Is phentermine a good option for weight loss?

Answers from Donald Hensrud, M.D.

Phentermine (Adipex-P, Suprenza) is an amphetamine-like prescription medication used to suppress appetite. It can help weight loss by decreasing your hunger or making you feel full longer. Phentermine is also available in a combination medication for weight loss (Qsymia).

Like other prescription weight-loss drugs, phentermine is intended to be used as part of an overall weight-loss plan. It is indicated for people who are obese, and who have failed to lose enough weight with diet and exercise alone — not for people who want to lose just a few pounds

Phentermine is a Schedule IV drug, a classification given to drugs that have a potential for abuse, although the actual potential appears to be low.

Although phentermine is one of the most commonly prescribed weight-loss medications, it has some potentially serious drawbacks. Common side effects include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleeplessness
  • Nervousness
  • Constipation

Phentermine isn't a good option if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid gland or glaucoma. It also isn't for women who are pregnant, may become pregnant or are breast-feeding.

Feb. 25, 2015 See more Expert Answers