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August 23, 1947

THE MECHANISM OF AMPHETAMINE-INDUCED LOSS OF WEIGHT: A Consideration of the Theory of Hunger and Appetite

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Physiology, Northwestern Universtiy Medical School.

JAMA. 1947;134(17):1468-1475. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880340022005

It is generally agreed that the administration of amphetamine ("benzedrine") facilitates the reduction of weight. This effect of the drug was first reported in 1937, when patients receiving amphetamine for other purposes were observed to lose weight.1 Since that time a number of papers have appeared in which the drug has been reported to be of value in the management of obesity.2 However, it has not been demonstrated by controlled experiments that the drug actually causes a reduction of body weight.

The mechanism by which the drug apparently facilitates the loss of weight has not been settled. All the possible mechanisms have been suggested in the literature and are summarized in the following outline.

The drug acts to facilitate the loss of weight:

  1. By increasing the expenditure of energy

    • by increasing the basal metabolism as does dinitrophenol or

    • by increasing muscular activity by