A Blast from the Past: Amphetamines for Weight Loss

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February 2, 2015 | 12 Comments

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  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.

  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)

  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.

    • RE Belvig – Consumer Reports says skip it
      http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/06/weight-loss-pill-belviq-is-now-available-but-we-say-skip-it/index.htm

      On RxISK you can check out its profile of side effects as reported to FDA. These include hunger, appetite increase and weight gain.

      But I would be more worried about the range of cognitive problems – confusion, delirium, loss of attention, loss of memory, abnormal coordination, cognitive disorder. The true scale of some of the problems are concealed by reports of what is likely the same thing appearing under several different headings such as sluggishness and bradyphrenia for instance.

      If articles like this encourage you to think before using Belviq, and to do some homework, your use will be safer. These drugs can certainly be used safely. But for every one person who does their research and knows what to look out for, the question is how many will drift into a use and live to regret it?

      David

      • Always interesting to see a Dr. recommend that a non Dr. do their homework. In my experience most Drs. hate it when people do their homework unless of course they agree with the Dr. I guess. Go into your Drs. office and say “well I do/don’t want to take that because I read xyz on the internet”….yea, Drs no likey

        • They should likey – what’s not to prefer in having a few hundred patients who are free researchers also compared with a few hundred people who curse, not loud but deep, mouth-honor which the poor heart would fain deny but dare not

          DH

  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.

  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…

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