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 All About Fen-Phen

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Posts : 152
Join date : 2010-10-08

PostSubject: All About Fen-Phen   Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:09 pm

In the early 1990's, the United States' diet craze and quest for thinness found a new drug of choice, Fen-Phen, guaranteed to help users finally lose weight. Two drugs, fenfluramine and phentermine, created the Fen-Phen cocktail. Fenfluramine works in the body by releasing extra amounts of serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satiety and fullness. Phentermine, a stimulant, would counteract the drowsiness inducing qualities of a surge of serotonin. The two drugs had fewer side effects when taken together than when taken individually. Although America had not been diet drug crazy since the amphetamine use of the 1960's, Fen-Phen seemed like a different sort of weight loss aid. A 1983 study over the course of four years found that obese patients (those weighing 200 pounds or more) lost 32 pounds on average when taking the drug cocktail. This research, along with the medical community's support and users' results, allowed Fen-Phen to dominate the diet drug market in the 1990's.

In 1996 alone, there were 18 million prescriptions written for Fen-Phen. American Home Products, the company responsible for manufacturing Fen-Phen, made Fen-Phen available to the public without proper warnings and side effect information. In April 1996, American Home Products also began producing Redux, a diet drug that was approved to sell despite a 5-3 vote by a scientific panel against its approval. Within a year and a half after its approval, 2.5 million prescriptions for Redux had already been written for dieters.

In 1997, the Mayo Clinic released a study concerning the serious side effects and permanent health problems resulting from the use of Fen-Phen. The most common side effect of the drug was heart valve defects, more specifically aortic and mitral valves. The heart problems caused by Fen-Phen would require risky heart surgery. Other complications included primary pulmonary hypertension, a devastating disease in which blood pressure in the pulmonary artery rises to dangerous levels and creates additional cardiac stress. Soon after, in September 1997, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pulled the diet drugs from the market. By this point, American Home Products had made about $200 million from cashing in on the diet craze.
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