Tuesday, December 11, 2012

amPhetamines anD aPPetite suPPressants

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The currently FDA-approved appetite suppressants belong to a group of drugs called phenethylamines, which are similar to amphetamines. Amphetamines are known to have a stimulant effect on the central  nervous system.
Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are drugs that can speed up mental or physi- cal functions. One of the most common  CNS stimulants is caffeine.
The appetite suppressants discussed in this section are CNS stimulants. The way that  these drugs control  appetite is by stimulating the part of the brain that controls appetite. As mentioned, the hypothalamus is the appetite center of the brain so it makes sense that a group of drugs that controls appetite would influence the brain.
These CNS stimulants affect a number of neurotransmit- ter systems in the brain, including serotonin. For those with weight problems, taking a pill to stave off hunger may seem like magic. However, altering chemicals in the body, even by adding a feel-good” hormone such as serotonin, has risks as well as benefits. Although scientific results show an increase in weight loss as compared with a placebo or no pill, the weight loss is minimal: a fraction of a pound per week. For some, this small amount of weight loss due to the drug makes it worthwhile, especially when they factor in the mental and physical toll of obesity; for others, the side effects outweigh the benefits.
CNS stimulants also have side effects that pose a risk to the consumers. These stimulants increase the heart rate and blood pressure and therefore might not be recommended for people with high blood pressure or heart problems. Side effects vary but often include insomnia, irritability, and nervousness. The same drug could cause different reactions, so one person might experience a side effect that another patient taking the same drug may not. Some consumers find that the short-term side effects are simply not worth the weight loss. Others may not experience these side effects but could, in later years, encounte long-term  side effects that  are currently unknown.  The research on side effects involves only short-term  experiments so it is difficult to know for sure what long-term side effects could occur.
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