Generic Name: diethylpropion
Brand Name(s): Tenuate, Tenuate Dospan, Tenuate Retard
Medically reviewed by Ahmed Zayed, MD on June 19, 2018

Tenuate is a stimulant prescription drug that is used for weight loss. This drug can only be obtained by patients who have been examined by a doctor and only after the doctor has decided that it is safe for the patient to use this drug. The purpose of the drug is to help prevent the patient from giving into their cravings by reducing their appetite, but also providing a boost in their energy levels at the same time.

The use of this drug has been associated with a number of potential side-effects and is not considered a safe option to treat obesity in some patients. Knowledge about contraindications, side-effects and other data regarding Tenuate is important for patients interested in using this drug to help them avoid further weight gain and speed up their weight loss results. The drug is intended to be used together with a complete weight management plan.

How Tenuate Works

Tenuate includes diethylpropion hydrochloride as the primary active ingredient. Diethylpropion is a type of pharmaceutical stimulant and is very similar to another drug often prescribed to a patient, amphetamine. The use of diethylpropion has not, however, been associated with as severe potential adverse effects as amphetamine, making it a somewhat safer option for obese patients to shed excess weight faster.

Weight loss in obesity has a number of potential benefits to offer the patient. Since obesity is linked to damaging effects on all systems in the human body, including every organ1, weight loss reducing strain on the internal organs and helps to reduce the risk of diseases linked to obesity.

One study2 provided evidence that the use of diethylpropion hydrochloride can provide effective results to assist obese patients in losing weight and overcoming the various challenges faced with excess weight. Additionally, the study also found that this ingredient is relatively safe when compared to some of the other pharmaceutical products on the market and may even be used for longer-term weight reduction when their physician closely monitors a patient.

How Tenuate Should Be Used For Maximum Efficiency

Patients who are interested in using Tenuate for a pharmaceutical approach to treating their obesity need to be aware of the fact that this drug alone will not produce appropriate results. For this drug to be effective, a patient will need to reduce their caloric intake (this is where this drug comes into play) and ensure they perform an adequate amount of physical exercise that causes them to exert more calories than what they are consuming.

Clinical studies have proven that weight loss involves a complete management plan for long-term success. With no significant lifestyle adjustments and without implementing a long-term plan, then the patient may gain back the weight they lost during their initial weight loss efforts soon afterward. One study3 offers evidence that a weight management plan should include long-term goals for physical activity, as well as a diet that does not comprise of high fat or caloric levels. Self-monitoring also plays a vital role in such a weight management plan.

Who Should Avoid Using Tenuate?

The active ingredient in Tenuate has been linked to a number of possible interactions with existing health conditions that a customer might have been diagnosed with previously. In particular, the official leaflet4 of this product advised patients to completely avoid the use of this drug if they have been diagnosed with any of the following medical conditions:

  • Advanced arteriosclerosis
  • Severe hypertension
  • Hypersensitivity to sympathomimetic amines
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Glaucoma

Patients are also advised to avoid using this drug if they have used a type of monoamine oxidase inhibitor in the past two weeks as this may lead to possible complications that may become life-threatening. The use of Tenuate in combination with other appetite suppressants or prescription weight loss drugs may also cause a life-threatening complication to develop, known as pulmonary hypertension.

Side-Effects Associated With Tenuate

The active ingredient of this drug may cause a variety of undesirable side-effects to develop in the patient. Education about the potential side-effects become essential as certain adverse reactions are considered more serious and might require the patient to seek immediate medical attention.

Some of the more common side-effects that patients tend to report when they take this drug include dizziness, an irregular heartbeat, a faster or slower pulse, frequent urination, mild headaches, restlessness, and possible signs of insomnia.

In some rare cases, the drug may cause the patient to experience more serious side-effects. In these cases, the patient is advised to contact their doctor or obtain immediate emergency medical attention to address these side-effects. Some side-effects that patients should be on the lookout for include breathing difficulty, sudden and severe changes in their mental health, signs of severe depression, vision changes, and chest pain. Any other side-effects that also seem to cause the patient to experience a disruption in their ability to go about their normal daily activities should be taken up with their doctor.


A number of prescription pharmaceutical drugs have become available for treating obesity in the past few decades. Tenuate is one particular option that is often provided to patients as an alternative to the drug amphetamine. The active ingredient of this prescription drug has been associated with some potentially unpleasant side-effects, making it important for patients to thoroughly understand how the drug works, what side-effects they may experience, and when they should consult with their doctor.

Many patients may find the possible side-effects or the fact that they may not qualify for the use of Tenuate unpleasant. PhenterPro provides an excellent alternative solution to this drug to provide a significant reduction in the patient’s appetite, which ensures they can effectively lose weight when combined with a low-calorie diet and frequent exercise.


1 C.F. Rueda-Clausen, A.A. Ogunleye, and A.M. Sharma. Health Benefits of Long-Term Weight-Loss Maintenance. U.S. National Library of Health. 13 May 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25974699

2 B.J. Elliott. A double-blind controlled study of the use of diethylpropion hydrochloride (Tenuate) in obese patients in a rural practice. U.S. National Library of Health. 25 October 1978. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/282482

3 Multiple Authors. Long-term weight loss maintenance for obesity: a multidisciplinary approach. Dovepress. 26 February 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777230/

4 Tenuate / Tenuate Dospan. Official Tenuate Packaging Insert. November 2003. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2004/11722s029,12546s032lbl.pdf


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