What is phentermine?
Phentermine (Adipex-P, Lomaira) is a prescription weight-loss drug known as an anorectic, which reduces a person’s appetite. It’s available as an extended-release capsule or a tablet and is only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for short-term use, which is about three months or fewer.1,2
What are the dangers of phentermine diet pills?
Since phentermine is a stimulant and is chemically similar to amphetamine, this drug poses many dangers, especially when misused without a prescription or for longer than the 12-week limit.4
Taking an appetite suppressant like phentermine may not only cause many physical adverse effects but it can also lead to disordered eating behaviors like caloric restriction and skipping meals and even clinical eating disorders like anorexia nervosa (AN).
Phentermine side effects and health risks
There are many dangers of phentermine diet pills, including:1,4
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Dry mouth
- Depressed mood
- Heart palpitations
- Increased blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble sleeping
- Swelling of ankles or legs
Additionally, phentermine can cause weight loss due to suppressed appetite, making it appealing for many people who struggle with body dissatisfaction or have a compulsive desire for thinness. However, it can be dangerous to take Lomaira for weight loss for both physical and mental health reasons.
Can you overdose on phentermine?
Yes, it is possible to overdose on phentermine, which is a stimulant drug similar to amphetamine. A Lomaira overdose may include psychotic symptoms, such as auditory hallucinations and persecutory delusions.6
Other signs of a phentermine overdose may include:7
- Panic attacks
- Rapid breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Circulatory collapse
- Dangerously high or low blood pressure
In addition to a possible overdose, phentermine can also be addictive, especially if used for an extended period of time. This is why doctors only prescribe it for short-term use.1 Chronic phentermine use can lead to dependence and addiction, especially if you’re misusing it or continue to increase your dose as time goes on. If you are struggling with phentermine misuse or addiction, substance abuse treatment can help you quit using this medication.
The problem with using medications like phentermine for “weight loss”
Misusing phentermine and other popular weight loss drugs as appetite suppressants and to lose weight can increase a person’s risk of engaging in other disordered eating behaviors or can indicate disordered eating as well as a full-blown eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder.
In fact, studies have proven that young women who use medications like phentermine or laxatives to manage their weight are more likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder within one to three years than those who haven’t.8
Those who learn about phentermine’s appetite-suppressing effects and subsequent weight loss may be interested in taking it as a miracle weight loss cure, but this is a reaction to societal influences like diet culture, weight stigma, anti-fatness, and healthism—all of which affect a person’s body image, self-esteem, eating behaviors, relationship to movement, and beyond.
Although society wants us to believe that there is only one ideal body type, we can actually be healthy and happy at any size (and body weight), and the real danger is weight discrimination and anti-fatness. Thinness does not automatically equal health, especially in the face of using medications like phentermine, which can have catastrophic consequences.
Treating eating disorders
If you are struggling with disordered eating behaviors, such as phentermine misuse, laxative use, self-induced vomiting, caloric restriction, and compulsive exercise, treatment is available in many different settings. Inpatient and outpatient care may be beneficial for those who have the time and ability to attend in-person treatment, and remote care can close the treatment gap, providing care to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get treatment for an eating disorder.