What Is Diethylpropion Used For?

Diethylpropion is used for treating obesity that is not caused by an identifiable medical condition (known as exogenous obesity). It should only be used for a few weeks, since the appetite-suppressing effects of the medication wear off by then. The drug works by suppressing the appetite and possibly increasing metabolism. There are currently no approved diethylpropion uses for children.

What Is Diethylpropion Used For? -- An Overview

Diethylpropion hydrochloride (Tenuate®) is a medication approved as a short-term weight loss aid. It is available by prescription only.
With obesity on the rise (see Obesity Statistics), people are searching for "quick fix" products to help with weight loss. Although the ideal weight loss plans focus on gradual weight loss by healthy eating and increased exercise (see How to Lose Weight), many people have difficulty following such plans or feel they need extra assistance in their efforts. Before turning to drastic measures, such as weight loss surgery, many people consider using weight loss pills, especially if they have unsuccessfully tried to control their obesity and exercise and diet have been ineffective.
For adults, the definition of obesity is a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more (see BMI Calculator to find your BMI). People with BMI between 25 and 30 are considered overweight, but not obese. Causes of obesity include overeating, lack of exercise, and other medical conditions (such as hypothyroidism). There are many health effects of obesity, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and strokes.
Obesity can be divided into two categories: endogenous obesity and exogenous obesity. Endogenous obesity is caused by an identifiable medical condition, such as hypothyroidism. Exogenous obesity is caused by eating too much and exercising too little. Diethylpropion is meant to treat exogenous obesity (meaning it is not meant to treat obesity due to a known medical cause).
Diethylpropion is approved for short-term use only (just a few weeks), along with an appropriate diet. For this use, diethylpropion works mostly as an appetite suppressant, although it may also help to increase metabolism. After a few weeks, the appetite-suppressing effects of diethylpropion usually wears off. When this happens, the medication should be stopped. It should not be increased or continued in any way.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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