Diethylpropion: Effective with Few Side Effects
Diethylpropion is an appetite suppressant also known as amfepramone. Its brand name is Tenuate. Clinicians have observed successful weight loss in patients taking diethylpropion. This is similar to the effects of other anorectic-type drugs such as phentermine (Adipex, Lomaira) and phendimetrazine (Bontril).
Diethylpropion also has a similar adverse-effect and weight loss profile to phentermine. However, for some reason doctors prescribe it much less frequently. According to industry reports, there were only 1 million prescriptions dispensed between 2008 and 2011. This is surprising to me because I have found diethylproprion to be a very useful drug for patients. Additionally, I have found it to have the fewest side effects of all weight loss drugs.
The fact that it is short acting (about 5 hours) permits individualization of the drug. For example, patients can take a full dose at 10 AM and again at 5 PM. This controls appetite over a 12-hour span. This is especially helpful in the evening when many people need not only appetite suppression but also control of their cravings. Common dosages include 25mg tablets and 75mg extended release tablets.
How Does Diethylproprion Work?
Diethylproprion is a stimulant drug that increases the amount of norepinephrine in the nervous system. That acts on the appetite center of the brain in the hypothalamus to reduce appetite. It also very slightly increases dopamine and serotonin. It has very similar chemical structure to bupropion (marketed as Wellbutrin and Zyban). Healthcare professionals can prescribe bupropion to diminish compulsive behaviors.
Is Diethylproprion Safe and Effective?
A meta-analysis of nine small studies ranging from 6–52 weeks found that patients taking 75mg of diethylpropion per day had a mean additional weight loss relative to placebo of 3.0 kg, with a mean total weight loss of 6.5 kg.
The few side effects noted in clinical trials and throughout years of patient usage are dizziness, dry mouth, difficulty sleeping, irritability, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
Diethylpropion is not for everyone. First, do not take diethylpropion if you are allergic to it or to any other sympathomimetic amines such as phentermine. Second, you should not take this medication if you have glaucoma, uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart problems, kidney disease, mood or personality disorders, overactive thyroid, or a history of seizures or stroke. Additionally, do not take diethylpropion if you are taking MAO inhibitors or for 14 days after discontinuing treatment with MAO inhibitors. Most importantly, do not take this medication if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.
Each individual needs to discuss the use of these medications with their personal physician to see which medications will be safe and effective.