What to Know About Taking Phentermine

What to know about Phentermine

Millions of people want to lose weight. More than one-third (over 72 million) of U.S. adults are obese. Many are influenced by the media’s portrayal of svelte, fit individuals living life to the fullest. They want their doctors to prescribe something to help them shed pounds quickly. One of these drugs is phentermine. But what should you know about taking phentermine, and does phentermine increase weight loss?

What Is Phentermine and What Is It Used For?

Phentermine is a popular weight-loss medicine, an anorectic, available by prescription only. It is a Schedule IV controlled substance under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Drugs classified as Schedule IV may be misused, although the misuse rate is relatively low.

Brand names for phentermine include Adipex-P, Qsymia, Lomaaira, Ionamin, and generic phentermine.

People with certain risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, may be prescribed phentermine to treat their obesity. However, it is commonly used with dietary modification and exercise and not alone.

Understanding Phentermine

Phentermine is a short-term drug used to help overweight people speed up weight loss and suppress appetite. It is like an amphetamine, a stimulant that has stimulative effects on the central nervous system, particularly the brain and nerves. In turn, phentermine increases blood pressure and heart rate while lowering appetite.

Uses and Benefits

This medication helps people lose weight and reduces their appetite. Among its benefits are:

  • It is easier to maintain a lower-calorie diet because phentermine suppresses appetite.
  • Phentermine produces an energy increase. This may help motivate and stick with an exercise plan.
  • With a better diet, reduced food cravings could stimulate weight loss.

How Does Phentermine Increase Weight Loss?

Phentermine works by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. How does it cause a person to lose weight? The exact mechanism is unclear, but doctors believe it decreases appetite.

By some estimates, the minimum weight loss someone on phentermine can expect is about 5 percent of body weight in three months. Typically, a person loses between 1 and 4 pounds weekly.

Risks and Side Effects

While losing weight is a health concern for many individuals, those who are obese may benefit substantially from taking phentermine. Still, this is a stimulant drug, so it should be taken with care and only as prescribed. Furthermore, knowing the common and severe potential side effects of the drug is essential.

What Are the Common Side Effects of Taking Phentermine?

Phentermine side effects may range from mild to moderate. Common side effects from taking phentermine may include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Disagreeable taste
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Stomach pain
  • Vomiting

Does phentermine increase or decrease sexual interest? This is a reported common side effect of the drug.

Let your doctor know if any of these symptoms become severe or don’t go away.

Serious Side Effects

Some individuals taking phentermine may experience serious side effects, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Chest pain
  • Headache (severe)
  • Heart palpitations, pounding, or fluttering
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Insomnia or sleep difficulties
  • Leg and ankle swelling
  • Nosebleeds
  • Problems doing exercises you were previously able to do
  • Restlessness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Unusual behavior or mood changes

Call the doctor immediately if any of these serious side effects occur. Also, let your doctor know if you experience unusual problems while taking phentermine since the medicine may cause other side effects.

Precautions and Considerations

When phentermine is prescribed, and before taking the drug, it is essential to advise your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take. This includes vitamins, herbal products, and nutritional supplements. Many drugs can pose potential phentermine interactions.

Phentermine should not be used by anyone with coronary artery disease, heart arrhythmia, heart failure (congestive), stroke, glaucoma, high blood pressure uncontrolled by medication, thyroid problems (overactive), drug abuse history, extreme nervousness, or agitation.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take phentermine. There are risks of fetal abnormalities in pregnant women, and nursing infants may potentially experience severe adverse reactions.

Dangerous interactions with certain drugs may occur. Anyone who has taken an MAO inhibitor in the past two weeks should not take phentermine.

Do not take phentermine if you take other diet medications, such as dexfenfluramine or fenfluramine, Phen-Fen, and Redux, respectively. These have been linked to pulmonary hypertension, a fatal but rare lung disorder.

Is Phentermine Addictive?

You may have concerns about this medication, including, does phentermine increase the risk of dependency or addiction. Suppose you’re not losing weight with phentermine or began taking it because you stopped losing weight using other weight-loss methods.

As a Schedule IV drug, phentermine abuse may develop into physical or psychological dependence. Misusing phentermine may result in addiction, an overdose, or even death. Using the drug long-term may be habit-forming.

Dosage and Administration

Phentermine hydrochloride is available in 8 mg, 15 mg, 30 mg, and 37.5 mg tablets and extended-release capsule form. The typical adult dose is one 37.5 mg capsule daily before breakfast. It is generally taken orally as one dose in the morning or, depending on dosage, three times daily about a half-hour before meals.

Take the medication exactly as your doctor prescribes. Never take more than the prescribed dose or more frequently or longer than your doctor prescribes.

If you take phentermine in extended-release tablet form, never crush, chew, or split it. However, some tablets may be crushed and then mixed with food.

If you skip a dose because you forgot, take it when you remember you missed it. But, if it’s near the time of your next dose, skip the one you missed and keep your regular dose schedule.

Never double the dose to compensate for missing one.

How Long Does It Take for Phentermine to Work?

Taking the prescription medication phentermine is part of an overall weight loss plan that typically includes behavior changes, calorie reduction, and exercise. The medicine is usually taken for up to 12 weeks, although many people take it for 3-6 weeks.

The amount of weight someone taking phentermine loses depends on several factors. These include the prescribed dose of the medicine, the amount of exercise, their diet, and other contributing factors.

Treatment Duration and Withdrawal

No one wants to take medication indefinitely, even a drug approved for weight loss. Fortunately, phentermine is a relatively short-term treatment for individual safety and reported beneficial weight loss effects.

Not Losing Weight with Phentermine

Suppose you’re not losing weight with phentermine. How long have you been taking it? Are you taking it as prescribed? What other factors could be affecting your lack of weight loss? For example, have you stopped adhering to your diet or reduced or discontinued recommended exercise?

Phentermine may not work appropriately if you haven’t lost four pounds in a month. However, do not abruptly discontinue the medicine. This could cause unpleasant or worse withdrawal symptoms. Safely withdrawing from phentermine requires your doctor’s approval and recommendations for successful discontinuation

What Should I Discuss with My Doctor Before Taking Phentermine?

For some individuals who have stopped losing weight using other weight-loss approaches, the appeal of phentermine is the drug’s ability to promote weight loss. If you’re considering taking phentermine on your doctor’s advice, you’ll probably want to ask, “Does phentermine increase my likelihood of losing weight?”

Other Things to Ask the Doctor

Does phentermine increase my risk of a heart attack?
If I’m taking other diet medications, does phentermine increase weight loss, or is it dangerous to take more than one diet drug?
I’ve stopped losing weight. How will phentermine get me back on track?
Making the Decision
As with any prescription medication, including phentermine, the ultimate decision is between you and your doctor. Suppose you are enrolled in a treatment program that includes counseling, behavioral approaches, holistic or other treatment approaches, and support group participation. In that case, you may be prescribed medication to help you achieve your goals.

Remember that various medications could be prescribed to treat your condition and help reduce symptoms’ intensity, severity, frequency, or duration. However, if your doctor recommends taking phentermine, you should take it and allow it to work.

There may be questions about long-term use. You may wonder: Does phentermine increase dependency or addiction? You may be curious about how to discontinue taking it, when to taper, or if other medications may pose less risk for dependence or addiction. It could be that you’re not losing weight with phentermine. Our experts at Restore-Mental Health are here to help answer your questions and discuss potential treatment options.