Welcome to another medical minute.
Today and for the next several weeks, I’m going to talk about a class of medicines called anti-obesity medications.
Anti-obesity medications are commonly used or referred to as weight loss drugs.
The one that we should always start the conversation with is Phentermine.
Phentermine has been out since 1959. Science and medicine back in the 1950s didn’t know a lot about obesity or weight loss for that matter. They believed back then that you could lose weight and once you lost the weight, it’d be very easy to keep off. Well that wasn’t true. We do not treat obesity or weight loss as a short term problem, much like a sinus infection. If you take your antibiotic for a short period of time, when the sinus infection goes away in seven to 10 days, and then you stop your medication. We treat obesity as another medical disease, much like blood pressure and taking anti hypertensive pills or blood pressure pills we end up having to take for a long time.
So when these drugs, especially Phentermine, was first studied, it was studied for three months and then it was discontinued. Unfortunately we know when we discontinue a medicine after three months, the weight does start to come back. The best reason to use Phentermine, it is one of the best appetite suppressant medications. It’s working directly on a part of the hypothalamus, our appetite center, to decrease appetite.
It has a couple of side effects, which are easily overcome with a little counseling. The first is it acts as a stimulant medication. And so for roughly the first three nights, most people have a little trouble falling asleep. It causes a little bit of a dry mouth. And so I usually ask people to drink a lot of water in weight loss anyway. So it helps with that. And then the third is people do build up somewhat of a tolerance. And if there was a fourth, it is that that is not right for everybody. You can’t just blindly put someone on a medicine like Phentermine and expect them to lose weight.
That being said, there are a lot of people who can and should be taking a medicine like Phentermine to help them lose weight. It probably decreases appetite and helps weight loss potentially more than many of the others on the market. That being said, there is no one drug that is great for everybody. And so using a little trial and error, a lot of clinical judgment, we try to find the best drug for each of you. Hopefully that helps a little bit with Phentermine.
Come back next week when I talk about combining phentermine with at least one other drug.
Have a great week.