Phentermine for Lupus Fatigue: 3 Facts To Know | MyLupusTeam

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Phentermine for Lupus Fatigue: 3 Facts To Know

Posted on July 27, 2023

If you’re living with lupus and have both fatigue and weight gain, you might be prescribed phentermine. This stimulant reduces appetite to help people who have excess weight or obesity drop pounds, which can in turn boost energy levels. In addition, the stimulant effects of phentermine may give you a temporary lift.

Phentermine works by stimulating the body’s fight-or-flight response. After you take phentermine, your brain releases higher levels of the neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) dopamine and norepinephrine. This response suppresses hunger and raises metabolism. Phentermine is sold under brand names such as Adipex-P and Lomaira.

Unfortunately, phentermine also comes with side effects that can be hard to handle. One MyLupusTeam member shared, “I took Adipex many years ago, and yes, it did work. But the side effects were horrible and thus made it a deal-breaker for me. The side effects for me were insomnia, racing heart rate, and irritability.”

Before you talk with your doctor about phentermine for lupus fatigue, here are some facts to consider.

1. Phentermine Isn’t a Permanent Solution

Phentermine is meant to be used only for a maximum of 12 weeks. Depending on your body’s response, your doctor may extend the prescription. Ideally, people take phentermine, paired with a diet and exercise routine, for a set amount of time to lose weight. However, phentermine isn’t intended to be a treatment for fatigue, especially over the long term.

A member of MyLupusTeam explained, “Adipex is a short-term fix and caused my heart to race, and my potassium levels were high. Try a nutritionist and really work for long-term results. I find it harder but more healthy, and my symptoms are so much better.”

2. Phentermine Isn’t Right for Everyone

People with heart disease, glaucoma, or an overactive thyroid shouldn’t take phentermine. The medication also isn’t safe if you’re pregnant or might become pregnant or while breastfeeding. It can make you restless or nervous, so people who struggle with insomnia or anxiety may want to think twice before using it.

Nonetheless, some people benefit from taking phentermine under the care of a health care professional. “I’m currently on Adipex, and it has helped me lose weight. It’s great along with an active lifestyle and eating healthy,” said a MyLupusTeam member.

Although many people have confirmed the weight loss effects, there’s little evidence that phentermine addresses fatigue. Another member described taking phentermine along with B12 injections: “I have only been on the combo for three days, and I can really feel a difference in my appetite. (I am satisfied with smaller portions and really don’t crave snacks like I used to.) On the downside, neither the B12 nor the addition of phentermine has helped with the low energy or constant fatigue.”

3. Phentermine Requires Medical Supervision

Avoid over-the-counter diet pills or stimulants because these can cause dangerous drug interactions, unpleasant side effects such as diarrhea, and other health problems. Medical professionals should carefully assess your medical history, preexisting conditions, and potential drug interactions. Close monitoring is necessary to identify any adverse effects and ensure that the benefits of phentermine outweigh the risks in each case.

If your health care provider feels phentermine is a safe choice for you, you’ll still need to watch for potential adverse effects, like chest pain. It’s possible to develop issues such as high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat, even if you didn’t show signs before starting this medication.

Also, although the risk is low, phentermine has the potential for abuse. Be careful to keep this medication out of the reach of children, and never take more than your prescribed dose.

Dealing With Lupus Fatigue

While phentermine could be a helpful addition to a weight loss program, it may not be ideal for lupus fatigue. Exploring potential underlying issues like insomnia, anemia, fibromyalgia, or lupus medication side effects can help you get to the root of the problem. Rather than using a stimulant for energy, maximizing your sleep quality and stress management may be a better approach to preserving precious energy. Talk to your doctor for medical advice on how to address persistent tiredness.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyLupusTeam is the social network for people with lupus and their loved ones. On MyLupusTeam, more than 223,000 people with lupus come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories.

Have you tried any prescription or over-the-counter supplements for lupus fatigue? Did you experience any serious side effects of phentermine? Post your thoughts in the comments below, or start a conversation by sharing on your Activities page.

Posted on July 27, 2023
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Jazmin N. McSwain, PharmD, BCPS completed pharmacy school at the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy and residency training at Bay Pines Veterans Affairs. Learn more about her here.
Anastasia Climan, RDN, CDN is a dietitian with over 10 years of experience in public health and medical writing. Learn more about her here.

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