Medication Information

Phentermine (brand names Adipex, Ionamin, and Fastin) is the medication we use most frequently. It is an appetite suppressant, and it is in the stimulant class, so it helps in two ways: it reduces appetite, making it easier to follow a diet; and it gives an energy boost, which helps with an exercise program.

Phentermine has been used for weight loss for more than 40 years by millions of people. The main side effect is insomnia, because of the stimulant effect, but this usually wanes and doesn’t cause trouble for most of our patients after a week or less of use. We can prescribe a sleep aid for those who continue to have trouble. Other fairly common (5% or less) side effects include dry mouth, constipation, and tension headache. About 95% of our patients who use phentermine like it and do well on it. The average patient loses 4-8 lbs. per month; however, about 10% of our patients lose 10 lbs. a month or more.

Xenical (orlistat) is not an appetite suppressant: it is a fat blocker. It is not like over-the-counter fat blockers. It actually inhibits the enzyme in the intestinal wall that absorbs fat from the food you’ve eaten. Patients will not absorb about a third of the fat in their diet while on Xenical. Because it has a different mechanism of action, Xenical can be taken along with phentermine. However, it is expensive, and it causes more modest weight loss than phenteremine.

Viatmin B-12 injections are available for a very reasonable price. B-12 is necessary for carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and some people have trouble absorbing B-12 in their diet, but they can absorb it from an injection site. Many of our patients feel like they get an energy boost from their B-12 shots.

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