TikTok "diet pills" raise concerns from health experts

Culver City, California - Concerns have been raised about epilepsy drugs being promoted as weight loss pills on social media.

Some TikTok users are telling others to take epilepsy medication as a "diet pill."
Some TikTok users are telling others to take epilepsy medication as a "diet pill."  © Collage: Unsplash/@solenfeyissa & @mparzuchowski

Teenagers using TikTok who search for the term "diet pills" are bombarded with information, including the promotion of some drugs used for other purposes, according to an investigation by The Pharmaceutical Journal.

The journal analyzed the top 100 popular user posts under the hashtag #dietpills and found that a number were advocating the use of prescription-only medicines for conditions including epilepsy, alcohol addiction, and migraines.

The British Dietetic Association told the journal: "Diet claims that are unrealistic and not supported by evidence-based science on social media can be dangerous no matter what your age. But, for [those] under 16, they can have very real consequences."

A spokesperson from TikTok told the journal: "Our Community Guidelines make clear that we do not allow the promotion or trade of controlled substances, including prescription weight loss medication, and we will remove content that violates these policies."

The Pharmaceutical Journal reported that the social media giant removed some of the videos after it reported them.

Cover photo: Collage: Unsplash/@solenfeyissa & @mparzuchowski

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