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Short Term Side Effects of Diet Pills

By Ashley Schwader ; Updated July 18, 2017

Approximately 50 million Americans go on a diet each year according to Colorado State University. Diet pills are commonly used by people trying to lose weight and they can either be over the counter or prescribed by a doctor. Diet pills can have unwanted and uncomfortable short and long-term side effects. Before starting a weight loss program with diet pills be sure to discuss their use with your doctor.

Intestine Issues

The most common short term side effect with diet pills are irregular intestine issues. This can include gas, bloating and diarrhea. Urgent bowel movements and gas with oily spotting is also common explains MayoClinic.com. This is usually caused by the diet pill preventing fat absorption. Reducing fat absorption may interfere with absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and can pose a health risk due to a vitamin deficiency along with intestine issues.

Heart Stress

Taking diet pills can put short-term and long-term stress on the heart and cardiovascular system. These pills can often increase heart rate and blood pressure. This increase leads to a risk of heart attack, stroke, seizure and even death states the American Academy of Family Physicians. Be cautious of diet pills that contain ephedra, ephedrine or caffeine that are the most common for adding additional stress on the heart.

Liver Injury

Injury to the liver can be caused by diet pills and leads to short-term symptoms and long-term damage. It is important to call your doctor immediately if you start showing signs of liver injury. These side effects include itching skin, yellow eyes or skin, urine that is brown or dark-colored, and pale colored stools. Less noticeable symptoms include loss of appetite and frequent abdominal pain.


Diet pills can increase anxiety and nervousness due to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. This increase in anxiety can interfere with sleep and lead to feelings of nervousness. Other short term anxiety side effects include irritability and headaches. If you take any medication for depression or anxiety it is important to discuss diet pills with your doctor to prevent this uncontrollable side effect.

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