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Phentermine only approved for 3 months because, at the time, obesity thought to due to bad habits
Thursday, April 23, 2009 8:23 am Email this article
Diet Drugs approved prior to 1985, such as phentermine, were approved for use up to 3 months on the basis that obesity was caused by bad habits, and that bad habits could be changed in 3 months notes a paper by Doctors Ed Hendricks, Richard Rothman and Frank Greenway.
My interpretation of the reason why the FDA only approved these drugs for 3 months is slightly different.
I’ve written two books on diet pills, and read the medical research going back to the 1950’s.
Appetite suppressants like phentermine dramatically suppress appetite for the first 6 weeks, then appetite returns more to normal after that.
Weight loss with appetite suppressants like phentermine also tends to occur mostly during the first 3 months, then tends to level off.
This was especially true back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s because diet drug studies would simply give people these drugs without putting them on a calorie-restricted diet.
It was my impression that because of this—the belief that these drugs only worked for a matter of weeks, and that weight loss only occurred during the first few months and then leveled off after that—this is why the FDA only approved these drugs for 3 months of use.
The FDA simply thought that there was no reason to take them longer than this.
At times, such as in 1997 when doctors discovered that fenfluramine and dexfenfuramine caused heart valve damage, the FDA has tried to rewrite history and claim the reason these drugs were only approved for 3 months was because they were concerned about safety.
This is not true.
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