How Effective Is Phentermine for ADD?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Phentermine may help an ADD patient focus by releasing dopamine in the brain.
Phentermine may help an ADD patient focus by releasing dopamine in the brain.

As of 2011, no clinical trials on phentermine for attention deficit disorder (ADD) had been conducted to determine efficacy. This medication is, however, in the same class as other drugs used to manage ADD and may be beneficial for some patients in an off-label use. When drugs are recommended in this way, it means that a doctor believes that may offer benefits, but regulators have not specifically approved the medication for such uses. Dosing recommendations are also not available because of the non-standard nature of this use.

There have been no clinical trials to say with certainty that phentermine is effective for ADD.
There have been no clinical trials to say with certainty that phentermine is effective for ADD.

Some patients with ADD find stimulant medications useful to help them manage their conditions. While the use of stimulants might seem counter-intuitive, since such patients may be very energetic, the drugs can actually help the patient focus by releasing dopamine in the brain. It may be easier to sit still, pay attention, switch focus between tasks, and complete projects while taking medications like phentermine for ADD.

ADD patients tend to be very energetic.
ADD patients tend to be very energetic.

Phentermine is an example of an amphetamine, like some other popular drugs used in ADD therapy. While not specifically approved for this use, the drug may be considered as an option if a patient doesn’t tolerate other drugs well. When a doctor starts a patient on phentermine for ADD, the dosage is typically low. This gives the patient time to adjust and respond to the medication. If the patient’s condition is still poorly controlled, the dose can be slowly increased to find the right level.

Children with ADD may benefit from bouncing on trampolines, which may help them burn off excess energy.
Children with ADD may benefit from bouncing on trampolines, which may help them burn off excess energy.

Patients taking phentermine to treat ADD need to be careful of amphetamine side effects like racing heart, high blood pressure, and dizziness. If they notice side effects, they can discuss them with a doctor. It may be possible to adjust the dosage or make diet and lifestyle changes to address the issue. In some cases, patients may not tolerate phentermine for ADD, and may need to try a different medication.

Phentermine side effects may include high blood pressure.
Phentermine side effects may include high blood pressure.

This drug has historically been used to help patients lose weight, because it suppresses appetite. Theories about the benefits of phentermine for ADD came from patients who noticed improvements in their ADD while taking the drug. Since it is designed for short term use only, some patients also observed that when they stopped taking phentermine for weight loss, their ADD became harder to control. These observations led some patients to conclude that it might be helpful. Doctors may agree, and could offer the medication or be willing to discuss it if a patient wants to talk about drug treatments for ADD.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

anon989156

I have always had a mind that is constantly thinking, and usually of many things at once. It has always taken me so much longer to complete tasks that others do in a shorter time because I must "chase many rabbits" before I am satisfied. My work, however, is top quality. So, I always just considered myself a creative and analytical type of person.

I began taking Phen for weight loss and now I think I may have ADD. I have only taken it for a week, but I have been so productive. Not in a crazy, speed demon, manic kind of way, though. I have been more focused than I can ever remember. I also have been in a more even mood and a calmer state of mind. I still eat and I still have cravings and am hungry but it seems I have more control and make better decisions. When I am no longer taking it for weight loss, I too will find a psych and be evaluated. It is amazing how my life has improved in such a short time. I am on 15 mg.

anon989037

It works for me. So far there haven't been any side effects for me.

bluedolphin

Phentermine is not good for ADD. It seems to work at first, but then it causes crazy side effects like heart palpitations, anxiety and panic attacks. I think it's addictive too.

bear78

@SarahGen-- Phentermine for ADD is an off-label use and not many doctors will actually prescribe it for ADD. You should definitely not attempt to use it without your doctor's approval first.

Based on my personal experience, phentermine works for ADD. I actually discovered this by chance when I was given phentermine for weight loss. I have had ADD since high school and had tried a bunch of different medications since then. Most of them didn't work well and the ones that did had too many side effects.

I was not on any ADD medications when I started taking phentermine and from the first week, I started noticing a significant difference with my ADD. I could actually concentrate and get stuff done and I didn't have any negative side effects.

Phentermine is a gem of a drug for ADD in my opinion. But it shouldn't be taken without doctor supervision because it's an off-label use. Like the article said, it can have unwanted side effects, if nothing else, it will cause weight loss which is not going to be desirable by someone who is not obese.

SarahGen

Phentermine seems like such an unlikely drug for ADD. My step-mom takes this for obesity. I have ADD but I've never tried phentermine for it. Does anyone here take it for ADD and does it work?

I think this will be one of the last drugs I try though.

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    • Phentermine may help an ADD patient focus by releasing dopamine in the brain.
      By: marksykes
      Phentermine may help an ADD patient focus by releasing dopamine in the brain.
    • There have been no clinical trials to say with certainty that phentermine is effective for ADD.
      By: Hemeroskopion
      There have been no clinical trials to say with certainty that phentermine is effective for ADD.
    • ADD patients tend to be very energetic.
      By: christingasner
      ADD patients tend to be very energetic.
    • Children with ADD may benefit from bouncing on trampolines, which may help them burn off excess energy.
      By: robhainer
      Children with ADD may benefit from bouncing on trampolines, which may help them burn off excess energy.
    • Phentermine side effects may include high blood pressure.
      By: Rido
      Phentermine side effects may include high blood pressure.
    • Some children with ADD may refuse to take medication of any kind for the condition.
      By: Tony Northrup
      Some children with ADD may refuse to take medication of any kind for the condition.
    • Children who find it difficult to pay attention and focus on a task may benefit from taking phentermine.
      By: Ermolaev Alexandr
      Children who find it difficult to pay attention and focus on a task may benefit from taking phentermine.