Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to weight loss medication.
Many American consumers have recently taken to purchasing Mexican diet pills, either abroad (in Mexico) or online. Prescription diet pills like Contrave can be expensive, so cash-strapped patients desperate to achieve weight loss may seek cheaper black market options.
In this article we’ll review what “Mexican diet pills” actually are, and whether we believe them to be unsafe. We'll highlight side effects of these pills and share some research-backed weight loss alternatives.
What are Mexican Diet Pills?
Redotex pills are called "Mexican diet pills" by American consumers and "Redotex pastillas" by Mexican consumers because this weight loss supplement is available in Mexico but banned in the U.S. Redotex is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S.
This drug can have dangerous side effects, but it's been popular in the black market for decades. The New York Times published an article in 1987 on the illegal flow of Redotex from Mexico to the U.S.
Because Redotex is legal in Mexico, American consumers can cross the border and purchase it at pharmacies.
Redotex has five active ingredients.
Tri-iodothyronine is a synthetic thyroid hormone. Taking supplemental thyroid hormone could theoretically increase metabolic rate, but we do not consider this a safe ingredient.
Atropine is a prescription medication that affects the nervous system and can increase heart rate.
Diazepam is part of a class of medications called benzodiazepines ("benzos"), which have an anti-anxiety effect. These medications have a strong potential for addiction and abuse, as documented in medical research, and we do not recommend using diazepam without a doctor's prescription.
We figure that diazepam is included to counteract the stimulatory effects of some of the other ingredients, and reduce the chance that Redotex causes anxiety.
Aloin is a laxative. Any laxative ingredient may cause short-term weight loss due to changes in water weight, but laxatives are not a safe or effective strategy for long-term weight loss.
D-norpseudoephedrine is a psychoactive stimulant. A medical review published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience journal found that this ingredient may be an effective appetite suppressant.
We consider this combination of stimulant, laxative, thyroid hormone and benzodiazepine ingredients to be particularly dangerous.
Is Redotex Effective for Weight Loss?
In 2018 a medical review was published to evaluate the effectiveness of Redotex for treating obesity. The trial was short-term and lasted only 6 months.
Over 3,000 patients were included in the study, and Redotex was found to cause significant weight loss. On average, patients lost 19.84 pounds over the course of the trial and 14.3% of patients lost 10% or more body weight. The researchers concluded that Redotex is effective for the "short-term therapy of overweight and obesity."
We cannot identify any other clinical trials in legitimate medical journals testing the efficacy of Redotex.
While this one trial found Redotex to be effective, and while we consider the drug likely to be effective based on its ingredients, more clinical trials are required to conclusively say so.
There is also a difference between efficacy and safety, as we'll discuss below.
Redotex Side Effects
Redotex may cause serious side effects, which is why it's banned in the U.S. There are clinical reports of patients becoming severely ill after a single dose of this product.
A medical case report found that just two pills of Redotex can cause life-threatening symptoms due to the high levels of thyroid hormone included. The study detailed a patient who had elevated heart rate and blood pressure after taking the Mexican diet pills, and had to be treated at a hospital.
Another medical study, published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, shares case reports of two patients with clinical thyrotoxicosis (excess thyroid hormone) due to Redotex use.
We would not recommend use of this weight loss medication due to the risk of side effects, unless otherwise prescribed by a doctor.
Research-Backed Weight Loss Options
There exist several over-the-counter (OTC) weight loss products that don't require a prescription, and have medical research backing. We are not suggesting that these products are as effective as Redotex; just that these products are clinically proven to cause weight loss and cause no serious side effects.
We recommend dietary fiber as a safe and effective weight loss supplement.
An extensive medical review published in The Journal of Nutrition found that dietary fiber intake directly predicts weight loss when consumed at a high enough dose. Fiber is zero-calorie plant matter that makes you feel full faster, and consume fewer calories overall.
The fiber supplement we recommend is SuperGut Fiber Mix. It contains a clean and effective formulation: a blend of three different types of unflavored dietary fiber and zero additive ingredients. It can be mixed into liquids or foods. Interested consumers can buy SuperGut fiber at this link.
We recommend using two fiber mixes per day, which provides 16 grams (g) of fiber. This is within the effective fiber dosing range associated with the greatest weight loss outcomes in the above-linked study (8-29 additional grams per day).
Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is another dietary supplement which has been shown in clinical trials to cause weight loss.
MCT oil is quickly absorbed by the body and increases metabolic rate, which causes fat loss. A meta-study on MCT oil documented weight loss of 1.12 pounds over 10 weeks. This equates to a potential annualized weight loss of 5.84 pounds with MCT oil supplementation.
We recommend Bulletproof MCT Oil as our top MCT oil product, because it has a clean and effective formulation. The only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts, and the product has no questionable additives. Interested consumers can buy Bulletproof MCT Oil at this link.
The effective dose range of MCT oil for weight loss (based on the medical review) is 1.7 g to 10 g per day. Bulletproof's MCT oil provides 14 g in one tablespoon, so around two-thirds of one tablespoon should be a maximally-effective dosage.
ABC News Exposé on Redotex
In 2014 ABC News published an investigation on Redotex that's become popular on YouTube, garnering over 400,000 views at the time of updating this article. The news organization interviewed American patients traveling to Mexico to purchase Redotex, and highlighted some safety concerns.
ABC News forgot to publish a thumbnail image which is why the video looks broken, but the video works when played: