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Physicians Who Treat Obesity Respond to the News of Bubba Smith's Overdose

DENVER, Nov. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) is sad to learn of the death of Bubba Smith.  Our condolences go out to his family, friends and fans.  The recent news reports regarding the fact that the medication phentermine was a contributing factor to his death are concerning and bring to the forefront the importance of using such medications as prescribed.

While the specific details of Bubba Smith's overdose have not been released, we feel that it is important to understand phentermine's role in weight loss.  Phentermine is a safe and effective medication that can assist in the treatment of the chronic disease of obesity when prescribed in conjunction with a comprehensive weight loss program that includes proper diet, exercise, and behavior modification.  

In most cases, the risk of not treating obesity far outweighs the risk of adverse events from taking phentermine.  It is the job of the bariatric physician to identify and evaluate those rare circumstances in which the risk of taking phentermine is higher than leaving the obesity untreated.  In Bubba Smith's case, it appears from media reports that he suffered from heart disease, atherosclerosis and uncontrolled hypertension, and the ASBP expects these diseases to be taken into consideration when phentermine is prescribed.  

Possible adverse effects from phentermine include high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, palpitations, dry mouth and insomnia.  Most often these effects are minor and the medication is well tolerated as long as it is taken as prescribed.  However, appropriate monitoring by an expert physician is necessary to ensure that the medication is safe to use.  For further information about phentermine please speak with your healthcare provider.

About the ASBP

Founded in 1950, the ASBP is the oldest medical association dedicated to the non-surgical treatment of obesity and associated diseases. The ASBP is a collaborative organization that provides its members practical information and business tools to implement a successful medical bariatric practice. For more information about the ASBP, visit

SOURCE American Society of Bariatric Physicians
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