Phentermine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A number of patients who want to lose a few extra pounds often inquire about the use of phentermine which has been traditionally advocated for patients who are significantly overweight or obese. Using body mass index (BMI) which uses weight and height to define obesity (BMI >30 is considered obese; 25-29.9 as overweight) or a waist -to- hip ratio (WHR) >.8 in women, or 0.9 to 1.0 in men, the majority of people who want to use phentermine may not truly qualify for use under these strict definitions of obesity.
Phentermine (Adipex-P, Suprenza) is an appetite suppressant which acts centrally in the hypothalamus stimulating the adrenal glands to release norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter signaling a flight or flight response, thereby reducing hunger. Phentermine also acts peripherally to help break down stored fat; however, the main mechanism of action is to reduce hunger. Phentermine also triggers release dopamine and seratonin, but significantly less than norepinephrine.
Although phentermine is one of the most commonly prescribed weight loss medications, it can have a number of potential side effects including dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, insomnia, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate and feeling nervous or jittery. Phentermine is classified as a Schedule IV drug–a classification given to drugs that have a potential for abuse, although the actual potential for abuse is low. Phentermine is approved for short term use– typically 3 months, or less.
Phentermine is not a proper choice if you have coronary artery disease, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma,or hypertension. It is not safe if you are pregnant, may become pregnant or are breast-feeding. It is important to emphasize that phentermine should not be combined with other weight loss medications.
Phentermine essentially helps to diminish your hunger, by making you feel “full” longer Although phentermine may serve as an initial boost to begin weight loss, once you stop taking it you could potentially re-gain the weight you lost. Phentermine should be part of comprehensive weight loss plan that includes aerobic exercise and a sensible low fat diet that emphasizes fresh fruit, whole grains, small portions of lean protein, and adequate quantities of water and green tea.
On April 9th 2012, an FDA advisory panel voted to delay approval for Qnexa, a combination pill (phentermine and topirimate) for obese patients, amid safety concerns including rapid heart beat or tachycardia and birth defects-cleft lip in newborns of expectant mothers. There was also the concern of non fatal heart attacks observed in patients taking Qnexa, but not in placebo patients. Topirimate, (trade name Topamax), which is used to treat migraine headaches, and seizures, has the known added side effect of weight loss. Preliminary research has suggested that Qnexa may lower blood pressure, improve glycemic control and lipid profile, along with the intended effect of weight loss (approximately 10%). A decision regarding from the FDA advisory panel regarding approval for Qnexa is expected in early July 2012. A number of physicians already prescribe both drugs (phentermine and topamax) together, off label for weight loss.
The bottom line is that if you just want to lose a few extra pounds you will probably be more successful in maintaining your weight loss over an extended period of time if you don’t rely on such medications. However, if you are overweight or obese, these medications may be potentially helpful as an adjunct in addition to a healthy diet, and comprehensive aerobic exercise program. Please consult your physician before beginning any weight loss plan or consider taking any medications to lose weight.
Phentermine or Qnexa: Reasonable Options for Weight Loss? – Forbes
Phentermine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)