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Living with obesity takes a toll physically, emotionally and financially, and one-third of Americans suffer its consequences. It’s not surprising to learn that when the anti-obesity medication Fen-Phen (consisting of two drugs: fenfluramine and phentermine) hit the market in the 1990s, overweight individuals enthusiastically sought out the new pill that gave hope for a slimmer body and a changed life forever.
Initial concerns were expressed in 1994 about the drug and its potential for increased risk of pulmonary hypertension. But no action was taken until 1996, when a 23-fold increase in pulmonary hypertension was discovered in a study by The New England Journal of Medicine. Later that year, a woman developed heart problems after using the drug for just a few months and subsequently died. Other reports about rare valvular disease in women taking Fen-Phen surfaced after that.
The FDA requested a Fen-Phen market withdrawal in September 1997. Thousands of product liability lawsuits were filed on the behalf of Fen-Phen victims, and, as a result, the maker of Fen-Phen set aside 2.1 billion dollars to cover lawsuit costs.
The once widely popular diet drug was marketed under several names, including:
The most serious side effect of Fen-Phen is a condition called Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) which is 25% more likely in patients using Fen-Phen than those who haven’t used the drug. Some of the symptoms of PPH are:
Fen-Phen side effects are difficult to diagnose and require a doctor’s review of patient’s medical history, family history and drug use.
If you have suffered an injury from taking Fen-Phen, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages form a defective drug lawsuit. The attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers can review your claim and advise you on the best way to proceed.
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