Dr. Tom Colleti, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA
The global pandemic of overweight and obese individuals affects 1.9 billion of the world’s population. Obesity is a complex, chronic, and relapsing disease linked to comorbidities and disability. Although behavioral modification is vital to treating obesity, achieving a healthy weight or maintaining long-term weight loss is often difficult.
Medical practitioners play an integral role in diagnosing, counseling, and treating patients with obesity to achieve overall improved health outcomes. Oftentimes, lifestyle modification alone may be ineffective. There is sufficient evidence supporting the use of adjunct pharmacotherapy in the treatment of obese patients. Studies reveal that losing weight between 5-10% translates into health benefits.
Phentermine is a low-cost pharmacologic agent most frequently prescribed for treating obesity by medical practitioners for the past several decades. Although it is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the short-term use of 12 weeks, there is ample deliberation regarding its safety and efficacy when used off-label beyond 12 weeks for long-term treatment of obesity. Currently, there are no precise guidelines on the continuation of treatment beyond the recommended labeling. This review will evaluate phentermine as a pharmacological agent used to treat obesity and explore its long-term safety and efficacy based on relevant studies.
NGUYEN T. Long-Term Safety and Efficacy of Phentermine for the Treatment of Obesity. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2022; 4(4).
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