Chances are you’ve heard of it under its brand names, Tenuate or Tenuate Dospan. Its official moniker is Diethylpropion, and the list of side effects that come with the drug is even longer than its name.
According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), this medication is typically prescribed for short periods of time in combination with dietary modifications to lose weight. It’s sold as both a regular (25 mg) and long-acting (75 mg) tablet. It’s normally taken three times a day an hour before meals with the regular dosage or once a day in the middle of the morning for the extended-release version. Diethylpropion acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system.
Patients who experience any of a long list of symptoms should contact their physician immediately, NIH states. These conditions include fast or irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, blurred vision, skin rash and itching. Also on the dangerous list are difficulty breathing, chest pain, fainting, swelling of the feet or ankles, fever, sore throat and painful urination. Should you experience a serious side effect from the drug, you or your physician can report it to the Food and Drug Administration at 1-800-332-1088.
It’s also important to report any of these symptoms to the prescribing doctor: dry mouth, an unpleasant taste, restless, anxiety, feeling dizzy and depression. Also, crucial to pass along to the physician are tremors, an upset stomach, vomiting or the increased need to urinate.
Prospective users should note that Diethylpropion can affect the blood sugar levels of diabetics. The drug can also cover up some signs of low blood sugar, known as hypoglycemia.
Patients should be sure to inform their doctors of any drug allergies and advise their practitioners of any other prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs they are taking, particularly guanethidine, insulin and MAO inhibitors such as Nardil or Parnate even if they were discontinued within the prior two weeks.
It’s also important to report herbal supplements, vitamins and any other diet medications taken within the preceding year. Other conditions that might prevent usage of Diethylpropion include any current or prior heart or blood vessel disease, high blood pressure, an overachieving thyroid, diabetes, glaucoma, pulmonary hypertension, seizures or drug abuse.
On of the most troublesome side effects of Diethylpropion for some patients is the development of dry mouth, known as Xerostomia. This condition is sometimes commonly called pasties, cottonmouth or dough mouth. In addition to being caused by underlying diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome and uncontrolled diabetes, it can develop as the result of decreased saliva production while taking Diethylpropion.
In addition to noting a dry mouth, patients might experience saliva that seems thick or stringy, according to the Mayo Clinic. They might also develop cracked lips, bad breath (halitosis), difficulty speaking or swallowing, a sore throat, a strange sense of taste and dental problems. Xerostomia causes increased plaque, tooth decay and gum disease in many patients when there is insufficient saliva to re-mineralize tooth enamel. It can even be dramatic enough to affect the patient’s speech.
There are several ways to treat Xerostomia caused by Diethylpropion. One is to discontinue the drug. As an alternative, the physician might elect to prescribe a medication designed to increase saliva production.
Patients can also take some practical steps at home. Chewing sugar-free gum or candy can sometimes increase saliva production. Avoiding acidic foods can help minimize the possibility of tooth decay. Eliminating smoking or chewing tobacco also reduces dry mouth symptoms.
Other steps include brushing with fluoride toothpaste and making regular visits to the dentist. Sipping water regularly, using over-the-counter saliva substitutes, breathing through the nose instead of the mouth and using a room humidifier at night can also help.