The Facts About Phentermine and Weight Loss

By Jacquelyn Buffo, MS, LPC, CAADC

April 21, 2023

Phentermine Weight Loss

It is common to overhear someone talking about wanting to lose weight. Weight loss has been a major focus in America for many years. As a society, we are constantly bombarded with the latest weight loss trends, pills, powders, and diets, all claiming to help us lose weight and keep it off. Several interventions can help you lose weight, and the interventions that are effective for you are based on individual factors such as hereditary characteristics, lifestyle habits, and body chemistry.

Weight loss in America

You probably know someone who is trying to lose weight and get in shape. Perhaps it’s a co-worker, a best friend, or even a family member. In 2016, almost half of the adults in the United States (49.1%) tried to lose weight. It is probably not surprising to you to learn that usually, more women are trying to lose weight than men. This is supported by the fact that 56.4% of women and 41.7% of men reported an attempt to lose weight in 2016.

From 2013-2016, studies show that:

  • There is a correlation between an increase in family income level and attempts to lose weight.
  • Among all income levels, a greater percentage of women attempted to lose weight than men.
  • 7% of adults who are obese, 49% of overweight adults, and 26.5% of normal or under-weight adults tried to lose weight.
  • There was a higher percentage of young adults (aged 20-39 years old) and middle-aged adults (40-59) who tried to lose weight than elderly adults (60 years and older).
  • The percentage of adults who tried to lose weight increased with the weight status category.
  • 9% of those who tried to lose weight tried to lose it through exercise.
  • 9% of people studied tried to lose weight by changing their eating habits, such as eating less food than normal.
  • 4% ate more vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and salads to try to lose weight.
  • 2% ate less fast food and junk food to try to lose weight.
  • 7% drank more water.

Benefits of weight loss

There is no denying the benefits of weight loss on your physical, mental, and emotional wellness. While it is challenging to lose weight, even a small amount of weight loss can lead to big outcomes. Losing 5%-10% of your body weight can lead to significant health benefits such as improvement in blood sugar levels, lowered cholesterol, and a decrease in blood pressure.

When you are at a healthy weight:

  • Your fluid levels are easily managed.
  • You are better able to circulate blood throughout your body.
  • Your self-esteem improves, you have more energy, and you are more motivated to make additional lifestyle changes that improve your health.
  • You are less likely to develop various diseases such as diabetes, certain cancers, gallstones, heart disease, osteoarthritis, sleep problems, and breathing difficulties.

Many strategies and interventions can help you lose weight. One common and highly recommended strategy is exercise. Along with the physical benefits listed above, physical activity can also help improve your mental health by reducing anxiety and depression symptoms and increasing your self-esteem.

Strategies to help you lose weight

Losing weight is challenging, and it takes time. We live in a society that reinforces instant gratification. We can purchase our groceries with the click of a button and receive them within the hour, we can log in to work right after we crawl out of bed, and we can be entertained on social media the second we pick up our phones. Delayed gratification and having to wait for things to happen feel uncomfortable. However, healthily losing weight takes time, and it is a process. Studies have consistently demonstrated that people who lose weight gradually over time (1-2 pounds per week) are more likely to maintain their weight loss over an extended period versus those who lose weight rapidly.

To lose weight, you must experience a caloric deficit. That is, you must burn more calories than you consume. Therefore, physical activity is one surefire way to help you lose weight. When you engage in physical activity, you use energy to burn off calories. Physical exercise has a plethora of benefits, including:

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of falling
  • Decreased risk of developing osteoporosis
  • A reduction in arthritis and physical pain
  • A reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression symptoms
  • A reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain types of cancers, and heart attack

Additionally, regular physical exercise is essential for maintaining weight loss after you have achieved your weight loss goals. How much exercise you need is dependent on factors unique to you, including your age and lifestyle. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your level of physical activity and what would be appropriate for you.

Watching what you eat and making a point to eat more fruits, vegetables, and lean protein is important in achieving weight loss.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a healthy diet that supports weight loss and maintenance is comprised of:

  • Low-fat or fat-free milk and dairy products
  • Wide variety of vegetables and fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Variety of protein sources, including eggs, fish, lean meats, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, and poultry
  • Low amount of additional sodium and sugars
  • Food intake within your caloric needs

Lifestyle factors such as stress levels and medications can influence your weight. Certain medications, such as antidepressants, can contribute to weight loss or weight gain. Furthermore, certain medications can aid in your weight loss efforts by speeding up your metabolism and/or decreasing your appetite. One such medication is called phentermine.

What is phentermine?

Phentermine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is used to treat obesity in both children and adults. Phentermine is taken orally via a capsule. It helps reduce your appetite, helps keep you feeling fuller longer, and it is in a classification of drugs known as anorectics. It is intended for children 12 years of age and older who have a body mass index (BMI) of 95% or higher based on their age and gender. It is also intended for adults who are diagnosed as obese and who are experiencing medical complications as a result of their weight.

Phentermine isn’t a magic pill. To achieve optimum benefits, phentermine must be taken along with physical exercise and a healthy diet. Phentermine is only available through a prescription from a medical professional. Your doctor will determine if phentermine is appropriate for you and, if so, what dosage to start you in. As with most medications, phentermine has possible side effects.

Potential side effects of phentermine include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle tension or tightening
  • Unusual thirst and dry mouth
  • Difficulty focusing, speaking, and concentrating
  • Burning, numbness, or tingling of the hands, feet, face, and mouth
  • Inability to feel physical touch or sensations
  • Heartburn
  • Gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, nausea, and diarrhea
  • Excessive fatigue
  • A decrease in your ability to taste food
  • Pain when you urinate or difficulty urinating
  • Painful menstrual cycle symptoms
  • Pain in the neck, back, legs, or arms

Serious side effects can occur, including:

  • Shallow or fast breathing
  • Blurred vision or a sudden decrease in vision
  • Hives
  • Blood in your urine
  • Eye redness or eye pain
  • Pounding or racing heartbeat that lasts many minutes long
  • Fever, rash, or blisters
  • Severe pain on the side of your body or in your back

If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately.

Ways to save on phentermine

If you are trying to lose weight and you think phentermine may be right for you, talk to your doctor. Together you and your doctor will determine if phentermine is appropriate for you and your medical needs. It is important to reiterate that phentermine is just one intervention for losing weight, and it needs to be combined with the interventions mentioned above to achieve optimum results. If you are taking phentermine or any other prescription medications, ScriptSave WellRx can help save you money on the cost of your prescriptions. Most people who use the free discount savings card will save 65% on their medications. However, some people save up to 80%. The prescription savings card can be used at a pharmacy near you.

Jacquelyn B. began writing at the age of 10 when she won a county-wide essay contest explaining why her mother is worth her weight in gold. Since that time, she has written for several newspapers and a health and wellness blog. Her education and experience is in mental health and addiction. She is a licensed counselor and currently provides therapeutic services on an outpatient basis. Her counseling and substance abuse experience includes inpatient residential, in-home, and early recovery counseling. She is a certified addiction specialist and is working on obtaining her certification in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She also specializes in working with pregnant and post-partum women and has received advanced training on women's health.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Attempts to lose weight among adults in the United States, 2013-2016.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Losing weight.
  3. American Heart Association. (2017). Keeping a healthy body weight.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Physical activity for a healthy weight.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023). Healthy eating for a healthy weight.
  6. National Library of Medicine. (2023). Phentermine.
  7. National Library of Medicine. (2022). Phentermine and topiramate.
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