Phentermine is proof that old drugs still have a role to play!

Phentermine is proof that old drugs still have a role to play!  In need of an appetite suppressant – something to curb your hunger?  Ask your doctor if Phentermine is right for you.

Here are the key facts that you need to know.  In the mid 90’s Phentermine was combined with another FDA approved appetite stimulant called Fenfluramine.  The combination earned the nickname “phen/fen”  The combination of the 2 drugs together worked very well to curb hunger.  Unfortunately, the drug fenfluramine was subsequently found to cause heart valve defects in some people.  As a result, fenfluramine was taken off the US market by the FDA in the fall of 1997.  Use of “phen/fen” stopped abruptly!

Phentermine however does not cause heart disease or heart valve defects, was never taken off the market, and it has continued to be an effective appetite suppressant, combined with a Low Calorie Diet to help dieters stay on their plan, and get to their goal. Phentermine is however a “stimulant” drug.  As such, it cannot be combined with other stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta.  Phentermine is also not well suited to an individual who has had substance abuse problems in the past.  Use of phentermine could for example trigger a relapse in someone who has recovered from methamphetamine “meth” addiction.

As a stimulant drug, phentermine can and will cause side effects in some people.  Virtually everyone who takes phentermine will have dry mouth.  Some people will also complain that it makes them feel jittery, anxious or hyper.  You can see that phentermine use needs to be cautiously used in a person with a severe anxiety or panic disorder.  Phentermine can also increase heart rate, blood pressure and cause palpitations. I do allow use of phentermine in a patient with a history of hypertension (high blood pressure) as long as the blood pressure is well controlled and the patient agrees to stay on medication.

In the US, the most common dose of phentermine is 42.5mg, and it comes in a tablet.  In my opinion, that dose is rather high, and may increase the risk of developing unwanted side effects.  If a patient is prescribed that dose of phentermine, it should be broken into a half tablet with the direction to take 1/2 tablet in the morning, and the other 1/2 tablet about 6 hours later. Patients at Omaha Med Spa have the option of using a novel compounded form of phentermine that provides hunger control, stimulates metabolism and has a lower incidence of side effects. Never take phentermine within 6 hours of bedtime, as it may keep you awake and cause insomnia.

After 6-8 weeks of daily use patients often report that phentermine no longer seems to be as effective.  At this point, the body has developed some tolerance to the drug.  Due to the low addictive potential associated with phentermine, this is an ideal time to take at lease a 2 week break from this medication. Medical monitoring of phentermine use includes checking the heart rate and blood pressure on a regular basis.  If blood pressure increases, then the phentermine needs to be discontinued. As with all prescribed medications, do not share your prescription of phentermine with other people. The FDA approves for the use of phentermine in select individuals for short periods of time who are dieting. Phentermine is not a drug that should be used for “maintenance” or in other words as a way to keep the weight off. Phentermine is not always covered by health insurance plans.  Is is available in a brand name and a generic form, and in general is not very expensive.

Dr Carter O. Abbott MD
creator of The OWL Diet