Do doctors still prescribe phentermine for weight loss?

Effective for Weight Loss Although FDA approved only for short-term use of less than 12 weeks, health professionals often prescribe off-label phentermine for long-term use. Doctors may prescribe it on an intermittent basis, which means that you take a break from the medication for a set period of time before resuming it (5,. Many doctors prescribe phentermine, on its own, to patients for more than 12 weeks. And anecdotal reports from many of my colleagues suggested that it was useful for many long-term patients.

However, there is a lack of research on its long-term safety and effectiveness. Phentermine is available as a low-cost generic drug, but concerns have been raised about addiction and, because of how it works, cardiovascular side effects. The drug is a stimulant, so it is possible to increase blood pressure. We clearly needed more research to understand the benefits and risks of long-term phentermine use.

A doctor is the only person who can prescribe phentermine. Phentermine is the oldest weight loss pill used today to treat obesity. It is also the most frequently prescribed drug for this purpose, despite the fact that there are newer options on the market. When phentermine affects blood pressure and other risk factors, you are more likely to experience serious side effects.

At 6 months, one year and 2 years after starting phentermine, weight loss was clinically significantly greater among people who used the drug in the long term (more than one year) or in the medium term (more than 112 days but less than a year) than in people who used it only 3 months. Therefore, your doctor may stop prescribing phentermine if you have already reached the recommended duration of treatment. You should not take phentermine if you have heart disease that includes valvular heart disease, heart failure or high blood pressure, depression, overactive thyroid or glaucoma, or if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding. Therefore, if you are not overweight or obese and do not have an eating disorder, your doctor may refuse to prescribe phentermine.

This can cause more serious side effects, as the doctor determines that the lower dose of 37.5 mg is the safest option for the patient. Weight-loss clinics often employ bariatric specialists who have additional training in obesity management. If you have been using phentermine for more than 12 weeks, your doctor will most likely refuse to prescribe phentermine once again, at least not right away. If you have any type of heart disease diagnosed, don't expect your doctor to prescribe phentermine.

Dr. Apovian, a professor at Boston University School of Medicine who specializes in endocrinology, diabetes, nutrition and weight management. The 144 people who used phentermine continuously for more than a year had maintained more than 7 percent of their initial weight by 2 years. Without these basics of healthy weight loss, you're likely to regain all the pounds you've lost after you stopped taking phentermine.

Instead, wait until you can go to a local doctor or consider other over-the-counter weight-loss options.

Sharron Bouyer
Sharron Bouyer

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