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.
Our Clean Weight Loss Picks
There are food-based nutrients which have been shown in medical studies to be effective for weight loss.
Dietary fiber was shown in a medical review published in The Journal of Nutrition to cause 16 pounds of weight loss in 6 months when combined with moderate caloric restriction (750 calories per day below baseline).
Supergut Fiber Mix is our top fiber supplement, because it contains three different types of fiber powder, and retails for only $1.75 per serving at a subscription rate.
MCT oil was shown in a meta-study to cause more than one pound of weight loss over 10 weeks. This equates to potential annualized weight loss of 6 pounds per year with less than one tablespoon's worth of MCT oil per day.
Bulletproof MCT Oil is our top MCT oil product, because the only ingredient is MCT oil derived from coconuts. and it currently costs only $15.50 for over a month's worth of product.
Ginger intake "significantly decreased body weight" according to a 2019 meta-study on ginger and weight loss that analyzed data from 14 clinical trials.
Pique La Ginger is our top ginger product, because it's an organic tea in convenient crystallized form, and all that's needed is to pour the powder into a glass and add hot water.
All three of the products mentioned in this section are entirely free of additive ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.
We're not suggesting any of these supplements should be used to treat any medical condition, or that they're as effective as any FDA-approved medication; rather, we're just sharing information that individuals averse to prescription medication can speak with their doctor about.
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: