The FDA just rejected the prescription weight loss drug, Qnexa, because of its potential for adverse cardiovascular effects. While weight loss drugs are fraught with health risks, in regards to Qnexa, the finger points to the drug’s main ingredient, phentermine.
Phentermine is a kind of amphetamine that stimulates the nervous system, and increases heart rate and blood pressure. It is often used in diet pills because it suppresses appetite. Brand names of phentermine are Adipex-P, Obenix, Oby-Trim.
You might remember a weight loss drug called Fen-Phen. This dangerous diet pill was yanked from the market by the FDA in 1997 because of its association with serious cardiovascular problems. Phentermine was the “Phen” in Fen-Phen. Along with fenfluramine (“Fen”), the duo of ingredients was linked to heart and pulmonary emergencies, many of which resulted in death.
The risks associated with phentermine are numerous. Those who also take monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or a certain kind of antidepressant known as tricyclic antidepressants, should not take it because of the drug’s effects on the cardiovascular system. When phentermine is taken alone, it may produce side effects like nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, heart palpitations, diarrhea, and constipation.
Phentermine is also addictive. And, for people who are trying to end their addiction to food, the last thing they need is another addiction to contend with.