Phentermine for Weight Loss: Can It Help?


Phentermine is an amphetamine like prescription medication used in the treatment of obesity.

It works to promote weight loss in two ways. It primarily acts as an appetite suppressant but also causes feelings of fullness to last longer.

Phentermine comprises just one part of a weight loss plan. Proper exercise and diet are still necessary to attain weight loss goals. Phentermine is normally only recommended for severely overweight individuals.

What to Know Before Taking Phentermine

Phentermine can interact dangerously with MAO inhibitors. This includes: Furoxone, Nardil, Parnate and others not listed. A two-week period of abstinence from MAO inhibitors is necessary before taking phentermine.

Phentermine is not recommended for people with a history of heart disease, thyroid problems, hypertension, glaucoma and pregnant or breast-feeding women. People with a history of drug or alcohol abuse and allergies to amphetamines should also not take phentermine.

Phentermine is known to cause drowsiness or altered thinking in some people. Consuming alcohol while taking phentermine may exacerbate these effects. People experiencing such side effects should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery.

Despite a low potential for abuse, phentermine is potentially addictive. Use of phentermine is limited to periods of 12 weeks or less.

Side Effects of Phentermine

Side effects that require prompt medical attention include:

  • breathing difficulties
  • swelling of the face
  • hives

Serious side effects that don’t warrant immediate medical attention but should be reported to a physician include:

  • hypertension
  • swelling of the extremities
  • mood swings
  • altered thinking or confusion
  • heart palpitations

Other less serious side effects of phentermine include:

  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • cotton mouth
  • digestive problems
  • loss of libido

Forgetting to Take a Dose or Overdosing

Everyone occasionally forgets to take their medication. If this occurs while taking phentermine, take the medication as soon as possible. However, if it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one and only take the next scheduled dose.

If an overdose is suspected, seek out emergency medical attention immediately. A phentermine overdose is potentially fatal. Common symptoms of an overdose include heart palpitations, rapid breathing, panic, altered thinking and hallucinations.

Other Considerations

Phentermine may interact with a number of medications. A doctor should be aware of any other medications a patient is taking. This includes all blood pressure and diabetes medications as well as any anti-depressants.

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