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How Effective Is Phentermine for Weight Loss?

By Jackie Myers
Updated May 17, 2024
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Phentermine for weight loss is highly effective, and physicians prescribe it in conjunction with an approved low-calorie diet. It is taken by people who are obese and unable to lose weight with exercise and diet alone. Those who lose weight taking phentermine can reduce various health risks, including high-blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

This drug works as an appetite suppressant and belongs to class of medications called anorectics. Phentermine decreases appetite by acting on the centers of the brain that control appetite. It can be compared to an amphetamine, as it increases heart rate and stimulates the nervous system. Phentermine can be habit-forming and should only be taken by the person it is prescribed for.

Dosages of phentermine are usually taken on an empty stomach, once a day, before breakfast. People should avoid taking phentermine late in the day because it is known to disrupt sleep patterns. Individuals taking more than one dose a day should take the last one no later than six hours prior to going to bed. Experts advise people who miss a dose of phentermine not to take a double dose. It is also unwise to increase the dosage without approval from a physician.

Those using phentermine for weight loss may experience several side effects. Common ones include sleep disturbances, vomiting, dry mouth, and constipation. This drug can cause serious, sometimes fatal, heart or lung problems. The risk of serious effects increases the longer phentermine in used. Experts suggest that people experiencing chest pain or leg swelling immediately contact their physician.

Phentermine should never be mixed with other weight loss medications, such as dexfenfluramine. The combination can cause a fatal lung disorder called pulmonary hypertension. Other dangerous medication interactions to avoid while taking phentermine for weight loss include MAO inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants. It is also best to avoid drinking large quantities of any beverage containing caffeine, as it increases the side effects of phentermine.

Anyone taking phentermine for weight loss must take certain precautions. Experts recommend that the patient tell his or her physician about any history of vascular heart disease or seizure problems. Phentermine is not recommended for the elderly because they are at significant risk of kidney damage. Since most people who take phentermine report blurred vision, it may be best not to drive or operate machinery while taking it. Alcoholic beverages should also be avoided.

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