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Is It Safe to Take Phentermine in Pregnancy?

By H. Lo
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are no conclusive studies regarding the effects of taking phentermine in pregnancy, and so it is not known if taking phentermine in pregnancy is safe. As such, the general rule is that a woman should only use phentermine in pregnancy when her doctor thinks the medication’s benefits will outweigh the risks. In addition, just as there is no knowledge about the safety of taking phentermine in pregnancy, there also is little knowledge regarding the safety of breastfeeding while taking phentermine. This is because it is not known if phentermine is found in breast milk, and if it is, the medication could pass onto a breastfeeding baby, which might then cause him to develop medical conditions.

Phentermine itself is an anorectic. It is a medication used to suppress appetite in obese people, helping them to lose weight quickly when accompanied by exercise and a low-calorie diet. Meant for short-term use only, phentermine comes in tablet form and extended release tablet form as well. While some tablets will work when chewed, extended release tablets are meant to release the medication over a period of time in the body. Since this is the case, it is important not to chew, crush or split extended release tablets.

The prescription length for phentermine is typically between three- to six-weeks-long, although this time frame varies from person to person, depending on each person’s particular response to the medication. As with all medications, it is important to follow dosage instructions firmly. For phentermine, this is because taking too much of the medication can lead to drug abuse since phentermine is a habit-forming medication. One basic prescription instruction includes avoiding taking the medication at night, since it can cause insomnia to occur. Another is that a person taking the medication should not suddenly stop taking it because it can lead to withdrawal symptoms that include depression, extreme drowsiness and fatigue.

Common side effects of phentermine include constipation, diarrhea and dry mouth, as well as an unpleasant taste in the mouth and vomiting. Serious side effects include chest pain, fast heart rate and high blood pressure, in addition to restlessness, severe allergic reaction and shortness of breath. As a medication similar to amphetamine, phentermine stimulates the central nervous system and some of these side effects might occur as a result of that. With mild side effects, it is not necessary to consult a doctor unless they become persistent or severe. Serious side effects, on the other hand, require the affected person to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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