Each overweight individual has a different reason for his weight gain – it may be eating very large meals, cravings, eating out of anxiety or boredom or even eating in the middle of the night. You need to first identify your particular eating problem and then find a food plan that best matches your food preferences and personal requirements. The role of medication is to assist individuals who are having difficulty with hunger, cravings and compulsive eating. Diet drugs, even then strongest, are not “magic bullets,” only “helpers”, and that even the strongest pill cannot stop one from eating some very bad, readily available foods.
Dietary changes, even simple ones, always come before medications. Taking these medications, even for brief periods of times often assists individuals in their weight loss plan. Some individuals experience fullness for the first time in their lives while others feel in control of their food and learn to make better food decisions. Many overweight people learn that they genuinely do not need as much food as they had once believed they did.
While some individuals might do well taking the drugs for only a couple of weeks to help “jump start” their weight loss plan, others may need to take them for months or even years. Since each overweight individual has a different reason for his weight gain, the right drug needs to be matched with the “right person”-not only in choice of drugs, but dose and duration.
Here is an overview of the prescription obesity drugs choices today:
Phentermine: Ionamin, Adipex
First approved as an appetite suppressant in 1959, Phentermine is sold under a variety of brand names including Ionamin and Bontril as well as under its generic name. Phentermine and its cousins Phendimetrazine and Diethylpropion are all sympathomimetic amines, which are similar to an amphetamine. They are also known as an “anorectic” or “anorexigenic” drugs. They stimulate the central nervous system (nerves and brain), which raises your heart rate and blood pressure as it suppresses your appetite. Dr. Weintraub, in groundbreaking studies combined phenteramine with fenfluramine in a combination called Fen-phen. Interest in these drugs peaked in the mid 1990’s when you could find a doctor on virtually every street corner who prescribed them. The rare occurrence of heart disease and even rarer pulmonary hypertension led to the withdrawal of the drugs from the market in 1997. The 1990’s and early 2000’s saw the use of herbal fen/phen and combinations of Phentermine and Prozac all without significant weight-loss benefits.
Nonetheless, these drugs still play a role in weight loss and have been taken by millions of people over the past 25 years.
How it Works, Side Effects, Who Should Take It
Phentermine, Phendimetrazine and Diethylpropion are closely related drugs that reduce appetite but have little effect on cravings and compulsive eating. They raise blood pressure in some individuals and often are limited by the development of tolerance in others. These are useful drugs for those who simply eat too much, particularly during the day when these drugs are the most effective.They need to be used with caution in people with high blood pressure. They should not be used either in people who have heart disease, who have had strokes, or other serious brain or cardiac problems. These drugs are most effective when used in low doses and titrated slowly to avoid side effects and the development of tolerance. Some physicians alternate Phentermine with Phendimetrazine in order to avoid tolerance. Of all of the drugs in this group, Diethylpropion has the least side effects and the least problems with tolerance. Related to bupropion, Wellbutrin, not only reduces appetite but helps many people with compulsive eating.