Tips on Losing Weight on Phentermine

Doctor holding handful of pills
Use phentermine as prescribed by your doctor. (Image: Blend Images - Hello Lovely/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Phentermine, a powerful drug intended to assist in weight loss, should only be used under the supervision of a qualified medical professional. It's designed to be taken for a short term, just three to six weeks in most cases, as a kick-start for overweight people who've committed to losing weight with diet and exercise. The drug acts as an appetite suppressant to help reduce cravings and the urge to overeat. Your doctor should give you all the information required to successfully use the drug, including dosage and a diet plan.

Phentermine Usage and Weight Loss

Use phentermine as prescribed by your doctor in either the tablet form or extended-release capsules. The prescription label and your pharmacist should also provide details on use. Never take doses larger than those prescribed by your doctor. Also, do not self-medicate with additional dosages or take it after your doctor has told you to cease using it. Certain medical conditions and drugs negatively interact with phentermine, so it's essential to heed your doctor's advice precisely.

Eating While on Phentermine

Your doctor should provide you with eating and exercise guidelines for use while on the drug. Follow common-sense dieting strategies, such as not consuming copious amounts of sugary desserts, full-calorie soda and processed junk foods. Meals should consist mostly of controlled portions of lean proteins, vegetables and whole grains. Alcohol will likely be discouraged, as it can intensify phentermine's side effects.

Exercise and Phentermine

Exercise recommendations while you're taking phentermine will depend on your current fitness level and size. Those new to exercise or returning after a long hiatus may take it slow -- for example, try going for a 10-minute walk two to three times per day.

Over time, you may be able to increase the duration and intensity of exercise, but do this only under the direction of your doctor. If you find exercise that you're usually comfortable performing is more challenging while you're on phentermine, or if you're feeling out of breath or experience rapid heartbeat when exercising while on the drug, consult your doctor immediately.

Precautions When Taking the Drug

Don't confuse phentermine with the now banned diet drug known as fen-phen. This drug was a combination of fenfluramine and phentermine, and the mix proved toxic, causing heart valve disease. Using phentermine alone has not resulted in any reports of such complications.

Using phentermine can result in unpleasant side effects, including dry mouth, diarrhea, constipation and vomiting. More serious side effects, such as increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, swelling of the legs and dizziness, should be reported immediately. Use of phentermine has also been associated with depression.

Phentermine does have addictive qualities, which is why its use should be short-term only. Discuss any concerns you may have about habitual use with your doctor.

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