Why Is Phentermine A Prescription Only Drug?

Pharmacotherapy has emerged as one of the necessary requirements for targeting weight loss today. Some might ask, what is the need for including medicines in the weight loss programs? Aren’t exercises good enough? Well, the one simple answer to that is, ‘NO’. Exercise is not enough. Lifestyle modification is not enough either. Dieting also cannot fight obesity alone. Obesity is growing at an alarming rate all across the world with varied complications and comorbidities. The world is in a dire need of a method that can help combat this epidemic. This desired method is a medley of exercises, proper and healthy diet, lifestyle modifications aiming for better living and pharmacotherapy.

The term is ‘pharmacotherapy’ and not drug abuse

A number of drugs are being successfully used for the treatment of obesity these days. One of the most popular drugs is Phentermine. It is marketed under various names. Phentermine is a sympathomimetic peptide whose parent compound is amphetamine. Certain considerations are associated with the treatment. For example, a pregnant woman cannot use phentermine, the drug should not be combined with alcohol or certain other types of medications. Phentermine was developed in the 1980s. However, owing to its similarity in pharmacology with amphetamine it had the potential of being abused and therefore Phen remains as a prescription only drug.

It is necessary that one consults a doctor before starting the therapy. The dosage requirement of the medicine also varies with the difference in physical activity and BMI of the individuals. It is very likely that people might develop an addiction to the drug. Therefore the medication is prescribed for a short-term. In light of the many plausible negativities, FDA has restricted the use of phentermine by prescription alone. After all, it is highly unfair to let a medicine of such importance be used to cause more hazards than benefits.

Unregulated use lead to serious side-effects

Few of the earlier side effects that follow phentermine use are nausea, headache, insomnia, cramps, etc. While the most common symptom is dry mouth as experienced by most of the users. Studies have illustrated that the amphetamine effect of the medicine is responsible for most of the side-effects while few might also be in response to the other ingredients present in the drug. Additionally, certain cardiovascular and pulmonary complications might follow the treatment with these drugs. So, it is important for the user to discuss their medical history with the doctor.

Per contra, some users have experienced lowering of blood pressure due to weight loss as well. Few users might experience difficulty in passing urine, or chest pain, swelling of limbs and face while some others might be afflicted with complications of higher magnitude like a heart attack or even stroke.

Weight loss drugs affect the nervous system

The exact mechanism of action of Phentermine is still unknown. However, it is well established that the drug acts on the central nervous system to curb the appetite. Therefore it is often recommended that these drugs should not be combined with alcohol or products containing caffeine. Both alcohol and caffeine affect the nervous system. When combined with phentermine medication these might interact negatively to produce severe side-effects.