Apetamin, which contains the antihistamine cyproheptadine, is an appetite stimulant unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
People who need to gain weight quickly may sometimes search online for certain dietary supplements.
The FDA does not have the authority to regulate these dietary products. However, since this product contains the prescription drug cyproheptadine, it would be illegal for someone without the appropriate license to sell this product.
Therefore, people should avoid purchasing this product.
Keep reading to learn more about the safety, legality, and benefits of Apetamin.
Apetamin is a supplement designed to help people gain weight. It contains cyproheptadine, lysine, and other vitamins. The following table lists the ingredients and doses in grams (g) and milligrams (mg) per 5 milliliters (ml) of Apetamin syrup.
The manufacturer of Apetamin is TIL Healthcare, a company based in Chennai, India. However, there is no regulation of the drug in the United States.
As such, people need to purchase this supplement online. Buying Apetamin or any other pharmaceutical product from the internet carries risks.
The FDA has approved the use of cyproheptadine, the main ingredient in Apetamin, for:
- seasonal or year-round allergies
- non-allergic runny nose
- allergic inflammation of the conjunctiva — the outer layer of the eye — due to inhaling allergens or foods
- mild, uncomplicated allergic skin reactions
- cold hives
- anaphylactic reactions, alongside epinephrine
- allergic reactions caused by blood or plasma
Although the FDA has not approved cyproheptadine for appetite stimulation, the reported side effects include stimulation of appetite and weight gain.
Cyproheptadine, the active ingredient in Apetamin, is a first-generation antihistamine drug. Doctors and pharmacists rarely recommend cyproheptadine hydrochloride for allergies and hives, since newer antihistamines cause less drowsiness and fewer side effects.
Cyproheptadine competes with histamine, the chemical that causes allergic reactions, to treat allergic reactions. Unlike other antihistamines, cyproheptadine also blocks serotonin receptors. Blocking serotonin at the appetite center of the hypothalamus may explain how it affects appetite.
Currently, the FDA does not approve the use of Apetamin in the U.S. Some research states that cyproheptadine, Apetamin’s main ingredient, may be safe and well-tolerated in different populations looking to gain weight by appetite stimulation. Cyproheptadine is available with a prescription.
The most common side effect of cyproheptadine is drowsiness. In addition, a study in ACG Case Reports Journal reported liver toxicity in a person who purchased Apetamin online.
Other side effects of cyproheptadine may include:
- low blood pressure
- frequent urination
- dryness of the nose or throat
A study appearing in Appetite investigated the use of cyproheptadine to stimulate appetite and body weight. The researchers analyzed 46 articles across 21 different treatment populations. Of these, 39 studies demonstrated that cyproheptadine results in increased weight gain.
However, studies involving people living with malignant and progressive diseases — such as human immunodeficiency disorder and cancer — that affect appetite and weight showed minimal to no benefit. The most common side effect reported was drowsiness, while the participants generally had a high tolerance for cyproheptadine.
Further studies are necessary to confirm these findings.
As Apetamin contains the prescription drug cyproheptadine, it is illegal for someone without the appropriate license to sell it within the U.S. People who purchase Apetamin buy the product from potentially unsafe websites and social media outlets.
Although cyproheptadine has some FDA-approved uses, doctors must prescribe it for people to obtain the drug.
A person should avoid using products that contain cyproheptadine without a doctor’s prescription. Products containing this substance have not gone through extensive FDA approval testing and can be dangerous.
Manufacturers of unapproved products may include ingredients not found on the product label or add them in inappropriate doses. People should note that taking an unapproved drug is dangerous.
TIL Healthcare also produce other appetite stimulants:
- Apetamin P
- Calpitone (Cyprocal), available in tablet or syrup form
- Cyprocat (Cyproforce), available in tablet or syrup form
These products also contain cyproheptadine and are not FDA-approved for use in the U.S.
Other appetite stimulants that doctors may recommend for people with low body weight or reduced appetite include:
- synthetic progesterone, such as megestrol and medroxyprogesterone acetate
The most widely used appetite stimulants are synthetic progesterone and corticosteroids. Anamorelin is not yet clinically available but may soon offer another method for appetite stimulation.
In a small 4-week study, 13 out of 18 participants with cancer-related anorexia noticed an improved appetite when taking tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC.
Other drugs that may work as appetite stimulants, such as mirtazapine and olanzapine, demonstrate inconsistent results. Researchers need to study these drugs further.
Apetamin is a drug used for appetite stimulation and weight gain that contains a prescription medication and different vitamins.
India-based company TIL Healthcare manufacture Apetamin. However, the FDA does not approve its use in the U.S, and it cannot regulate its sale and distribution.
People can buy Apetamin through online websites and social media outlets. However, purchasing this product online carries some risks.
Although cyproheptadine may be effective and safe for appetite stimulation and weight gain, people should speak with a doctor to find the most appropriate treatment.