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Preludin (phenmetrazine)

Preludin (phenmetrazine): Preludin was an amphetamine-like drug used as an appetite suppressant in the 1960s. However, it was discontinued due to its potential for abuse and addiction.

Preludin was a widely abused amphetamine-like weight loss drug from the 1960s.
Era of Discovery


Mechanism of Action

Amphetamine-like drug that suppresses appetite

History of Use in the United States

Used as appetite suppressant in 1960s

Benefit of Weight Loss Agent or Medication

Weight loss due to appetite suppression

Possible Side Effects

Addiction and potential for abuse

Current Regulatory Status in US


Preludin: A Historical Overview and Its Controversial Legacy

Preludin, known generically as phenmetrazine, is a stimulant drug that has seen quite a controversial history. While it holds a significant place in the annals of weight loss medication, its story is one marked by both medical promise and the potential for misuse.

Phenmetrazine was first synthesized in the late 1950s, aiming to provide a safer alternative to amphetamines, which were used extensively for weight loss but had severe side effects and potential for addiction. In 1957, phenmetrazine was approved by the FDA and marketed under the brand name Preludin. This medication functioned as an appetite suppressant, acting on the central nervous system to promote a feeling of satiety and reduce caloric intake.

Although Preludin was initially received well for its effectiveness, it soon became clear that it bore similar risks to amphetamines. Despite its promising start, it was not long before phenmetrazine started showing its darker side. In the 1960s, it became increasingly apparent that Preludin had a high potential for abuse and addiction. The drug induced a euphoric effect, leading to its misuse as a recreational drug.

Furthermore, Preludin was associated with a number of health risks, including cardiovascular issues, mood disturbances, and even psychosis in severe cases. It became infamous in the United Kingdom when it was discovered that the drug was widely misused by individuals in the music industry, including the Beatles, during the 1960s, leading to its nickname, "Beatle's Diet Pills."

Given these concerns, the use of Preludin was severely curtailed by the late 1970s. The DEA classified phenmetrazine as a Schedule II drug, denoting a high potential for abuse. Today, Preludin is no longer marketed or available for prescription.

Despite its removal from the market, the story of Preludin serves as an important lesson in the weight loss medication landscape. It highlights the delicate balance between the benefits of weight loss and the potential for misuse and adverse health effects. It underscores the critical importance of rigorous clinical research and regulatory oversight in ensuring the safety of such medications.

In summary, Preludin, or phenmetrazine, stands as a cautionary tale in the history of weight loss medication. While it served a purpose during its time, its misuse and potential for harm remind us of the careful consideration needed when developing and prescribing weight loss drugs. Today, the focus is on finding safe, effective, and sustainable solutions for managing obesity, with an understanding of the lessons learned from drugs like Preludin.

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