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Why is this medication prescribed?

Phentermine is a prescription medication that is used as a short-term adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise for the treatment of obesity. It is typically prescribed for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or those with a BMI of 27 or higher who also have obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

Phentermine is a sympathomimetic amine that works as an appetite suppressant. It stimulates the release of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, which affect the hunger center in the brain, leading to reduced appetite. This can help people with obesity to eat less and, in turn, lose weight.

How should this medicine be used?

Here are general guidelines for the use of phentermine:

  • Dosage: The typical adult dose is 8 mg to be taken 30 minutes before meals, three times a day. However, your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate dosage based on your specific needs and medical history.
  • Timing: Phentermine is usually taken before meals to help control appetite. Taking it later in the day may cause insomnia due to its stimulating effects.
  • Duration of Use: Phentermine is generally prescribed for short-term use, usually a few weeks to a few months. Prolonged use can lead to tolerance, where the body adapts to the medication’s effects, reducing its effectiveness over time.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Phentermine is most effective when used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise. It is not a standalone solution for weight loss but rather a tool to assist in a comprehensive weight loss program.
  • Medical Supervision: It’s crucial to use phentermine under the supervision of a healthcare professional who can monitor your progress, assess any side effects, and make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed.

It’s important to note that phentermine has the potential for abuse and dependence. Therefore, it should only be used under the close supervision of a healthcare provider, and the prescribed dosage should not be exceeded.

As with any prescription medication, individual responses to phentermine can vary, and potential side effects should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Additionally, it’s important to inform your doctor of any other medications or health conditions you have before starting phentermine.

Other uses for this medicine

Phentermine is primarily approved for the short-term treatment of obesity, but it may also be prescribed for other purposes at the discretion of a healthcare professional. It is important to note that using phentermine for any purpose other than what is specifically prescribed by a doctor can be unsafe and is not recommended.

What special precautions should I follow?

Special precautions should be taken when using phentermine, and it is crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully. Here are some key precautions associated with the use of phentermine:

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Phentermine is generally not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It may harm the fetus or pass into breast milk, potentially causing harm to the nursing infant. If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider.
  • Medical History: Inform your doctor about your complete medical history, including any history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, glaucoma, or a history of drug or alcohol abuse. Phentermine may exacerbate certain conditions, and your healthcare provider needs to assess whether it is safe for you.
  • Interaction with Other Medications: Phentermine can interact with other medications, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and may cause serious reactions. Inform your healthcare provider about all the medications, supplements, and herbal products you are currently taking.
  • Allergies: If you are allergic to phentermine or any of its ingredients, let your doctor know. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and may include symptoms such as rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing.
  • Psychiatric Effects: Phentermine may cause psychological effects such as mood swings, agitation, or aggressive behavior. If you experience any mental/mood changes, report them to your healthcare provider.
  • Potential for Dependence and Abuse: Phentermine has the potential for abuse, and dependence can occur with prolonged use. It is essential to take phentermine only as prescribed and not to exceed the recommended dosage.
  • Tolerance and Withdrawal: Prolonged use of phentermine can lead to tolerance, where the body adapts to the drug’s effects, reducing its effectiveness. Abrupt cessation can result in withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor will provide guidance on how to taper off the medication when discontinuing its use.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding the use of phentermine, and do not self-adjust the dosage or stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor. Regular check-ups and monitoring are essential to assess your progress and address any potential side effects or concerns.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

  • Reduced-Calorie Diet: Phentermine is most effective when used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for a balanced and calorie-controlled eating plan.
  • Hydration: Stay well-hydrated. Drinking an adequate amount of water is essential, and it can also help manage potential side effects such as dry mouth.
  • Caffeine and Stimulants: Limit the intake of caffeine and other stimulants, as phentermine itself has stimulant properties.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you forget to take a dose of Phentermine:

  • Missed Dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s almost time for your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule.
  • Double Dosing: Do not double the dose to make up for a missed one. Taking more than the prescribed amount can increase the risk of side effects and complications.
  • Consult Your Doctor: If you have questions about missed doses or if you are unsure about what to do, contact your healthcare provider for guidance.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Phentermine, like any medication, can cause side effects. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these side effects, and their severity can vary from person to person. Common side effects of phentermine include:

  • Insomnia: Phentermine is a stimulant that can cause difficulty sleeping. Taking the medication earlier in the day may help mitigate this effect.
  • Dry Mouth: Reduced saliva production is a common side effect. Staying hydrated and chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on ice chips may provide relief.
  • Increased Heart Rate: Phentermine can elevate heart rate and blood pressure. Regular monitoring by a healthcare professional is important, especially for individuals with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions.
  • Nervousness or Restlessness: Some people may experience increased feelings of nervousness or restlessness while taking phentermine.
  • Headache: Headaches can occur as a side effect. Staying hydrated and managing stress may help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.
  • Dizziness: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy is a possible side effect. Avoiding activities that require mental alertness, such as driving, until you know how the medication affects you, is advisable.
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Phentermine can cause digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea.
  • Elevated Blood Pressure: Phentermine can increase blood pressure, so regular monitoring is essential, especially for individuals with hypertension.
  • Mood Changes: Some individuals may experience mood swings, irritability, or other changes in mood.
  • Blurred Vision: Vision changes, including blurred vision, have been reported by some individuals.

It’s important to contact your healthcare provider if you experience severe or persistent side effects or if you have concerns about how the medication is affecting you. In some cases, the benefits of weight loss may outweigh the risks of side effects, but this decision should be made in consultation with your healthcare provider.

In addition to the common side effects listed above, phentermine may have more serious side effects, and it is important to seek medical attention immediately if you experience symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the legs or ankles
  • Difficulty exercising or performing physical activities
  • Unexplained feelings of extreme happiness or sadness
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects, and individual reactions may vary. Always consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your health history and current medications.

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Storage and Disposal of Phentermine:

  • Storage: Keep phentermine in its original container at room temperature, away from moisture and heat. Do not store it in the bathroom. Keep it out of reach of children and pets.
  • Disposal: Dispose of unused or expired medications properly. Do not flush them down the toilet or throw them in the trash. Contact your local pharmacy or follow any specific disposal instructions provided by your healthcare provider or local authorities.

In case of emergency/overdose

If you suspect an overdose or experience severe symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately. Overdose symptoms may include:

  • Restlessness or tremors
  • Rapid breathing
  • Confusion or hallucinations
  • Panic
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark urine
  • Fainting
  • Seizures

What other information should I know?

  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly monitor your weight and progress while taking phentermine. Report any concerns or unusual reactions to your healthcare provider.
  • Follow-up Appointments: Attend follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to assess the effectiveness of the medication, discuss any side effects, and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Limit or avoid alcohol while taking phentermine, as it may enhance certain side effects and increase the risk of complications.
  • Inform Healthcare Providers: Inform all healthcare providers (including dentists and surgeons) about your use of phentermine before undergoing any medical procedures.
  • Driving and Activities: Be cautious when driving or engaging in activities that require alertness, especially if you experience dizziness or other side effects that may impair your ability to concentrate.
  • Medical Alert Bracelet: If you have a medical condition, such as heart problems, that may require emergency medical attention, consider wearing a medical alert bracelet indicating your use of phentermine.
  • Pharmacy Consultation: Consult with your pharmacist if you have questions about the medication, its interactions, or proper use.
  • Personal Health Records: Maintain a record of your medical history, including current medications, for easy reference during medical appointments.

Always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions and guidelines. If you have questions or concerns about phentermine, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for personalized advice based on your health status.

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