Apetamin is a vitamin syrup that’s marketed as a weight gain supplement. It was developed by TIL Healthcare PVT, a pharmaceutical company based in India. While the product is sold widely across Africa, Asia, Russia, and Central and Latin America, it has not been sanctioned for safe consumption by the FDA or the UK equivalent, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.
One of the key ingredients in Apetamin is cyproheptadine hydrochloride, a sedative antihistamine used for allergies available in the US and the UK by prescription only. It is the cyproheptadine hydrochloride that is responsible for the effect of Apetamin.
How does it work?
Apetamin may promote weight gain because it contains cyproheptadine hydrochloride, a powerful antihistamine whose side effects include increased appetite. Though it’s unclear how this substance increases appetite, several theories exist.
First, cyproheptadine hydrochloride appears to increase levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in underweight children. IGF-1 is a type of hormone linked to weight gain.
In addition, it seems to act on the hypothalamus, a small section of your brain that regulates appetite, food intake, hormones, and many other biological functions.
Still, more studies are needed to understand how cyproheptadine hydrochloride may increase appetite and lead to weight gain.
In addition, Apetamin syrup contains the amino acid l-lysine, which has been linked to increased appetite in animal studies. Nevertheless, human studies are needed.
Is it effective for weight gain?
Though research on Apetamin and weight gain is lacking, several studies found that cyproheptadine hydrochloride, its main ingredient, may aid weight gain in people who have lost their appetite and are at risk of malnutrition.
Additionally, a 12-week study in 16 children and adolescents with cystic fibrosis (a genetic disorder that may feature a loss of appetite) noted that taking cyproheptadine hydrochloride daily led to significant increases in weight, compared to a placebo.
A review of 46 studies in people with varying conditions observed that the substance was well tolerated and helped underweight individuals gain weight. However, it did not help people with progressive diseases, such as HIV and cancer.
While cyproheptadine may benefit those at risk of malnutrition, it could lead to excessive weight gain in overweight people or those with a healthy weight.
For example, a study in 499 people from the Democratic Republic of Congo revealed that 73% of participants were misusing cyproheptadine and at risk of obesity.
In short, while cyproheptadine hydrochloride may help underweight people gain weight, it may put the average person at risk of obesity, which is a significant problem worldwide.
What Happens When You Stop Taking Apetamin?
When you stop taking Apetamin, the weight gained while using the product is often lost as the cyproheptadine in the body is eliminated. Fluid retention and the increased appetite will also decrease as the Apetamin tapered down and discontinued. This is usually accompanied by unwanted side effects like nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, malaise and very bad mood swings according to users who stopped taking Apetamin.
What other side effects can Apetamin cause?
The side effects of apetamin pills and syrup arise mainly from its active ingredient of cyproheptadine hydrochloride. According to the U.S. Library of Medicine, those side effects are:
- Dry mouth
- Dry sinuses and throat
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Chest congestion
- Excitement or hyperactivity (particularly in children)
- Muscle weakness
Rarer, but more severe, side effects of apetamin and cyproheptadine hydrochloride include:
- Difficulty urinating (despite drinking water)
- Distorted vision
- Excessive nervousness
In the worst-case scenario, the use of apetamin or unprescribed cyproheptadine hydrochloride can lead to liver toxicity and liver failure. Excessive weight gain or obesity is also a risk for those who overuse apetamin.