Apart from heart problems, phentermine psychological side effects are some of the most potentially-troublesome reactions. Phentermine and depression are an especially common and worrisome duo, so it is important to monitor yourself and loved ones for signs of hopelessness or suicidal tendencies.
In fact, even though low mood is generally considered a rare side effect of this medication, a recent poll indicates that approximately 1 in 6 users have experienced phentermine depression or anxiety during their weight loss journey .
Patients taking phentermine and topiramate together (e.g. Qsymia) are at an even higher risk for suicidal thoughts or actions .
Contact a doctor immediately if you or someone close to you experiences any of the following while taking phentermine weight loss pills:
Phentermine depression, like any other variation of depression, can range from mildly bothersome sadness to severe, debilitating depression.
While the exact cause is not known, help is available to combat phentermine psychological side effects. Therefore, it is important to be honest with yourself, your loved ones and your medical team about the presence and severity of emotional side effects during your weight loss journey.
Here are three potential explanations for phentermine depression:
Research indicates that prolonged stimulant exposure can cause depression in some patients due to the medication’s affect on critical neurotransmitters.
As a CNS stimulant, phentermine is thought to differentially affect the levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin (the catecholamines). Phentermine elevates these hormones and patients experience a boost in mood and energy – at least at first.
However, in some cases, prolonged exposure to high levels of dopamine can cause depression . If you are experiencing phentermine depression several weeks or months into treatment, this may at least partially explain your low mood.
Many phentermine users also report that this medication amplifies emotional reactions in all directions.
As a result, people who have experienced depression or other mental health problems in the past may be more susceptible to phentermine psychological side effects. This also helps explain why a history of agitated states is a listed contraindication for this medication .
That being said, patients with no history of mental health problems can also suffer from low mood and phentermine depression.
Lastly, depression while taking phentermine may be related to hormonal changes associated with major weight loss.
Dramatic fluctuations in hormones like estrogen can precipitate periods of low mood and anxiety. If you suspect hormonal changes as a contributing factor in your phentermine depression, speak with a doctor about possible solutions.
Qsymia is a popular weight loss pill that contains two active ingredients: phentermine hydrochloride and topiramate extended-release.
The chemicals work together to promote weight loss because phentermine acts as a powerful CNS stimulant to suppress appetite and boost energy, while topiramate (an antileptic drug) helps control cravings and make food less appealing. Increased risk of phentermine depression exists whether the patient takes Qsymia or generic phentermine plus topiramate.
The second ingredient,topiramate, has been linked with increased risk of depression and suicidal ideation.
In an analysis of almost 200 clinical trials, patients taking antiepileptic drugs like topiramate had approximately twice the risk of suicidal behavior or ideation as compared to patients taking a placebo (sugar pill).This side effect begins about one week after starting topiramate/Qsymia and persiststhroughout the course of treatment .
Depression is a documented side effect of this medication, so do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you are feeling unusually emotional or down.
That being said, if your low mood is more of a passing sadness that feels like something you can reasonably manage at home, consider these strategies to help combat mild phentermine mental side effects:
Talking to a friend or journaling can help you work through negative feelings.
Vocalizing your inner feelings can help put things in perspective and make you feel less alone. It also proves helpful to remember that phentermine may be amplifying your emotions and making things seem more overwhelming than usual.
If you do not have anyone to confide in in-person, the Phentermine.com support group on Facebook is a great way to connect with other phentermine users, who may be facing similar challenges. If you would prefer to keep your feelings private, journaling can be a great tool too.
It sounds cliché, but challenges often seem less overwhelming after a good night’s sleep.
Even scientific research shows that depression and insomnia are tightly linked. Higher rates of insomnia are observed among depressed patients, while patients with insomnia often report worse depressive symptoms as well .
If your sleeping patterns have changed or you are much more tired than usual, speak to your doctor – especially if you are also feeling down.
Exercise is a natural mood booster. During a good workout, the brain produces extra feel-good chemicals that promote that help increase happiness and reduce stress & anxiety .
While all types of workouts produce a positive effect, team sports, cycling and aerobic classes or going to the gym are correlated with the greatest reduction in poor mental health days .
Your diet contributes to mood more than you realize.
Many people reach for comfort foods like ice cream or fried foods when they feel low, but this emotional eating is detrimental to both physical and mental health.
Instead, stock-up on feel-good foods like bananas, Brazil nuts, oily fish, whole grains, lentils, yogurt, eggs, dark chocolate and spinach. These foods are rich in various vitamins and minerals that contribute to higher serotonin production and improvement in mood.
Give yourself permission to put your own health and wellbeing first, especially if you are struggling with low mood associated with phentermine and depression.
Indulge in non-food rewardssuch as a soothing massage, a few hours of “me time” or a new top. Stress and anxiety can also contribute to and worsen depression. Thankfully, simple changes such as taking up a relaxing hobby or listening to your favorite music can noticeably reduce stress.
Managing these negative emotions also supports weight loss since stress has an adverse effect on cortisol levels and hunger signals.
Whether it is phentermine side effect or a manifestation of something deeper, depression is often too big to manage alone.
If feelings of phentermine depression persist, worsen or interfere with your daily life, speak to your doctor right away.
He or she may try reducing your dosage or switching you to a different medication, but if the low mood remains it is prudent to seek professional mental health support.Your prescribing doctor may be able to offer advice, but you may also consider asking him or her for a referral to a psychologist.
Learn more about phentermine!
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4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2012). Adipex-P (phentermine hydrochloride) capsules label [Brochure].
6. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018, December 14). 7 great reasons why exercise matters.
7. Chekroud, S. R., Gueorguieva, R., Zheutlin, A. B., Paulus, M., Krumholz, H. M., Krystal, J. H., & Chekroud, A. M. (2018). Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: A cross-sectional study. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(9), 739-746. doi:10.1016/s2215-0366(18)30227-x