While phentermine's true nature remains
the subject of discipline, little disagreement exists about the
so-called better half of phen fen, fenfluramine. The medication, used in
various forms including the FDA-approved Redux (dexfenfluramine), helps
people lose weight by reducing their craving for carbohydrates. But it
also poses significant health risks. Pulmonary hypertension, has proven
fatal for several phen-fen users.
Fenfluramine can also cause memory loss as
well as brain damage. It can destroy the brain cells that produce
serotonin, the "feel-good" neurotransmitter that, among other things,
signals your body when you've eaten enough. Amphetamines are addictive,
because of their effect on dopamine. Dopamine makes us feel good. Like
amphetamines, phentermine enhances levels of dopamine and another
neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Phentamine also has the potential for
Is phen fen worth the risks? When people
stop taking phen fen, they usually regain their lose weight rapidly.
This is typical in cases of drug-induced weight loss. But even those who
continued to use phen-fen experienced a return to hunger, and eventually
regained their weight.
Concerned that some doctors misuse phen
fen by giving it to people who aren't fat enough. People are beginning
to take phen fen for far longer than the few weeks the manufacturers
recommend for either drug alone. For people who are 10-25 pounds
overweight, phen fen route isn't worth it. The risks will outweigh the
rewards. Yet for those prone to obesity and who are 50-plus pounds
overweight - and don't have any other serious medical problems - their
obesity poses greater health risks than those of phen fen.
From one bodybuilding perspective, drugs
that increase metabolism and cut appetite sound ideal. From another
viewpoint, the phen fen route sounds like the easy way out. What
happened to healthy exercise, healthy diet and character building self
discipline? Fitness and bodybuilding proponents still adhere to this
ideal, and many people make it work for weight control.
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