If only there were a magic pill for weight loss. It's normal that anyone would be curious about any type of medication that could help you lose weight. You may have even heard about phentermine — better known by such brand names as Adipex-P or Lomaira — which works as an appetite suppressant.
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But, don't get too excited. The existence of a substance like phentermine doesn't mean the world's struggles with weight control are over and that you can cancel that expensive gym membership. Not by a long shot. Weight-loss medication isn't a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. Even people who need phentermine should use it in combination with diet and exercise.
To get a definitive answer on whether phentermine is for you, you'll have to see a doctor or health care professional who will be able to answer any questions you have about the right options for you and how you can best achieve your weight-loss goals. But before you make your appointment, arm yourself with some information about the effectiveness of phentermine for weight loss and about phentermine alternatives.
How Does Phentermine Work?
Don't think of phentermine as a pill for losing a few vanity pounds. Phentermine is a prescription medication that's not available over the counter. It's intended only for patients who have obesity or a BMI of 30 or greater, or a BMI of 27 or greater with weight-related diseases or conditions. And, among those people, it's prescribed for those who have had no luck with just diet and exercise.
Phentermine can be compared to an amphetamine, according to the American Society of Cardiology. It's a stimulant that suppresses the appetite by affecting the central nervous system. The mechanisms behind the appetite suppression aren't clear, but a study published by Metabolism in March of 2019 suggests it increases neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
Read more: Healthy Ways to Lose Weight Fast
A Phentermine Alternative
Even though phentermine is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for weight loss, it isn't the right option for everybody. Those who have heart disease, high blood pressure, an overactive thyroid gland or glaucoma, or those who are pregnant, may become pregnant or are breastfeeding, should avoid phentermine.
Additionally, as noted by the American Academy of Family Physicians, phentermine should be used by those weighing 20 percent or more over their ideal body weight. People who simply want to lose weight can find a natural phentermine substitution in a combination of diet and exercise.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Fat Loss
Is Anything Comparable to Phentermine?
So, you're probably thinking that if your situation doesn't place you in line for a prescription for phentermine, there are plenty of other supplements or medicines you could take, right?
If you look for natural phentermine reviews online, you'll find many herbal alternatives that claim to be effective for weight loss.
A review published by the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders in 2015 noted that anti-obesity mechanisms for herbal plants, such as those containing ephedrine and caffeine, include reduction in fat absorption and energy intake and increase in energy expenditure, among other mechanisms.
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But, according to Harvard Health, just because weight-loss alternatives with ingredients like ephedrine, chitosan, guarana, cascara and yerba mate are touted as natural doesn't mean they're safe or effective. Many of them have ingredients that aren't listed on the label and could carry side effects. They're also frequently the subject of safety alerts put out by the Food & Drug Administration.
- American Academy of Family Physicians: "Prescription Weight-Loss Medicines"
- American College of Cardiology: "Phentermine"
- Mayo Clinic: "Is Phentermine a Good Option for Weight Loss?"
- Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders: "Targeting Metabolic Disorders by Natural Products"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Weight-loss Drug Review"
- Metabolism: "Pharmacotherapy of Obesity: Available Medications and Drugs Under Investigation"
- Food & Drug Administration: "Consumer Alerts"
- MedlinePlus: Tips for Losing Weight
- Weight-Control Information Network: Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-Loss Program
- Food and Nutrition Information Center: Weight and Obesity