February 1, 2009 -- Question: What is Adipex (phentermine), how does it work, and how effective is it in reducing weight?
Answer: Adipex is one brand name for a product containing the generic drug phentermine, which has been around for quite a few years. This is a product available by prescription. It's a weight control aid and it may be appropriate for certain people to use in conjunction with a healthy diet and a regular exercise plan to boost their weight loss efforts.
It tends to be modestly effective. Even when it works, people will tend to realize perhaps 3-5 pounds more weight loss using the medication than not using the medication. And they may have a little better success keeping the weight off longer term.
Basically, it works by boosting the level of chemical signaling to the appetite center of the brain so that people are better able to manage their appetite. They're more readily satisfied with a somewhat smaller quantity of food than they might be if they weren't taking the medication.
But it's approved only for short-term use. It is only going to be prescribed by a physician for people who are good candidates for the medication. Not everybody can take this safely.