Phentermine (Adipex-P, Pro-Fast) is the most common weight loss remedy prescribed by health providers in the U.S. to help their patients lose weight. It’s primarily used among the obese or who have medical issues related to being overweight.
Phentermine is in a class of drugs known as sympathomimetic amines.
When a patient takes phentermine, the drug will initiate the release of three hormones in the body: adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. This action suppresses a person’s appetite, and as a result, they tend to eat less. It may also cause a boost in energy and increase activity levels.
Phentermine is classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) as a schedule IV controlled substance and is intended for short-term use. It’s usually only prescribed for people with a BMI (body mass index) of above 30, indicating obesity.
Side effects of phentermine may include the following:
- Decreased sex drive
- Problems with bowel movements
- Dry mouth
- Erectile dysfunction
- Skin redness and hives
- Insomnia/sleep disturbances
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Heart palpitations
More severe side effects can include dizziness, fainting, chest pain, increased heart rate, headache, numbness or tingling in the extremities, and breathing issues.
Phentermine and Alcohol Abuse
Even without taking it with alcohol, those who have been prescribed phentermine can misuse or become addicted. It is a stimulant drug that can be used to induce a high, especially when taken in excessive doses.
If an individual takes phentermine more often or longer than directed by a physician, he or she can become dependent or develop full-blown addiction. They will then experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit or cut back on use.
Potentially severe withdrawal symptoms may include the following:
- High blood pressure
- Loss of memory
- Heart failure
- Cardiac arrest
- Nerve damage
Combining Alcohol and Phentermine
Patients are usually advised against using alcohol and phentermine in combination with one another. The side effects of using alcohol and phentermine are likely to be more severe than those associated with either substance used on its own. For example, phentermine side effects include dry mouth, nausea, sleep disturbances, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. All of these can be exacerbated when the two substances are used in conjunction.
Moreover, because alcohol is known to aggravate the stomach, gastrointestinal issues are common amongst those who drink while using phentermine. This action can lead to nausea, vomiting, stomach aches and pains, and heartburn.
The makers of phentermine (KVK Tech) caution that if a person drinks alcohol and uses phentermine, he or she may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular side effects, including chest pains and high blood pressure. Also, consuming even only a small amount of alcohol can raise the risk of heart attack or stroke in those who are obese or have heart disease and are currently taking phentermine.
Combining the use of alcohol and phentermine also increases the risk of an addiction developing. Both substances have the potential to be addictive on their own, and, if used together, may be more likely to lead to problematic abuse and dependence.
It’s important to realize that phentermine and alcohol have two competing effects on the brain and body. Phentermine is a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant, while alcohol is a CNS depressant. Therefore, when an individual mixes alcohol and phentermine, the medication may not be as safe and effective as it would have been otherwise.
In fact, there are many ways in which alcohol can compromise weight loss efforts. For one, many alcoholic beverages, though not all, contain a large amount of sugar, as well as mostly empty calories. Also, it tends to make people tired, lethargic, and less likely to be physically active. These effects occur both while drinking and the day after if the person has a hangover.
Also, because alcohol adversely affects the liver, it may make it harder for the body to burn fat. Finally, alcohol decreases inhibitions and has become notorious for causing the “drunk munchies,” and a person who is drinking may be more vulnerable to making poor dietary food choices.
In summary, it is best for a person taking phentermine for weight loss to stop drinking alcohol to negate these risks and prevent other, more severe complications from occurring.
Treatment for Alcoholism
If you have been prescribed phentermine and feel that you are unable to quit drinking alcohol on your own, you should strongly consider seeking professional help. Just Believe Recovery offers integrated, evidence-based services, in both partial hospitalization and residential formats, and activities intended to treat alcohol and drug addiction. Our programs feature therapeutic resources vital for recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, substance abuse education, group therapy, art and music therapy, aftercare planning, and more.
If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol abuse and is ready to begin a new life, contact us today! We are dedicated to helping people who are suffering free themselves from the chains of addiction for life!