Snooki Pushes Zantrex-3 Diet Pill, Docs Disapprove

Snooki is pushing a new diet drug, but is this celebrity-style promotion safe?

ByABC News
September 28, 2011, 11:13 AM

Sept 28, 2011— -- The Jersey Shore's infamous pint-sized guidette is hailing Zantrex-3 diet pills as the secret to her recent slim down -- a promo that diet docs are calling "outrageous" and potentially dangerous.

While shooting the most recent season of The Jersey Shore in Italy, Snooki dropped 17 pounds from her 4'9" frame. Though her twitter feed at first suggested that she was doing it the old fashioned way, with daily tweets referencing her gym routine, her cut backs on food and alcohol and her new love affair with water, the reality show celeb announced recently in a YouTube promo of the over-the-counter drug that she also had the help of twice daily Zantrex-3 diet pills before she exercises to give her "energy to work out."

Zantrex-3 is an amphetamine-free diet drug that consists of a number of herbs such as yerba mate, green tea, guarana, and just plain old caffeine. The overall effect of the drug seems to be the caffeine, and the drug safety information warns against combining the pills with other "caffeine-containing medications, foods or beverages because too much caffeine may cause nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness and occasionally, rapid heartbeat."

Snooki-geared promotion on Zantrex-3's website notes that Snooki is slated to be the national spokesperson for Zantrex's "extreme energy" pill, Zantrex-3 Fat Burner.

Calls made to Zoller Laboratories, makers of Zantrex-3, for comment were not immediately returned.

Diet experts are non-too-pleased over this recent form of celebrity diet pill promotion -- especially since Snooki is advocating using this caffeine-containing pill right before rigorous exercise.

"This is outrageous. It's a perfect example of bad endorsement. It's a quick fix, potentially a dangerous one, and celebs may have a high profile, but they're often not very credible sources," says Dr Keith Ayoob, associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Considering Zantrex-3 is known to raise heart rate in some cases, Dr. Carl Lavie, Director of the Stress Testing Lab at John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute notes that exercising on this pill could be bad for the heart.

"For young, healthy people, a small to modest dose of caffeine should not be very risky, but even in young people, bur more so in older with underlying heart disease, high doses of caffeine can cause a number of bad heart rhythm," he says.

Doctors' fears concerning Zantrex-3 also centered on the fact that the drug is over-the-counter and billed as a "supplement," which means it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

"The primary issue here is that the potential consequences of taking these OTC concoctions is a complete unknown since they are not tested for safety, efficacy or even to ensure they contain what they say they do in the amounts on the label," says Martin Binks, Clinical Director and CEO of Binks Behavioral Health PLLC.

This means that the amount of caffeine or other substances in the Zantrex pill could vary from pill to pill, bottle to bottle.

"Perhaps the Snookies of the world should consider moderating alcohol and eating a balanced and nutritionally sound diet to enhance their workouts," he says.