can be seen in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. The federal Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) coordinates the survey.
In 2000, approximately 14 million Americans — 6.3% of the population — used an illicit drug during the month before the survey. Those surveyed were 12 and older. In the survey, stimulants were included in the category of psychotherapeutic drugs that included pain relievers, sedatives, and tranquilizers.
Of the 14 million Americans surveyed in 2000, psychotherapeutic drugs were taken for a “nonmedical reason” by 1.8% of men, 1.7% of women, 3.3% of girls aged 12 to 17, and 2.7% of boys in that age group.