Generally, we suggest avoiding companies that are unclear about their product or have any internal inconsistencies in their marketing, ingredient list or nutritional facts. However, this also extends to companies with shocking copywriting – Duromine is one of these and exemplifies the poor communication that plagues foreign supplement companies. Whilst there’s nothing inherently wrong with these companies, we are concerned that the different legalities across different territories has caused some dangerous compounds to be present in many of the supplements we have reviewed.
What concerns us about Duromine is the suggestion that it used to be an anti-obesity treatment until being scrapped 15 years ago due to negative effects on cardiovascular health. Whilst we don’t always agree with the authority of all doctors without scrutiny, if an anti-obesity drug has been completely removed from use then there is likely a genuine problem with its application. As a prescription-only medicine, we have serious reservations about anyone using this supplement – though it is important to provide a fair review so we know why someone should or should not use them.
What is it?
As far as we can tell, Duromine is another name for the prescription-only anti-obesity drug known as phentermine. This was removed from circulation in the UK due to the interactions with numerous other drugs and the potential to cause severe pulmonary hypertension and other heart problems. Among those with histories of poor heart health, it may prove fatal – these are incredibly reasonable factors in the decision to pull the product from prescription use.
At present Duromine is not prescribed in the UK due to the effects on heart health, with the active ingredient in its original ‘fen-phen’ – fenfluramine – being deterious to the health of the valves that regulate heart health. This means that they may develop an irregular, or arrhythmic, heartbeat. This can cause severe increases or losses in blood pressure and cardiac muscle health dependent on how it affects the individual.
Does it work?
Aside from the serious heart complications, fen-phen was initially so popular because of the effectiveness on body fat and weight loss in general. As a neuromuscular stimulant and amphetamine, it increases various mechanisms that have relatively high calorie demands: increasing the energy demands of the body is one way to force the body into a caloric deficit and reduce the concentration and maintenance of bodyfat. In addition to this, it was classified as an “appetite-reducing” drug, with much acclaim – the problem with this is that it is the result of the same dopaminergic pathway that is activated in drugs such as methamphetamine and other stimulants, which can lead to long-term damage to hunger sensations.
Some estimates put the effectiveness of duromine/phentermine at 15% extra weight loss, though it proves to be ineffective after the initial 4 to 12 week period. It has been suggested that, as with many similar stimulant-based diet pills, the downregulation of the compound and its uptake sites is the cause for this drop-off. This means that it could only be cycled or the dosage would need to be increased – clearly, with the adverse health effects we do not want to increase the dosages above the already-risky supplementary levels.
We also have serious concerns about the target market for this drug, given the heart strain that it can induce. The marketing for duromine in particular suggests that this is an anti-obesity drug, though we are curious as to why this is when the known effects of both duromine and chronic obesity are excessive stress on the cardiac tissues. Those who have become obese are already at an elevated risk of heart attack due to various comorbidities: diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, etc. To add the risk of aortic valve damage on top of this seems unbelievably irresponsible and medically unsound. There may be some sense in which it alleviates the risks of obesity by reducing bodyweight/bodyfat, but the long-lasting damages seem to us to be at least as severe as those of obesity.
In the US, duromine and other phentermine analogues are controlled substance. Clearly there is no controversy in suggesting that the drug works – but there are huge disadvantages associated with it. Our concerns, then, are for the possibility of damages and the other practical cautions necessary when dealing with this product.
How dangerous IS duromine?
We have established that there are some serious concerns to be raised about duromine and its efficacy and safety as a weight-loss aid. Clearly, some individuals are still curious and many people have looked to the black market to acquire the drug. The question remains: how dangerous is phentermine/duromine? What are the odds of suffering serious damage?
Firstly, it is important to note that effectiveness and side effects vary dependent on the individual, their health and their tolerance to stimulants. However, longitudinal studies suggested that 30% of individuals who had consumed phentermine as part of fen-phen continued to suffer from arterial valve problems as many as 24 months after use . This means that the odds of chronic damage are just under 1 in 3, with short-term damage being even more likely.
The debate surrounding phentermine and its efficacy as a diet pill is bound up with the negative reputation of fen-phen, however, and there are certain studies suggesting that phentermine itself is not the main cause of these problems. For example, recent publications in the lancet suggest that there are still positive effects that can be gained from supplementation in the correct form and dosage . The combination of phentermine with topiramate is considered to be considerably safer than fen-phen, with additional benefits to various health markers such as blood pressure and diabetes in obese populations.
One of the ironically cruel factors in the use of Duromine is that – as a form of phentermine – it is actually likely to have a negative synergistic effect with other prescription medications for hypothyroidism. This means that those who take hypothyroid medication (to balance weight and other functions) and consume duromine in an attempt to compensate for this excess body fat would increase their likelihood of suffering serious cardiovascular illness.
How much can we say about duromine?
As we mentioned in our first impression, the problems with foreign laboratories and poor copywriting is the failure to provide clear, informative details on the products being sold and their constituents. Whilst duromine does provide a broken-English disclaimer on their website, they do not stipulate the dosage or chemical structure of their product.
The implications for this are huge – whilst we could have provided some balanced discussion about the health benefits and disadvantages of a phenterine-topiramate compound, we cannot even begin to defend the use of fen-phen or similar compounds. There is no real case to make: the consumption of drugs that cause cardiac health problems for as little benefit as a reduction in bodyfat is crazy. Especially when we consider how easy it is to lose weight through the combination of proper nutrition and physical activity. Whilst different people have different motivations for weight loss, we recognise the main role of dietary aids to be the improvement of health, longevity and quality of life first and foremost – duromine appears to have a detrimental effect on all of these!
This review has been one of our shortest and most one-sided so far. We try to remain objective and balanced on all of the supplements and dietary aids that we review, but we struggle to take duromine seriously – the website acknowledges not only the dangers of the compound but the removal of it from the market, whilst simultaneously selling this product to customers. This is not only a performative contradiction but a clear disregard for the wellbeing of customers: they are aware of the negative effects of their products, and the possible interactions that they might have with compounds as mundane as caffeine, but they continue to market these as 100% satisfaction.
We believe that duromine is against the very reason that supplementation exists, by actively reducing the health of vital parts of the body like the heart. We know that there are psychological and aesthetic reasons to want to lose weight, but these should never be achieved at the cost of a risk of actual death and chronic illness. With coronary heart disease already being the largest cause of death in the English-speaking world, it seems irresponsible to sell these amphetamines under the guise of dietary aids. We believe in freedom to make informed decisions about your own body, but the marketing and classification of these products should clearly reflect what they are: black market approaches at self-medicating obesity, a problem that can be solved through changes in lifestyle and diet!
We’re going to give Duromine an emphatic 0 out of 5, for the blatant failure to produce enough details to provide customers with informed decisions, as well as the provision of a supplement that actively puts customers at risk.
Emily has spent the last 8 years comparing, reviewing and analyzing ingredients in the supplements industry. She has worked extensively with dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers to separate fact from fiction and help people achieve their fitness goals. In her free time she works and enjoys the outdoors with her husband and 2 children.