Rojeski's friend Marni Rader said she believes the advertising crackdown is overdue.
"I think about her every time I see one of those billboards," Rader said. "They're everywhere. I don't remember seeing anything in that advertising that said this is a serious surgery.
"It's not worth losing your life over 20 pounds. She was maybe a size 14. You need surgery if you're a size 14? That's insanity."
More than 100,000 people called 1-800-GET-THIN in its first 15 months of business — starting in March 2010 — leading to more than 10,000 scheduled surgeries, the company said in a trademark lawsuit.
An Allergan spokeswoman said it issued its own voluntary advertising guidelines this year that call for doctors who use the Lap-Band device to present "balanced information" about the procedure and to base claims of success on scientific evidence.
"Advertising about medical procedures, including surgery involving the Lap-Band system, should convey the benefits and risks of the treatment and be truthful and not misleading," the one-page set of guidelines says.
In all, the FDA sent letters to Bakersfield Surgery Institute Inc., Beverly Hills Surgery Center, Palmdale Ambulatory Center, Valley Surgical Center of West Hills, Valencia Ambulatory Center, Cosmopolitan Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery of Beverly Hills, San Diego Ambulatory Center, 1-800-GET-THIN and Top Surgeons of Beverly Hills.
Dr. Amir Mehran, director of bariatric surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said he thought the FDA's action would better inform patients.
"The patients will start seeing beyond the ads. They will look at benefits and risks, and make some proper choices based on information that is properly given to them," Mehran said. "We think there are better options than the band."