Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Weight Loss & Diet Plans

Select An Article
Font Size

Prescription Weight Loss Drugs

(continued)

Phentermine

How it works: Curbs your appetite.

Your doctor may prescribe this under the names Adipex or Suprenza.

Approved for long-term use? No. It's approved for short-term use (a few weeks) only.

Side effects can be serious, such as raising your blood pressure or causing heart palpitations, restlessness, dizziness, tremor, insomnia, shortness of breath, chest pain, and trouble doing activities you've been able to do.

Phentermine may make you drowsy, hampering your ability to drive or operate machinery. As with some other appetite suppressants, there's a risk of becoming dependent upon the drug.

Less serious side effects include dry mouth, unpleasant taste, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.

Don't take it late in the evening, as it may cause insomnia.

If you take insulin for diabetes, let your doctor know before you take phentermine, as you may need to adjust your insulin dose.

You should not take phentermine if you have a history of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, or uncontrolled high blood pressure. You also shouldn't take it if you have glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, or a history of drug abuse, or if you are pregnant or nursing.

What else you should know: Phentermine is an amphetamine. Because of the risk of addiction or abuse, such stimulant drugs are "controlled substances," which means they need a special type of prescription.

Qsymia

How it works: Curbs your appetite.

Qsymia combines phentermine with the seizure/migraine drug topiramate. Topiramate causes weight loss in several ways, including helping you feel full, making foods taste less appealing, and burning more calories.

Approved for long-term use? Yes. Qsymia has much lower amounts of phentermine and topiramate than when these drugs are given alone.

Side effects: The most common side effects are tingling hands and feet, dizziness, altered sense of taste, insomnia, constipation, and dry mouth.

Serious side effects include certain birth defects (cleft lip and cleft palate), faster heart rate, suicidal thoughts or actions, and eye problems that could lead to permanent vision loss if not treated.

Women who might become pregnant should get a pregnancy test before taking Qsymia, and should use birth control and get monthly pregnancy tests while on the drug.

You also shouldn't take Qsymia if you have glaucoma, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, or stroke. Get regular checks of your heart when starting the drug or increasing the dose.

What else you should know: If you don't lose 3% of your weight after 12 weeks on Qsymia, the FDA recommends that you stop taking it or that your doctor increase your dose for the next 12 weeks -- and if that doesn't work, you should gradually stop taking it.

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on March 23, 2014
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

measuring waist
4 tips for shedding yours.
apple cider vinegar
Does it have health benefits?
 
Chocolate truffle
For weight loss, some aren’t so bad after all.
woman holding red dress
24 simple, practical tips.
 
woman shopping fresh produce
Video
butter curl on knife
Quiz
 
eating out healthy
Article
Smiling woman, red hair
Article
 
thumbnail_woman_tossing_spinach
Video
lunchbox
Article
 
What Girls Need To Know About Eating Disorders
Article
teen squeezing into jeans
fitfor Teens
 

Special Sections