Meet Diethylpropion

A recent post described phentermine, which writer Ed J. Hendricks once equated with another generic called diethylpropion, characterizing them both as relatively affordable and relatively safe. He wrote,

These drugs have been maligned inappropriately because their two-dimensional structure diagrams resemble amphetamine and also because of unproven presumptions about their potential adverse effects.

Let’s look at some more recent assessments of diethylpropion, available in either instant-release or delayed-release forms. says,

This medication is an appetite suppressant and belongs to a class of drugs called sympathomimetic amines. It is not known how this medication helps people to lose weight. It may work by decreasing your appetite, increasing the amount of energy used by your body, or by affecting certain parts of the brain.

It is recommended for people who are significantly obese, as one of those short-term, “get you over the hump” types of prescription, and even then, it needs to be down-titrated, or withdrawal symptoms might result. It is not recommended for a patient with a history of substance use disorder — either personal or family.

Like almost every other weight-loss drug, diethylpropion is meant to go along with (of course) exercise and a reduced-calorie diet. This, and the point can not be emphasized enough, is where plenty of people jump the track and get lost in the woods. Many delusional humans think they can continue to eat whatever they want, whenever they want, and eschew physical exertion, and believe that somehow popping a pill will make a difference.

Without extensive lifestyle change, medication won’t chase pounds away, but it might make a difference in other ways. Some pills refuse to be ignored. For many people, the warning to neither drink nor drive could be a deal-breaker. Diethylpropion can cause insomnia, dizziness, irritability, over-the-top anger, nausea, vomiting, hypertension, hallucinations, spasticity, sexual anomalies, seizures, heart problems, potentially fatal allergic reaction, and… This is not even a complete list.

But wait, there’s more

It would be a shame to risk all those bothersome and dangerous side effects without doing the utmost to make this stuff work — and then get off it as quickly as possible. Let’s mention a few more pitfalls.

If this drug is taken in conjunction with MAO inhibitors, the combination can kill. It is also recommended to watch out for, and report, chest pain, swollen feet, depression, rash, headache, diarrhea, constipation, and dry mouth. Diethylpropion can apparently cause a baby to be born addicted, but no worries — it also passes into breast milk, so the infant will not have to quit cold turkey.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Off-label drugs for weight management,”, 06/10/17
Source: “Diethylpropion HCL ER,”, undated
Source: “Diethylpropion (Tenuate, Tenuate Dospan),”, undated
Photo credit: Spencer Means on Visualhunt/CC BY-SA

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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