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What is Phentermine Used For?

Phentermine is one of the world’s most prevalent prescription weight loss medications. It has been proven effective for short-term weight loss when used alongside exercise and a reduced-calorie diet [1]. However, using phentermine for weight loss is not without side effects and risks. Because taking phentermine comes with a risk of dependence, it is considered a class IV controlled substance. It’s chemically similar to the stimulant amphetamine, a controlled substance. This begs the question, “can you smoke phentermine?” Learn more by reading this article.

Phentermine is used together with exercise and diet to treat obesity. Phentermine goes by the brand names Adipex-P, Lomaira, and Suprenza. Do not use this prescription drug if you are pregnant or breastfeeding a baby. You should not use phentermine if you have an overactive thyroid, glaucoma, severe heart problems, uncontrolled high blood pressure, extreme agitation, advanced coronary artery disease, or a history of drug abuse.

Phentermine belongs to a class of medications called anorectics, also known as appetite suppressants. Taking this drug helps suppress your appetite, thereby limiting how many calories you eat. Over time, this can lead to weight loss. While the exact way phentermine reduces appetite remains unclear, the drug is thought to act by increasing neurotransmitter levels in your brain. Neurotransmitters — the chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine — are your body’s chemical messengers. When your levels of these neurotransmitters increase, your feeling of hunger decreases, however, you may build a tolerance to the appetite-suppressing effects of the drug within a few weeks.

Can You Smoke Phentermine
Like other prescription weight-loss drugs, phentermine is intended to be used as part of an overall weight-loss plan. 

Long Term Phentermine Use

For many individuals taking phentermine, the initial effects can be pretty aggressive, including feeling ‘wired’ and unable to sleep, with little to no appetite, and a variety of side effects, such as dry mouth, depression, anxiety, nausea, and mood swings. Over time these side effects reduce, but so do the effects of appetite suppression and energy-boosting. This is because the sustained use of many drugs causes adaptation within the body that tends to lessen the drug’s original effects over time, known as drug tolerance.

It is important to remember that long-term use of phentermine is not recommended and that phentermine has always been intended for short-term use only. This is because how phentermine affects your heart and can cause serious side effects. Plus it can be addictive and becomes less effective over time as your body becomes accustomed to its effects.

Phentermine gets a bad reputation because it was part of the popular weight-loss pill combo known years ago as Fen-Phen. The fenfluramine part was pulled from the market in 1997 after it was linked to potentially fatal heart valve problems. Phentermine, by itself, may be safe for short-term use.

can you smoke phentermine

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Phentermine Use and Risks

Phentermine may help you lose weight but not without risk. One well-known option is the weight-loss pill phentermine, but is it safe? When used as prescribed by your doctor, phentermine helps with weight loss, but when it is taken in too high doses or given to the wrong person, it can be dangerous for the kidneys and heart.

Can You Smoke Phentermine
Phentermine is similar to amphetamine and acts by releasing a chemical called noradrenaline in the brain.

Doctors may consider medications for weight loss, such as phentermine if the body mass index (BMI) is 30 or more, which is regarded as obesity. (BMI is a measure of weight to height.) If you have a BMI of 27 or more and other weight-related health concerns such as type 2 diabetes, you may also be a candidate for phentermine, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Phentermine (combined with fenfluramine known as Fen-Pen) comes with some heart-related risks, including atrial fibrillation and heart palpitations, which is why the common course of treatment is capped at a period of three to 12 weeks. The possibility of an association between valvular heart disease and phentermine alone cannot be ruled out; there have been rare cases of valvular heart disease in patients who reportedly have taken phentermine alone.

Phentermine should not be used with selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor antidepressants /SSRI/ (e.g., fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline) or MAO inhibitors since severe adverse reactions may occur. Limiting the overall direction of treatment reduces the risk of negative side effects and prevents the buildup of tolerance in the body.

Can You Smoke Phentermine? Risks of Smoking Phentermine

Aside from snorting, smoking is another common way to introduce drugs into your body, and it may be used in the recreational use of phentermine. Smoking is rarely used to introduce a prescription drug when treating patients. That may be because it comes with some inherent risks. Though, some medications may be inhaled, like asthma medication. However, inhaled vaporized medication is different from inhaled burned substances. Again, the difference is water. Vaporized medications are inhaled in the form of tiny water droplets that contain active ingredients. Smoke from a burned substance like phentermine or even inert substances is different.

Smoke can irritate your throat, mouth, and lungs. It may dry out these areas and cause inflammation, coughing, shortness of breath, and a sore throat. Of course, active drugs like phentermine may be even more dangerous than inert substances. Long-term smoking can cause lung damage, which hinders lung function and leads to severe problems. Some substances may contribute to throat, lung, and mouth cancer.

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What Is the Impact on the Brain?

The rapid delivery of the medication into the brain increases the risk of such use becoming habit-forming. Addiction begins to develop in the brain when it perceives a pleasurable reward in reaction to a substance. It then reinforces the reward response by creating a craving for that substance.

Phentermine typically has a low abuse rate, and it does not usually induce cravings or withdrawal symptoms in patients who take the medication as prescribed. When phentermine is abused, the potential for the medication to become habit-forming and trigger the brain’s craving response is escalated.

When rapid delivery methods, such as snorting or smoking the medication, produce their quick reward to the brain, the risks increase that the brain will develop an addictive response to the substance.

When a medication reaches the brain quickly and produces that rapid reward response, the substance will also leave the brain more quickly, causing a more severe drop in the pleasurable effect of the substance. This rapid rise and fall of the reward response in the brain are the components that increase the risk of addictive patterns.

These rapid delivery methods increase the chance that the side effects of the drug will be experienced and that they will be more intense than normal.

The side effects of phentermine include the following:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth

A heart attack is the most dangerous risk associated with snorting or smoking phentermine. Concerns about phentermine’s effects on the heart are why the medication is only recommended for short courses of treatment—taking the drug in any manner other than intended increases the risk of this significant adverse reaction.

Can You Become Addicted to Phentermine?

Considering the prevalence of weight loss promises in America, it’s no surprise that Diet Pills are common and available in multiple forms. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, each Diet Pill has its risks and concerns. It is important to remember that just because something is available freely at the drugstore, or prescribed by a doctor, does not necessarily mean it is safe — primarily when used outside of the recommended dose or method.

The structure and pharmacological effects of phentermine are similar to those of amphetamine. Consequently, phentermine can be physically and psychologically addictive. Therefore, people with a history of drug dependence should avoid using the drug.

Long-term use can cause phentermine addiction and physical dependence. That is why Phentermine is allowed only for short-term use. SmithKline Beecham’s brand of phentermine, Fastin, was removed from the market in 1996. A compound of Phentermine and fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine was removed from the market because the drug dramatically increased the risk of heart valve disease.

can you smoke phentermine
Phentermine has a number of stimulant-related side effects like headaches, dizziness, tingling in your hands and feet, and heart palpitations.

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Risks of Smoking Phentermine

Aside from snorting, smoking is another common way to introduce drugs into your body, and it may be used in the recreational use of phentermine. Smoking is rarely used as a way to introduce a prescription drug when treating patients. That may be because it comes with some inherent risks. Though, some medications may be inhaled, like asthma medication. However, inhaled vaporized medication is different from inhaling burned substances. Again, the difference is water. Vaporized medications are inhaled in the form of small water droplets that contain active ingredients. Smoke from a burned substance like phentermine or even inert substances is different.

Smoke can irritate your throat, mouth, and lungs. It may dry out these areas and cause inflammation, coughing, shortness of breath, and a sore throat. Of course, active drugs like phentermine may be even more dangerous than inert substances. Long-term smoking can cause lung damage, which hinders lung function and leads to serious problems. Some substances may contribute to throat, lung, and mouth cancer.

Phentermine and Alcohol

There are several risks linked to mixing phentermine and alcohol. Besides worsening already-existing side effects, combining the substances can cause gastrointestinal (related to the intestines and stomach), cardiovascular, and central nervous system (related to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves) problems. In general, you need to wait 12 hours between alcohol consumption and taking phentermine because the effect of phentermine lasts that long. Mixing phentermine and alcohol is like multiplying the adverse side effects of phentermine.

Phentermine Addiction

Many individuals believe that phentermine is addictive. In 2010, Princeton University surveyed over 10,000 individuals and found no indication of phentermine addiction. However, because it is a stimulant that releases dopamine (the feel-good hormone), some people may develop a craving for it after they stop using it. There is little chance of phentermine addiction if you follow the prescribed technique (30-day course with a 10-day break). That’s why there’s a ten-day gap. It gives the body time to adjust to the higher hormone levels.

Smoking phentermine can pose mild to severe health risks in the short-term and over time, including an increased risk of phentermine addiction. Smoking phentermine may cause various physical, cognitive, and psychological effects. Stimulants are drugs like phentermine that increase the activity of the central nervous system, composed of the brain and spinal cord. Smoking a stimulant drug can cause various effects on the mind and body, including increased energy.

Smoking phentermine is one of the fastest ways to feel its effects. This is because this use route can cause drugs to reach the brain more quickly than, for instance, swallowing drugs. Abusing medications by injection or insufflation (snorting) can also cause immediate effects. Smoking phentermine can cause the active ingredients to reach the brain quickly. This can alter the balance of certain chemicals in your brain known as neurotransmitters, affecting mood, perception, physical movement, and psychological processes associated with phentermine addiction.

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Phentermine Addiction

can you smoke phentermine
Behavioral and individual therapies can be effective for treating Phentermine addiction.

An addiction to Diet Pills like Phentermine is often caused by an eating disorder or other underlying mental health disorder. This begs the question, “can you smoke phenetermine?” Based on the above article, yes, but not without risk. Becoming dependent on phentermine is not uncommon, as it can provide a false sense of control in a life that seems out of control. Because Diet Pills are readily available over the counter or by prescription, an addiction can develop quickly and quietly.

If someone is aware that their diet pill use is interfering with their health, relationships, and personal life but can’t quit on their own, they may need professional help to target the root cause of their issue and find treatment. To determine the most effective ways to treat Phentermine addiction, it’s crucial first to get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. 

When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

Medically-Assisted Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated withdrawal process, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.

Psychotherapy for Depression and Anxiety

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main purpose of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
  • Solution Focused Therapy – is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Substance abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your Phentermine addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Overcoming Phentermine addiction starts with identifying the underlying reason for abusing them. If you or a loved one are struggling with long-term diet pills addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition such as anxiety and depression, contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

can you smoke phentermine
As with other amphetamine drugs, appetite suppressants are highly addictive and tolerance builds fast.

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Sources:

[1] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6361044/
[2] Mixing Prescription Drugs with Alcohol – We Level Up NJ