With more than 4 million prescriptions written in the United States each year, phentermine is an undeniably popular weight loss medication . Still, many people are unsure about how to get phentermine.
This medication is prescription-only, so the first step is to obtain a phentermine prescription. Below we explain why you need a prescription for phentermine, who can take it and how to get your doctor to prescribe phentermine.
Yes, you need a prescription for phentermine.
Phentermine hydrochloride (phentermine HCL) - the active ingredient in phentermine weight loss pills - is a class IV controlled substance. It has received this classification because of its serious potential side effects and moderate addition potential.
In general, phentermine is appropriate for overweight and obese patients who have already tried losing weight with diet and exercise. More specifically, this medication is intended for people who have a body mass index (BMI):
Weight-related conditions that may qualify a patient for phentermine include type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia) and controlled high blood pressure (hypertension) .
However, phentermine is not appropriate or safe for everyone. This medication is contraindicated for patients with current or past: cardiovascular disease (heart problems), hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, agitated states, drug/alcohol abuse or reactions to sympathomimetic amines.
It also has many potential drug interactions (e.g. with MAOIs), so the prescribing doctor and pharmacist know about ALL other medications and supplements taken within the last two weeks.
Phentermine is pregnancy category X, so it should never be taken while pregnant or nursing .
Read more here: Phentermine Precautions
You now know that you can only take phentermine with a prescription, and have an general idea about whether or not you are eligible to take it, so the next piece of information you need is how to get a prescription for phentermine.
Start by scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss weight. He or she may choose to prescribe the medication him/herself if you are an appropriate candidate, or he/she may want to refer you to a specialist for further evaluation or follow-up.
Below are the results of a recent Phentermine.com poll about where current phentermine patients received their phentermine prescription :
Most people get their phentermine from a family or primary care doctor . A doctor that sees you regularly is in a unique position to assess the pros and cons of a phentermine prescription for you because he or she is familiar with your medical history, as well as other medications, allergies and weight trends over time.
Still, due to the prescribing guidelines of this medication, your doctor may want to review weight loss goals and previous attempts to lose weight before prescribing phentermine.
He or she will also evaluate:
While any doctor can prescribe phentermine, not all doctors feel comfortable doing so. If you are a good candidate for the medication but your doctor does not prescribe phentermine, ask about a referral.
If your primary care physician thinks you are a good candidate for phentermine but does not want to (or cannot) prescribe it, he or she may refer you to a specialist.
Bariatric doctors, for example, are doctors that specialize in weight management. A weight loss doctor will be more familiar with the benefits of phentermine for weight loss and, in many cases, more likely prescribe it.
Some people also receive a phentermine prescription from their gynecologist (OB-GYN). If obesity is impacting your fertility or reproductive health, or if you have a condition that affects weight (such as PCOS), a gynecologist may also consider prescribing this short-term weight loss medication.
A weight loss clinic may be the best place to go for a phentermine prescription if you:
These clinics specifically specialize in weight loss and often employ bariatric specialists or health professionals who have additional training in obesity management. As a result, doctors at weight loss clinics are often more open to the idea of prescribing phentermine.
However, weight loss clinics are far from the perfect solution.
Many people have to drive considerable distances to reach their nearest weight loss clinic and the doctors are not familiar with patients' overall health status, instead relying solely on self-reported information. Both of these circumstances serve as barriers to optimal medical care. Some weight loss clinics also insist that patients take additional supplements, such as vitamin B12 shots and 5-HTP, to boost phentermine.
Between the consultation, labs, prescription and supplements (if applicable), weight loss clinics can be an expensive option. Before you schedule your first appointment, do some research to find out how much the whole process costs.
Read more here: How much does phentermine cost?
The final option is online doctors who prescribe phentermine. They are usually real doctors who prescribe real phentermine without the now-mandatory face-to-face consultation.
Despite the initial draw of saving time and money by completing your consultation online and receiving the pills in the mail, these online phentermine doctors are not always safe. They cannot complete the necessary physical evaluation (or follow-up) to make sure these weight loss pills will not cause undue harm.
More, these sites also operate pharmacies that are not VIPPS-accredited, so you may also be putting your personal information and or money at-risk .
It is both dangerous and potentially illegal to use an online phentermine doctor. Instead, wait until you can go to a local doctor or consider other, over-the-counter weight loss options.
1. LiverTox - National Institutes of Health. (2019, May 03). Phentermine.
2. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (1981, February 4). CND Dec.5(XXIX): Inclusion of phentermine in Schedule IV annexed to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. In 899th Meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
3. United States of America, Drug Enforcement Administration, Federal Register. (2009, April 06). Implementation of the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008.
4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2012). Adipex-P (phentermine hydrochloride) capsules label [Brochure].
6. National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. (2019). VIPPS-Accredited Pharmacies List.