Is Phentermine A Narcotic? (Research-based Answer)

January 9, 2024 |

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In this article, I will discuss whether or not Phentermine is a narcotic and what stimulant category it belongs to.

No, Phentermine is not an illegal narcotic or opioid. It is a nervous system stimulator, but its potency for drug abuse or dependence is very low compared to narcotic drugs. However, it is a controlled substance due to mild stimulatory properties and cannot be bought or used without a prescription.

In the following sections, I have covered the similarities and differences between phentermine and high-potency narcotics.

So, keep reading to discover how Phentermine affects your brain and if there’s a better OTC alternative for it.

What Are Narcotics?

Narcotics are the substances that induce stupor, relieve pain, and tend to make their users drug dependent. This term generally refers to Schedule I and II drugs, according to Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA).

These are opioid drugs that bind to the brain’s pain receptors, reducing the pain sensation. But these substances also stimulate the brain neurons to create feelings of immense pleasure and euphoria, putting you on a high.

Opioid drugs are illegal owing to their deadly side effects and high risk of drug abuse. However, not all controlled substances are illicit narcotics.

Different drugs have different abuse potentials, so not all controlled substances would make you dependent or addicted. DEA has classified dependency-causing drugs into five drug schedules according to their potency.

Schedule III, IV, and V drugs have low dependency potentials and are used as prescription drugs to treat various diseases.

Is Phentermine A Narcotic? – Here’s Why It Isn’t!

Phentermine formula

No, Phentermine is not a narcotic. It is a Schedule IV with a low dependency and drug abuse potential.

Here is how it is different from narcotics;

It only works to suppress the appetite.

Phentermine is an anorectic drug (drugs that suppress hunger sensation), and that’s what it is mainly used for. Both customer reviews and clinical researches prove its efficacy as an appetite suppressant.

On the other side, narcotics do not suppress appetite. These substances induce sudden feelings of joy and delusion, but they won’t reduce your hunger.

Research also shows that opioids do not affect hunger or thirst.

It is not a painkiller.

Pain relief is a characteristic property of narcotics. These substances bind to opioid receptors in the brain, reducing the sensation of both physical and emotional pain.

That is why many people start taking narcotics to relieve emotional stress!

In some cases, opioids may be given to patients experiencing chronic pain when doctors can find no other way to reduce their suffering.

In contrast, Phentermine does not influence pain receptors. In fact, many users experience backache or abdominal pain after using Phentermine. Likewise, a person shared on Reddit that he experienced shoulder pain after taking Phentermine for 8 weeks.

It is a low-potency stimulant.

Narcotics are highly potent substances. Even a few milligrams are enough to put you on a high.

Especially Schedule I opioids like heroin, methaqualone, and marijuana show extremely high potential for abuse. Thus, these compounds have no medicinal use and are completely banned.

Schedule II drugs like speed, cocaine, and morphine are also highly addictive, but their potency is relatively lesser than Schedule I drugs.

That is why these drugs are sometimes used in treatments (usually as a last option of painkillers when all other treatments have failed). For such uses, these are available with a prescription in the form of low-concentration pills like 5mg/tablet or lesser.

In comparison, the abuse potency of Phentermine is quite low. It comes in the second-last DEA category with respect to abuse potency.

Firstly, it can stimulate only a few sympathetic nerves, not the primary brain neurons, as narcotics do. Hence, this stimulation is not as strong as a drug abuser may be looking for.

That is why phentermine pills are available in higher concentrations. It usually comes in 15mg, 30mg, or 37.8mg tablets or capsules.

No worries if you are still concerned about what Phentermine can do to your brain and nervous system. To make it all clear, I have described the stimulatory nature of Phentermine in detail in the section below;

What Kind Of Stimulant Is Phentermine?

According to research, Phentermine is a sympathomimetic stimulator that triggers sympathetic nerves by mimicking endogenous agonists.

Our nervous system basically consists of two parts; the Central nervous system, CNS (comprising the brain and spinal cord), and the peripheral nervous system, PNS (outside brain and spinal cord).

Now, Sympathetic nerves are a part of PNS that activates in stress conditions, and Phentermine stimulates these nerves, producing stress-related neurotransmitters.

nervous system

Influenced by these neurotransmitters, our body slows down digestive processes and also suppresses cravings for food and amusement.

Is Phentermine Speed?

No, Phentermine is not speed. Speed (aka. the street name for methamphetamine) is a highly potent and addictive drug.

Phentermine is confused with speed as both are amine derivates. However, these substances have different chemical structures, thus, affect brain cells differently.

DEA classifies speed under the Schedule II category.

Hence, it has the highest potential for drug abuse after narcotics like heroin or marijuana. On the other side, the chances of phentermine abuse are much lower, and it usually won’t put you on a high.

Methamphetamine has some anti-obesity properties, but its medicinal use is very limited due to its abusive potential. You can only get its 5 mg oral tablets even with a prescription.

Phentermine, however, is prescribed more often for the treatment of obesity. And phentermine-containing drugs like Adipex-P, Lomaria, and Suprenza are usually more concentrated than approved methamphetamine pills.

Will Phentermine Show Up In A Drug Test?

Yes, Phentermine may appear on some drug tests, giving a fake positive for amphetamine.

It is a methylated amine and closely relates to amphetamines which are excreted from the body through urine. So, a urine test of a phentermine user may show a fake positive for amphetamine due to the chemical resemblance between two amine molecules.

Why is Phentermine Considered A Controlled Substance?

Phentermine is considered a controlled substance due to two reasons.

First off, it is a neural stimulant, causing the release of neurotransmitters and androgenic modifiers. Hence, it may induce drowsiness and disturb normal cognitive functioning if overdosed. You may become dependent on the drug when these stimulatory effects are reinforced through long-term consumption.

Secondly, its chemical nature resembles amphetamines and methamphetamines, Schedule I and II narcotics.

Due to its resemblance with highly potent opioids and psychostimulatory effects, it is considered a controlled substance. US Drug Enforcement Authority ranks it among Schedule IV drugs, inferring that it has mild abuse potency. Food and Drug Administration also approves its anorectic use for 12 weeks only.

However, in some countries like France, Phentermine is considered illegal altogether.

If you are struggling to restrict your calorie intake and lose weight, you don’t necessarily need to rely on stimulatory prescription pills to prevent overeating.

Instead, opt for over-the-counter products that are stimulant-free, safer, and easier to get. Below are the top three OTC alternatives for Phentermine;

What Is The Over-The-Counter Version Of Phentermine?

1. PhenQ Appetite Suppressant

PhenQ bottle tablet

PhenQ is a weight loss supplement from Wolfson brands which is a UK-based producer of fitness supplements.

These pills contain a mixture of hunger-curbing and fat-burning ingredients, offering an all-in-one solution for weight management. Its main components are α-Lacys reset, L-carnitine fumarate, Capsimax powder, Nopal, caffeine, and chromium picolinate.

α-Lacys reset is the component that sets it apart from stimulatory anorexiant. It is a mixture of alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and cysteine.

Both these substances act synergistically to suppress appetite. However, taking PhenQ won’t damage your cognitive functioning because α-Lacys influence the secretion of ghrelin (hunger hormone) instead of producing stress responses.

The next primary ingredient is L-carnitine fumarate which makes your body burn fat more quickly. Due to its fat-melting properties, it is ranked as an excellent anti-obesity agent in about 37 clinical studies.

Nopal cactus extracts and Capsimax powder help you with thermogenic fat-dissolving effects and reduce fat accumulation in the body.

All in all, PhenQ is a great option to go for when you are dieting.

Besides its multiple health benefits, PhenQ also gives you discounts on bulk shopping, free shipping, and a money-back guarantee on its purchase.

2. Phen24

Phen24 bottles and capsules taken by MaxhealthLiving

Phen24 is a one of its kind diet supplement. Each pack contains two different types of pills, one to be consumed during the daytime and the other one to be consumed before bed.

These day and night pills have different formulations optimized according to the functional efficacy of ingredients during the day or night.

Lets’ examine its daytime capsules first.

These contain L-phenylalanine, caffeine, guarana, and cayenne. L-phenylalanine is the appetite-suppressing ingredient in this supplement. Research shows that it minimizes food cravings by reducing the level of plasma ghrelin (a hunger hormone).

The addition of cayenne also helps in reducing appetite.

Caffeine is what makes these capsules “daytime pills” because it gives you an energy burst and helps you stay active throughout the day.

Coming to its night pill, the ingredient list says it contains Glucomannan, Hops extracts, Griffonia, choline bitrate, Thiamine HCl, and green tea extracts.

Glucomannan is a fibrous ingredient that makes you feel full sooner when you take Phen24 before dinner. Hence, the pill will trick you, keeping you from eating a lot of calories.

Results from an eight-week clinical trial show that Glucomannan supplementation leads to a weight loss of up to 5.5 lbs and also reduces cholesterol levels.

Hence, this supplement will not only make you less hungry but also work 24 hours to reduce stubborn fats around your belly.

You can buy it from the official website with a 60-day money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied with the results.

Related: Phen24 vs. PhenQ

3. PhenGold

Phen Gold

PhenGold is another plant-based weight loss supplement. It is produced by Health Nutrition Limited, claiming to be an all-natural and safe weight loss solution.

Its ingredient chart enlists green tea, green coffee, L-theanine, caffeine, cayenne pepper, Vitamin B3, B6, B12, and L-tyrosine.

This formulation makes it an effective fat burner though its appetite-suppressing ability is not as profound as the above two products.

With the first look at its ingredients list, you can tell that PhenGold has a good amount of caffeine. Hence, taking these pills will make you feel more active and focused during the day. Besides an energy boost, caffeine will also help you burn fats quickly. Similarly, L-theanine and catechins (the main component of green tea and green coffee) also have metabolism-boosting effects.

A comparative study concluded that caffeine, catechins, and theanine act synergistically to reduce fat accumulation and slow down the weight gain process.

Cayenne pepper is the main component in its constituents that suppress food cravings. Plus, it also boosts metabolism and helps in shedding those extra pounds. Research conducted by Laval University, Canada, shows that people who eat meals containing cayenne pepper have lesser appetites.

In addition to fat loss, this supplement will also provide you with the health benefits of vitamins.

You can get PhenGold with a 100-day money-back guarantee and complimentary products on bulk purchases.


Phentermine is an anorectic medicine and not a narcotic drug. It stimulates the nervous system to suppress hunger. However, its potency is not as high as illicit narcotics.

Narcotics are opioids that tend to cause stupor even with small doses, and their trade, trafficking, and usage are illegal. These substances do not have any medicinal value either.

In contrast, Phentermine is used in anti-obesity treatments as short-term calorie-restriction aid. It has a low potential of dependence or abuse, requiring long-term usage or overdosing.

To avoid these conditions, Phentermine is considered a controlled substance, and its purchase is only allowed with a prescription issued by an authorized medical practitioner.

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