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Weight Loss & Amphetamines

By Erika Henritz ; Updated July 18, 2017

Several disorders can point to the need for prescription amphetamines, including Adderall. Some of those disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a condition in which a patient has difficulty focusing and concentrating, and narcolepsy, a condition in which a patient has a difficult time staying awake during normal daily activities. The side effects associated with this type of medication are numerous, and one of the more notable effects is weight loss. If your doctor prescribes this medication to you, he will likely discuss this aspect of its use.

Function

Weight loss occurring from amphetamine use is primarily a result of the appetite-suppressing effects of the medication. According to Drugs.com, up to 33 percent of those people taking Adderall experience a loss of appetite. Because appetite suppression and weight loss are desired effects for many, the potential for off-label dispensing of prescription amphetamines does exist. However, because of its potential for abuse and adverse reactions, most health care providers feel that the risks outweigh the benefits of appetite suppression and weight loss, according to the website HealthCentral.com.

Types

This type of medication is available in both regular and long-acting formulations. Regular Adderall is available in 5, 7-1/2, 10, 12-1/2, 15, 20 and 30 mg formulations. The dosage your doctor prescribes depends on the severity of the condition being treated. Your doctor will likely start you at a low dosage, and depending on your response to amphetamine therapy, he may recommend small dosage increases over time until he observes a therapeutic response. It is important that you take the lowest dose of medication that effectively treats your symptoms to avoid unnecessary medication effects and potential overdosage. Adderall is also available in an extended-release formulation, or Adderall XR. This formulation extends the medication's benefits over an extended period, which might allow you to take 1 dose of daily medication rather than several.

Contraindications

Several health conditions for which amphetamine use is contraindicated. These include hypertension, a history of medication or alcohol dependence, an under- or overactive thyroid gland, a history of mental illness, a history of seizures, cardiac defects and glaucoma, according to MayoClinic.com. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these conditions because they might render prescription amphetamine use a danger for you.

Medication Interactions

Several medications have amphetamines and should not be used concurrently. According to the Food and Drug Administration, these medications include tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitor, antihistamine medications and antihypertensive medications used to control high blood pressure. Other medications include phenytoin, an antiseizure medication, and lithium carbonate, a mood-stabilizing medication.

Other Side Effects

In addition to weight loss, prescription amphetamines can have several other side effects, including dry mouth, insomnia, anxiety and stomach pain. Other, less common expected side effects, include constipation, twitching, changes in sexual desire and an unusual sense of well-being. If any of these side effects become intolerable for you, talk to your doctor about other or additional treatment options.

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