Fluoxetine increases the anorectic and long-term dopamine-depleting effects of phentermine

Brian T. Callahan, Jie Yuan, George A. Ricaurte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The anorectic drug phentermine produces dose-related toxic effects on brain dopamine (DA) neurons in animals. Until recently, phentermine was widely used in combination with fenfluramine for purposes of appetite suppression and weight loss. With the recent withdrawal of fenfluramine from the market, many people have begun combining phentermine with fluoxetine, a serotonin reuptake inhibitor which also produces mild anorectic effects. Fluoxetine, in addition to inhibiting serotonin reuptake, inhibits hepatic mixed function oxidase, which plays an important role in the metabolic degradation of amphetamines. The purpose of the present study was to assess the effects of fluoxetine on the anorectic and DA neurotoxic effects of phentermine in mice. Phentermine, in combination with fluoxetine, produced greater reductions in food intake and body weight than phentermine alone. The phentermine/fluoxetine combination also produced greater long-term reductions in brain DA levels than phentermine alone, likely reflecting greater DA neurotoxicity of the drug combination. Brain concentrations of phentermine were also found to be higher in animals pretreated with fluoxetine. These findings indicate that fluoxetine potentiates both the anorectic and DA neurotoxic effects of phentermine, probably by increasing phentermine brain levels. The clinical significance of these findings remains to be ascertained. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-476
Number of pages6
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 15 2000


  • Anorexia
  • Dopamine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Phentermine
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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