Gerry tells how diet tablets have cut him down to size
Published 04/03/2007 | 00:11
BROADCASTER Gerry Ryan has told how slimming pills have helped him beat the battle of the bulge.
The 2FM radio and TV star has lost two stone since he started taking the controversial but highly effective diet tablet, Reductil.
Reductil is an anti-obesity medicine - with an active ingredient chemically related to amphetamines - that aids weight loss by enhancing feelings of fullness after eating.
It works by enhancing the level of the "happy hormone" serotonin, which has also been shown to suppress the appetite, and is available only on a doctor's prescription.
And it is the reason why viewers may be wondering why there is so much less of the Ryan Confidential host.
"The pills kick in after the second burger to let you know you have had enough," the presenter joked. "Reductil works by telling your brain that your body is full, so it has been very effective for me.
"I have lost two stone so far and I have another five days go before my three-month course is finished. I now weigh 14 stone and for a 50-year-old, five foot 11 man, that's not so bad."
He said he decided to go for the slimming pill option because, like a lot of people, he had a problem knowing when to stop eating.
"Now when I am eating a meal, I feel fuller more quickly," he said. "I don't ever feel hungry and they are very safe. The trick is now to keep it up when I go off them."
The one-pill-a-day weight-loss drug is only available to those whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is above 30. Patients must be recommended for the drug by a doctor and they can be bought only on prescription. They can only be taken for a maximum of three months at a time, after which those on the drug must take a break, before deciding if they need to go on another course.
However, the medicine has come in for criticism from some users who have complained that it left them feeling anxious and depressed; it can also cause a rise in blood pressure. But the broadcaster has not suffered any adverse effects.
"I think they are the safest way to lose weight. Although they do say anyone who is psychiatrically disturbed should not take them. I don't know whether or not it proves that I am not psychiatrically disturbed! We will have to let the audience of the radio show decide that," he said.
Reductil, which is manufactured by US multinational Abbott Laboratories, contains the active ingredient sibutramine monochloride monohydrate, which works by affecting the neurotransmitters in the brain, natural body chemicals which are responsible for transmitting messages between the nerve cells.
They are released from nerve cells as a message is transmitted. Once the message has been transmitted, the nerve cells then reabsorb the neurotransmitter.
Sibutramine prevents two of these neurotransmitters, noradrenaline and serotonin, from being reabsorbed into the nerve cells.
It is thought that sibutramine helps people to lose weight by increasing the amount of noradrenaline and serotonin free to act in the brain. This enhances the feeling of fulfillment from eating, and so makes you feel satisfied after eating less food.
Some reported side effects include high blood pressure, impotence and mood swings.
Nutritionist Aveen Bannon said diet tablets can be very effective - but only under medical supervision and when used in conjunction with healthy eating and exercise.
"They should only really be used as a last resort, when the patient is overweight and finds they are having real problems with knowing when to stop eating.
"It is more to deal with psychological issues with food and those on it should always use it under medical supervision," said Ms Bannon.
"But there is no point taking diet pills if you don't change your eating habits in the long term," she warned. "Most patients will change how they eat afterwards."
However, the diet aids were criticised by a UN medical body last week, which warned of over-use of the "potentially lethal" drugs.
The international Narcotics Control Board called for tighter controls over the market in products that should only be prescribed in exceptional circumstances.