By Talia Kaplan
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - If you have trouble losing weight, some turn to prescription weight loss drugs.
"I took Fastin in 1982, and 20 years later I took Phen-Fen," said Brenda Lankutis of Litchfield, Illinois.
Lankutis has struggled with her weight since the birth of her first child and at one point weighed nearly 300 pounds. She's tried every diet in the book and even weight loss drugs.
"I just felt awful... I noticed that I had lost the weight fairly quickly but then I didn't lose anymore," said Lankutis, who lost twenty pounds on the drugs.
Brett Williams, pharmacist and owner of Williams Pharmacy, said there are about two weight loss drugs available. Phentermine, also known as Fastin is still on the market, but Phen-Fen was pulled off the shelves in 1997 because of dangerous side effects.
Williams said there are many side effects associated with the drugs still out there.
"Stimulation, inability to sleep, nausea can be a problem also, change in libido is a big problem with these medications," said Williams.
"I would say don't do it because it's just going to cause problems, physically, mentally, emotionally," said Lankutis.
Pharmacists also say try to stay away from weight loss drugs if possible and try fiber pills instead. They say fiber tablets along with diet and exercise always prove best.
"The best thing people can do is find something that curbs appetite. I am a big fan of the fiber tablets. If someone had to have a prescription product they just couldn't get over that hump Phentermine for very short term would probably be acceptable depending on what your physician recommendations are," said Williams.
"The ones that are currently on the market I think have been shown to be effective for modest degrees of weight loss especially in the short term, not really great long term for people who have to lose significant amounts of weight," said Dr. Chris Eagon with Washington University.
Lankutis saw Dr. Chris Eagon, who performed gastric bypass surgery on her 18 months ago. She's already lost 100 pounds and says she learned a valuable lesson from her whole experience.
"I have to not expect something to quickly fix me. Chemicals are not going to fix you. You have to work on the inside of you and put good things in your body not bad things," said Lankutis.