Do the benefits of Phentermine outweigh the
potential side effects?

phentermine-bottlesPhentermine, the prescription-only diet drug is as well known for its potential side effects as it is for its ability to significantly promote weight loss.

Generally, these side effects are deemed justifiable as the drug is only prescribed in circumstances where the advantages will outweigh the disadvantages.

It is used as a short term treatment of obesity where the individual has been unable to lose weight any other way, and where the risk of chronic disease such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes is high if weight remains uncontrolled.

As phentermine is chemically similar to amphetamine, it has the potential to be habit forming so is classed as a controlled substance. It stimulates the central nervous system to produce neurotransmitters in the brain which control feelings of hunger.

Phentermine mimics the effects of adrenalin, putting the body into flight or fight mode where heart rate, alertness and metabolism is increased allowing for more calories to be burnt instead of being stored as fat. This heightened sense of awareness and stimulation overrides natural hunger sensations so the patient will consume fewer calories and will feel fuller for longer.

Due to its habit forming nature and proof that over time the body develops a resistance to the drug, Phentermine is only prescribed for a maximum of 12 weeks, where weight loss can be as much as 5-10% of body weight.

What are the side effects of Phentermine?

Side effects of Phentermine can range from very mild to quite severe, these include; blurred vision, dry mouth, sleeplessness, irritability, bowel upsets in the first few days until the body adjusts to the medication, overstimulation, gastrointestinal disturbances, and changes in libido.

Moderate side effects include; chest pain, pounding heart, difficulty urinating, breathing difficulties or swelling.

Severe include; primary pulmonary hypertension, a fatal lung disease and cardiac valvular disease in patients receiving a combination of Phentermine and Fenfluramine (Phen-fen) or dexfenfluramine.

This combination of medication was outlawed in 1997 after 24 confirmed cases of heart valve disorder were recorded in those taking the Fen-Phen combination, and a study also showed that 30% of people taking Fen-Phen were suffering from abnormal heart valves.

When phentermine is stopped withdrawal symptoms similar to some of the side effects can occur so medical practitioners will control the cessation of the course. On completion, weight loss must be continued with a sensible diet and eating plan to avoid regain.

Can Phentermine be used alongside other medication?

phentermine-pills-in-handPhentermine can interact with other medications taken for diabetes and high blood pressure and as a result phentermine is not suitable for those with certain pre-existing medical conditions.

In addition Phentermine has been proven to react with MAO inhibitors used in the treatment of depression.

A combination of Phentermine and MAO inhibitors can lead to the potentially fatal lung disease pulmonary hypertension, and studies performed on rats also showed that this combination can lead to brain, liver and neurological malfunctions.

Why is Phentermine a controlled substance?

Phentermine is a controlled substance not just to limit the potential for abuse, but also due to the various risk and complicating factors associated with it. Available in 15, 30 and 37.5mg doses, in immediate and time release formulas, the dose will be dependent on factors such as age, weight and health.

This strict medical control is to ensure that the risks and side effects are limited and prescription only occurs where potential complicating factors are minimal.


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