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What Is Tenuate®?

By Debra Durkee
Updated May 17, 2024
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Tenuate® is a prescription medication sometimes administered to individuals trying to lose weight. The drug, usually taken once a day, works to suppress appetite. It has been found to work best in conjunction with other weight-loss strategies and is generally only given for a short time, as it can be addictive.

The medication is generally prescribed as part of a program for individuals who need to lose a large amount of weight. It is given in conjunction with a regimen of regular exercise and instructions on how to change a diet in order to maximize weight loss. Since the medication can be highly addictive, most medical professionals will prescribe a gradually decreasing amount of the drug, in order to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms from developing.

When on Tenuate®, an individual will generally experience increased activity throughout the nervous system and the involuntary processes that the nerves control. This includes an elevated heart rate and a prolonged spike in blood pressure. Due to these effects, it is generally not recommended for those who may already have high blood pressure, heart disease, or other cardiovascular conditions. Those at risk for developing these conditions may be prescribed an alternate dose to help ensure no lasting damage is done by the medication.

In addition to the medication, an individual will most likely be prescribed specific dietary guidelines to follow. This is not to prevent any interference with the medication, but to help ensure a healthy diet that will aid in weight loss. Since Tenuate® acts to lessen appetite, it has been found to work in part as a behavior-modifying agent that will help the individual continue eating the right amounts even after he or she stops taking the drug.

Many individuals who start on Tenuate® experience side effects that generally fade as the body adapts to the medication. These include gastrointestinal distress, dry mouth, and changes in mood. There may be feelings of unexplained anxiety or sadness, as well as exhaustion and insomnia. Side effects may be more severe in women than in men, and if they continue for longer than advised by the medical professional, it may become necessary to lower the dose or remove the prescription altogether.

Rarely, there have been instances of severe side effects such as seizures, chest pain, edema, and loss of consciousness. These side effects, as well as signs of an allergic reaction, can also result in the individual being taken off Tenuate®. Other medications, even those available over the counter, can make side effects worse.

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