What is phentermine?
Phentermine is a medication classified as an “anoretic” medication, meaning it helps you lose weight, and has been an FDA approved medication since 1959. Simply stated, phentermine stimulates the brain to increase activity of the sympathetic nervous system. In doing so, our appetite is suppressed and our cravings are decreased, while our metabolism is increased. The medication lasts about 10-12 hours in most patients and is usually taken in the morning. It is classified by the DEA as a controlled substance and can only be obtained with a prescription from a doctor.
Is it Fen-Phen?
No. Fen-Phen was a combination drug containing both fenfluramine (no longer on the market) and phentermine (still on the market). This combination worked well to help with weight loss but had potential cardiovascular side effects, including heart valve damage. Although Fen-Phen was removed by the FDA, the individual drug, phentermine, remained after many safety studies were completed. Phentermine’s safety has not been questioned nor did it play a role in any of the adverse effects of Fen-Phen.
What are the side effects?
The most common side effect is dry mouth, however, this can be a good thing because it encourages you to drink more water. Some patient’s experience insomnia or trouble sleeping, especially if they take the medication later in the day. Some patients may feel jittery or anxious, however, many patients interpret this as feeling more energetic. This is a direct result of the activation of the sympathetic nervous system which is the same system that causes the “fight or flight” reflex. If you have an arrhythmia (which will be detected during your initial visit with an ECG), this medication can cause it to worsen, so not everyone can take phentermine. However, our office is very diligent in patient safety and no patient will be given a prescription if there is potential for complications because of pre-existing medical problems.
How do I find out if I can take phentermine?
To see if you qualify for phentermine and if it is an option for you, please call our office at 770-487-3200 to schedule a consultation.