Note: "Anorectic" is also a term for an anorexic person; a person suffering from Anorexia nervosa

Anorectics, anorexigenics or appetite suppressants are substances (dietary supplements or drugs) that reduce the appetite and cause a person to eat less.


From the Greek an- = "without" and orexi- = "appetite".

Currently marketed appetite suppressant drugs

Numerous pharmaceutical compounds are marketed as appetite suppressants.

The following drugs listed as "centrally acting antiobesity preparations" by ATC:

The following are listed as appetite depressants by MeSH.

Other compounds marked as appetite suppressants include:

Public health concerns

Epidemics of fatal pulmonary hypertension and heart valve damage associated with pharmaceutical anorectic agents have led to the withdrawal of products from the market. This was the case with aminorex in the 1960s, and again in the 1990s with fenfluramine (see: Fen-phen). Likewise, association of the related appetite suppressant phenylpropanolamine with hemorrhagic stroke led the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to request its withdrawal from the market in the United States in 2000, and similar concerns regarding ephedrine resulted in an FDA ban on its inclusion in dietary supplements, in 2004 (a Federal judge later overturned this ban in 2005 during a challenge by supplement maker Nutraceuticals). It is also debatable as to whether the ephedrine ban had more to do with its use as a precursor in methamphetamine manufacture rather than legitimate health concerns.

History and initial uses

Used on a short term basis clinically to treat obesity, some appetite suppressants are also available over the counter. Drugs of this class are frequently stimulants of the phenethylamine family, related to amphetamine (speed).

The German military experimented with issuing amphetamines to soldiers in 1945, when food supplies were very short in Germany. Following the Second World War, amphetamines were re-directed for use on the civilian market. Indeed, amphetamine itself was sold commercially as an appetite suppressant until it was outlawed in most parts of the world in the late 1950s due to increased recreational use. Many amphetamines produce side effects including addiction, tachycardia and hypertension, making prolonged unsupervised use dangerous.

Many people who obtain these drugs are more interested in the amphetamine-like stimulant effects than weight loss. In those cases, it is important to make sure to keep forcing oneself to eat even when it is undesirable.

See also


External links

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