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An appetite suppressant, Phenteramine is often prescribed for obese patients at risk of heart disease. Phentermine has been around for years – it was first approved in America as long ago as 1959 – although scientists aren’t entirely sure how it works! The assumption is that it works on the centres in the brain that control appetite, and thus makes you feel less hungry.

Phentermine is a prescription only drug, and is usually used for short-term treatment – that is, less than 12 weeks. The reason it is used short term is that doctors believe that it loses its effectiveness as an appetite suppressant as the body adjusts to it. However, research has shown it to still be effective for up to 36 weeks.

Doctors typically reserve this medication for extremely obese individuals with risk factors for heart disease, and use it in combination with an appropriate programme of diet and exercise.

As with all medications caution needs to be shown if you are taking this. Do not combine it with other weight loss medications, and be aware that you should take it early in the day (before or after breakfast) in order to reduce the risk of insomnia.

Because of the way this drug works, it has various side effects. Closely related to amphetamines, it seems to stimulate the release of brain chemicals, which reduce sensations of hunger. It also stimulates your nervous system, which leads to a rise in both blood pressure and heart rate.

As a result people frequently experience side effects including mood swings, chest pain, tremors, irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, severe headaches, and seizures.

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