A Blast from the Past: Amphetamines for Weight Loss

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February 2, 2015 | 43 Comments


  1. I think this “Girl’s Story” has a lot in it that could make many Adderall users wince with recognition. Losing weight is part of what’s driving the twenty-something epidemic, but I think “performance” (and plain old getting high) accounts for more.

    It’s true, these drugs are not really cognitive enhancers — but they do give you a sort of mental stamina, especially the kind that’s needed to plough through huge amounts of study material or to chain yourself to the computer for 8-12 hours’ work. It fades in time, of course — all too soon you need Adderall just to accomplish what you once did without it. It also seems to be useless for real creativity, and ideally suited to endless, meaningless work.

    It turns out the latter was a well-known symptom of amphetamine abuse during prior speed epidemics. European docs christened it “punding.” They noticed addicts who would take apart and re-assemble car parts, tinker with radios and stereos or bury themselves in even sillier tasks for hours on end, unable to stop. It’s recently been a subject of study among those who treat Parkinson’s disease with the new dopamine-agonist drugs. It goes hand in hand with more obviously dangerous compulsions like gambling and compulsive sex, as well as compulsive shopping and binge eating (surprise, surprise).

    A recent article on methamphetamine abuse describes a “punder” who spent up to 12 hours per day surfing the Web and adding to his various hobby collections … a socially acceptable form of compulsive shopping for men, I guess, one of many the Internet has made possible.

    Of course, this is completely different from any problems experienced by persons prescribed Adderall, Focalin, Concerta or Vyvanse by a board-certified specialist. NOT.

    • Definitely recall the amphetamine “crisis” although it was a lot of fun for me. It meant I could work 8 or 10 hrs then go out and dance and drink all evening until the bars closed then get up and do it all again. I was never a good drinker but with an escatrol or yellow jacket I could drink and not even feel it.

      • I can totally relate to the diet pills of the 70s and 80s. I was a very busy young lady working and partying. The only difference is now that i am 69 i cannot seem to lose weight no matter how hard i try.i didnt know any others who took diet pills so i dont know if that could be the problem if being 69 and weigh 250+. But i feel that is my problem now.

        • Hi Gina , I am a 67 female who also used diet pills in the 70’s I was prescribed the little pink upjohns and took them until they quit working then dr switched me to yellow jackets, today I am 230# and cannot lose weight unless I don’t eat at all so it may have affected our systems somehow

      • I was addicted to both alcohol and speed for a long time. Of course I never thought I was addicted. I loved it. I was going to Nursing school as a 40 year old single mom. The uppers helped me concentrate, or so it seemed. The drinking became more important and I got dropped from school which was federally funded.
        Then I got saved and all addiction was over fore. This was 36 years ago on August 2. God can heal. I pray this will help someone else

    • Of course. Every drug has an action. And where there is action, there is RE-action. Simple Chemistry and Physics 101.

  2. Great story!

    Joanna nailed it: this story could be about anyone who abuses Adderall (like I did).

    Losing weight is one of the top reasons women abuse the drug. Once you get used to using it to control your weight, it can be downright frightening to imagine life with out it.

  3. Just had to cross-post this comment from a Medscape article on the new diet drugs:

    “In the beginning you made reference to doctors who prescribed weight-loss drugs in the 60s. In fact my mother took them. I believe they are an amphetamine and I know attributed to the “nervous breakdown” she Subsequently experienced.

    “After her paranoia got into full swing, she thought my father was connected to the mafia and had us writing down license plate of cars that were following her. She painted the windows on the backside of the house black so that people could not look in. I was about four or five at the time of these events. I can tell you I have spent a good deal of time with my therapist trying to understand what all of this means to me.

    “My mother wanted a divorce, but did not get one she was afraid that my father was going to have her “committed”. She begged him not to do so and he relented. They finally ended up having a religious conversion experience. My father who had been a dentist in his hometown decided to become a missionary along with my mother and of course they took the kids with them. This means I grew up in Africa. It was quite an experience.

    “I can’t say that the medication caused all that, however I will say that both my mother and my grandmother on her side took the magic medication as did many women who were conscious of their size and shape in the 60s.”

    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/842795?nlid=79963_1521&src=wnl_edit_medp_wir&uac=77820EG&spon=17 (Medscape is by subscription so you may need to register in order to view this)

    • Everyone reacts to medications differently. Just like even say ,acid, one person could take it and laugh and have a great time , realizing hat the strange feelings and things happening were the effects of the drug. Another person might totally freak out because their mind was not capable of handling type of situation.

      • I remember my old man being prescribed Apisate as a weight loss drug. This was marketed by Wyeth as an appetite suppressant. He quickly renamed it “Happystate”, which I found baffling. Well, I was thin and 14 years old. Stole 2 tablets and I was away with the happiest fairies in the universe. Certainly was a happy state. Wyeth pulled the drug a few years later. Pity really, because my old man could move mountains when he was on the stuff and lost 100lbs.

  4. I think you should be ashamed of yourself for putting that belviq is a stimulant when you have not done your homework. Belviq works on serotonin levels and is actually one of the safest drugs for people who are not able to use stimulants. Articles like this are going to keep people like me from being able to use medicines like belviq. Last word do your homework.

  5. It was 1966. My Dr. prescribed Preludin for weight loss. It was WONDERFUL. I had energy, low appetite, felt good, no BP problems, addiction, no psychotic episodes or personality issues. It was a low dose, I remember the Dr saying, and I must take it early in the day or it could keep me awake at night. I lost 7-10 lbs per month. I lost 90 lbs. then took a lower dose just to maintain. I used it for 18 months, until I got pregnant, then quit as I feared it might harm the baby. That was 1968 and then I couldn’t get it anymore. Weight returned, and has climbed steadily ever since. I have always been fat. But in my 68 years I once had two golden years of feeling like a normal, average weight person by using Preludin and I cherish that memory. I never knew it was called speed until many years later. I wish research would explore again drugs like this, and find ways to remove the side effects that some experience. Lower doses, and in combination with appetite hormones and such.

    • The speed back then was pure, clean and effective. That was before the globalist “elite’s” agenda to fatten up everyone in the USA. They took those things away from us on purpose. The last good diet pills/speed were put out by Glaxo Smith Kline in the late 90s (or ended in the late 90s) and they were called “Fastins”…..they were beyond wonderful! And almost as good were the over the counter Metabolife and Yellow Swarm made with the Chinese herb ephedra. You used to could buy these anywhere. Walmart, Drugstore, Service Stations, etc. The Fatal Drugs Allowed (FDA) BIg Pharma lap dogs banned them due to a handful or less of alleged deaths that were really from the diet pepsi with aspartame consumed in the hot sun along with taking these diet pills. Of course the diet pills got the blame and the deadly neurotoxin and fat causing “asparatame” is still put in everything now. I used to be able to easily keep my weight at around 135-140 (I’m 5′ 7″)by taking Metabolife for a few weeks when my weight would go up. They took if off the shelves around 2004 and NOTHING has worked since. Even the so called “phentermine” they are putting out now is full of fillers and basically is garbage. It does nothing but give you terrible insomina, you don’t even get the euphoria any longer which was the best part and the part that made you not want to eat. I hate these evil people behind all these things. They want us fat, stupid and vaccinated so they can control us like slaves.

    • I’ve heard a many a story about preludin from friends & family & success they had “back in the day!” I also heard as many abt the original yellow jackets, dexi’s, etc.

  6. you experienced what most of the people I knew did,and to refer to everyone as speed freaks is asinine ,we took it if we had a long drive to do ,to get production out in the factories ,to sober up etc.I didn’t know a single person who had to have it ,they claim it’s dangerous but during the iraq war they forced the pilots to take it so they could fly safely ,back then once in a while a truck driver would over do it ,to keep driving,a diet pill is nothing compared to what they abuse today -Oxycontin, heroin ,all kinds of pain pills all of these are many times stronger than a low dose of speed.Now everyone is obese ,has diabetes ,high blood pressure , strokes I never had a problem sleeping,I don’t care what they claim a lot fewer people died from diet pills than from obesity today,the sixties were the last time they had medicine for weight loss ,their all a joke today,it’s all a political game,hope everyone saw the government film “reefer madness” it explains the truth about smoking pot.If they let certain doctors give out medicine again it would save thousands of lives every year,make people fell better ,but they would have to admit they were wrong fifty years ago,but how many people were busted in the white house with cocaine,that and chasing little boys around

  7. I don’t abuse Aderall, I take it as prescribed (unless I take it too late and can’t sleep). It DID NOT cause me lose weight (Bummer.The doctor commented on this too many times in my first couple years of taking it.) But that’s okay because I really need it. The real reason for needing it is that it replaces a shortage of a particular brain chemical. It’s not just about focus, it’s about NOT getting overwhelmed with life. I’ve noticed that when I haven’t taken it, I’ll overreact to what would otherwise be an annoyance, and I take it out on those I love. That’s not worth it, so I take my meds. So what? I self-diagnosed years ago as I studied what could be wrong with my daughter. When I read about ADHD it hit the nail on the head…for both of us! It was such a relief to know there was a reason why I was the way I was, and that almost gave me a reason to be forgiving of myself. I fretted about my daughter having to take medication until the thought came, “What if it helps”? Oh man, and it SURE DID HELP! I had to jump through the “6 week certified councilor” hoop to get a prescription, but my daughter’s pediatrician prescribed it without any more than mentioning it. Go figure.
    The only problem came about when I habitually started staying up late. By accident, I found I could operate with little sleep each night for about a week at a time, but would sleep half the day Saturday to make up for losing 30 hours of sleep the previous week. Or I could lock my door at work and crash under my desk for an hour. (Sweet, hu.) But about once every month or six weeks so I’d get so sick (clearly from lack of sleep) that I’d sleep all weekend. For some reason when we made this most recent move, I’ve been compelled to go to bed at a decent time (midnight or earlier instead of 3 or 4 am). If anyone taking it is fidgety and nervous and jumpy, their dose is too high or they don’t need it at all. When I was nursing my last child and not taking it, I could sit on the couch all day staring off into space because I couldn’t focus enough on one thing long enough to get anything done. Weird, but true. I wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t my experience.

  8. I think you are putting too negative of stigma on these drugs.. I take vyvanse and dexamphetamine on weekends (when I am not looking for a long lasting effects) and these have pretty much saved my life.. I do a great job at work and even recently got promoted. They help me focus on things that need to be done and research to be learnt without needing to procrastinate or day dream. I take them for ADHD, so without them I have very fidgety, non attentive and often speak without thinking (which can be highly embaressing at times).

    I agree that those who abuse these drugs,or get them simply for weight loss, without researching the mental side affects, are silly – but don’t shame the drugs for doing what they are designed to do. It is known to anyone who takes them properly that you need to adjust the doses as necessary to stop the side affects happening in the story…

  9. I am 67 years old. My mother took dexadrene, dr prescribed, during her entire pregnancy. I screamed for the first year of life and have had varying health problems my entire life. Several different doctors have traced these back to the addiction I was born with. Fortunately, I have had no addiction problems.

    My mother took the same drug during her entire pregnancy with my brother, three years later. In fact she didn’t get off of it until I was in my teens. My brother slept for the first year of life and then became hyper. He has been a drug addict since he was twelve years old.

    There are many worse things than weight problem .

  10. I was in no way fat but I was tall and large for my age compared to my sister who was tall and quite thin. My parents were very weight conscience and my mother took me to our pediatrician when I was in the 3rd grade to see if I had something wrong with my metabolism. I was prescribed diet pills (little pink square pills) I think they were dexedrine, and I took them 1/2 hour before each meal.

    I was in the Third grade!! That was 1955.

    I am now 70 and remember that part of my life very well. I took those pills until High school until I realized what they were doing to me. I slowly weaned myself off the pills, swearing never to do that to myself again.

  11. Thank you for this. I am a sober addict in recovery, my drug of choice being adderall/speed. My psychiatrist (who is also in recovery/sober) says “oh I just went to a meeting about a new drug for binge eating disorder- Vyvanse!” …..

    I told her Vyvanse is a stimulant. You can get hooked on and abuse Vyvanse. She said no it isn’t, no you can’t, at the meeting they said so. Take it from a speed freak, it can!

  12. I took adderall in college after being diagnosed with ADD. I was actually diagnosed years before and my teachers used to suggest ADD to my mother while I was in elementary school, however my mom never had me treated for it due to the possible side affects. When I started taking it in college my grades were straight A’s and I was truly able to focus. Well, in my late years of college I married my soulmate and had a son while continuing to finish school and work full time. I found myself abusing the drug to stay up so I could finish everything and focus because naturally when you’re sleep deprived you can’t think clearly. This obviously came to bite me in the rear. I was addicted. I started having all of the psychosis side affects and severely scary panic attacks. After one panic attack when I was home alone with my 2yr old son I thought I was legit going to die and regardless of this thought I hid the pills then called 9-1-1. After this episode and after being well rested I realized the true life threat this medication was starting to have over me and quit taking it completely. I probably should have started lowering the dosage but it scared me so much that I was so afraid of continuing to abuse it. I look back now (10 yrs) later still wanting to take the medication for it’s good affects. I have never abused any drugs or alcohol other than the adderall which I find interesting. I can control myself and know when to stop. Unsure if this is because of my past or not. I also look back at pictures of myself and can clearly see the addiction. I remember thinking I was fat when in reality I was a skeleton. Honestly I wish I could post pictures. Brings tears to my face that I didn’t realize the issue at the time. I’m convinced if I continued to take the drug the way I was I would have for sure ended my life leaving my son without a mother. I absolutely think if this medication is prescribed it needs to be carefully monitored and never under any circumstance over prescribed. I can’t believe I would just be able to make a phone call and get my meds refilled before they were due for a refill. No wonder I abused them! I am now 35 years old. I also should mention that I don’t have high blood pressure, no family history of mental illness, no diabetes. The side affects that I experienced can happen to anyone if abused. Please be conscious and only take prescriptions as prescribed and if you notice any side affects immediately tell your doctor with all honesty so he/she can help you modify as needed.

  13. I know I have ADHD but I’m 61 and might have a heart attack with adderall. I think they should bring back the good old fashion diet pills cause I’m fat. Alcohol is legal but it’s ok for the it suits them to drink themsefs to death whatever. Maybe the 69s and 70s drugs for diet pills would help ADD as and ADHD instead of making the folks that have it go it with no meds.

    • I am one of those folks. I am 62 and I have been in ADHD since the first grade, I was so hyper in school they had to send me home. the treatment I received was Ritaline with a tranquilizer back up, I was on that cocktail for many years. I also found out that Mom was tacking amphetamine sulphate to loose weight while pregnant with me. Later on in years I was still hyper, anxious, nervous energy, anyway, I had found Moms old stash of amph. sulphate and tried those just to see what would happen, it sounds crazy but they leveled me right out. I all of a sudden calm, cool, collected. No effect on my appetite or sleep habits. A Shrink told me once, outside the office, that’s probably what your system needed. I don’t know, doe’s that make any sense to any one, or am I just strange ?

  14. I am a man of 62 years. I am now over 400 lbs. I remember speed, crosstops, black beauties and what have you. I used them to stay up all night, party and go back to work the next day. I remember having no appetite. I know today a little speed could drop my weight. I am not a druggie and never felt addicted except with tobacco.I thank Jesus for taking cigarettes away from me when I asked him to. Well after drugs (10 yrs) I got married @ age 30.I was 160 lbs. Today, I long for a little speed to curb my appetite and drop 50 lbs, take a break and go for another 50. Yes I have tried diets and stuff. 2 bottles of 5 hour energy put me to sleep. Any real help out there ? E-mail me at “cjcsclcs@gmail.com”……………….sam

  15. Ok, I HAVE to put my two-cents worth in. Which, by the way is a one over a million fraction and shows that i have had an insurmountable experience with almost every amphetamine ever developed in any lab in any part of the world. That one-word exclamation of “EUREKA” rang very true to those like me. We finally had all of those damn ducks in a row and our lives were going to be grand from then on. That is exactly how we felt. I was a college sophomore and in one of these amphetamine trials at the time. Before I had been put into this trial my life had reminded me of a cesspool which at times would take me to a dark place that i had no desire to be part of.
    Feeling that i was lazy and of no use to anybody in any way, shape, or form was a bummer. But these miracle drugs (to me they were at least) were goddamned awesome. The only complaint that I had was that the data showed that most of us in the trial would build up a huge tolerance to these drugs at a very fast rate. It was impossible to run the trials when this tolerance issue forced us to increase the dosages every 2 days or so. It was crazy! And it was beginning to piss some of us students off because we couldn’t feel that incredible feeling. The feeling we felt when the trial first began. But folks unfortunately this tolerance to amphetamines and yes, tolerance to every last one of them is a sad fact in the world of chemistry which it translates into our life to that question that we do have to ask ourselves. Is life really going to continue to be grand?
    I get so frusrated at Dr’s who prescribe these medications and give their patients a false sense of hope. When the results of their victories of weight loss, or being that super organized person begin to ebb, instead of adjusting their dosage and getting closer to the results that they had at the beginning of their trial, they often times tended to chastise their patients instead of implementing that dosage increase. The Dr. ends up compromising the Dr./Patient relationship which may have taken years to develop. It is a real head scratcher as to why the obvious conclusion is not drawn. Look at the data again…it is as clear as the nose on your face. Yes, that’s it.

  16. Is it because food is much readily available in USA? Or is it the opportunity to grab those cheap, unhealthy but appetizing food up for grab at their fingertips.

    What is the demographics for obesity in the USA with regards by state, race or financial status. And as we know, food cost money, and more food intake cost more.

    What is the statistics for obesity in the world?
    Who has the more obsess per population percentage?

    And lastly, is it truly proven without doubt that consuming more food excessively is cause by the brain and not just an overzealous love for good food?

  17. My experience with “appetite suppressors” in the 79’s was a nightmare. Only now at age 73 am I able to recognize the extreme danger in which I placed myself and my family. For so many years I have blamed myself for a failed marriage and an adult son who no longer has any contact with his father. Make no mistake, I am still sometimes overcome with feelings of shame, disappointment, embarrassment, failure and a whole laundry list of psychological issues that plague me to this day. I am, however, at last finally able to better understand what affects the meds can cause. Mine was a worse case scenario and I thank God that I lived to tell about it. Even now I am amazed at what didn’t happen as much as I am ashamed of what did.

  18. In 1972 my mother (an image freak) sent me to a 5th Ave NYC doctor from NJ every Friday. I was 15 or 16 at the time. This Doc would give me clear boxes of rainbow drugs for the week. I was 5’6″ 135 Lbs. I was nervous, my grades plummeted and had no interest in friends. This went on for about 4 months! I started pulling my hair out. At that point I tossed all the drugs into the Ocean and pretended to be still taking them. To this day drugs scare me to death.
    Thank God I don’t have an addictive personality.


  20. Weight loss for an elderly woman is challenging but not impossible. If you follow a good diet with some weight supplement pills and yes exercise is best with it, some set of anaerobic exercises which helps to burn down fat much faster a person can see the change within 8 to 10 weeks. It would be best if you were constant.

  21. I took the so-called slimming pills in the 1960’s . I can’t remember what they were called but you could buy them without a prescription in any chemist shop in Switzerland and I reckon they were pure speed. I took them for losing weight and also for swotting for my exams. You could concentrate and keep awake for longer when you were on them. I took them for about one month, studied 12 hours per day and passed my exams. But after I stopped them, I became severely depressed. I didnt realise that it was due to those pills. Noone warns you of the negative consequences… I dont know whether the same thing happens with the ADHD meds, but I would be afraid that it would be similar.

  22. I think this type of approach needs to get studied well practicing it. There are more safe methods in the world to encounter weight loss. Fat-burning supplements and exercise are one of them. What do you think?

  23. Fascinating. I am getting more out of reading these comments than I have from a week of reading studies and articles. There is nothing more factual than lived experience! I’ve been taking phentermine on and off since my mid 20s. At 55 it’s finally dawning on me that I’m not really getting much from it any more. I’ve been trying to get Saxenda — my insurance covers it — but my employer keeps smacking it down because of an old “diet drug” exclusion from back in the day, when the only game in town involved Schedule II narcotics. It’s funny because most of these “uppers” are still on the market in some form, and even though they aren’t the healthiest and don’t work the greatest long-term, because they’re way less expensive than more effective treatments, people keep going back to them. I wish chronic obesity would be taken more seriously. If I look around a crowded shopping mall, it’s hard to pick out people who are more “fit” than “fat,” and its only getting worse.

  24. I’m considering myself lucky to have seen the movie “Requiem for A Dream” early enough in my life to be fearful of prescriptions and other street drugs early on. My family relied on western medicines and home remedies a lot ( major vaccines were researched and delayed in acceptance).

    I’m a skinny gal all my life (thanks to genes and nicotine). My baby face still gets my ID out of the wallet and I’m being asked to model for photos in the mall, while I’m over 40 years old. I’m kind and caring, but also tired of compliments and attention. Mostly, I wish for people to not notice me and actually get to know me a little….my character, my desires, my personality.

    I hope that soon we can achieve a society that holds character integrity at highest value and not appearance. I hope that we love ourselves as we are, attend to our wellbeing holistically and recognize our own fault in financing BIG PHARMA that poisons us. Women have been the most moldable creatures to achieve men’s perspective of desirable partner so far…

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