Dangers of Fen Phen
>Heart Valve Defects
>Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
is the common name for the drug containing either pondimin (fenfluramine)
or redux (dexfenfluramine), and taken in combination with phentermine
(an amphetimine-like drug). Essentially, fen-phen acts to alter
the levels of serotonin in the brain that effectively block the
impulses that tell us we’re hungry. Because of this, fen-phen
was used to help people lose weight. By affecting the serotonin
levels in the brain, fen-phen can cause primary pulmonary hypertension,
heart valve problems, and neuropsychological damage to the brain.
is known to cause problems with the aortic and mitral valves. When
these valves are impaired, they can cause blood to be regurgitated
into the ventricle and left atrium. The symptoms of heart valve
disease may be subtle---existent in the presence of shortness of
breath and chest pain. Treatment can include medication, a valvoplasty,
or a repair of the damaged heart valves and/or heart valve replacement
surgery. This condition often requires long term heart monitoring
pulmonary hypertension (PPH) is a rare disease that has no known
cause that results in the progressive narrowing of the blood vessels
of the lungs. This, in turn, leads to high blood pressure in these
blood vessels and can eventually lead to heart failure. Secondary
pulmonary hypertension (SPH) is the result of other types of lung
disease, abnormal breathing processes or heart disease.
use of fenfluramine (and derivatives) and dexfenfluramine has been
found to increase the risk of developing primary pulmonary hypertension,
especially when the usage lasts for more than three months. Studies
estimate that treatment with certain appetite suppressant drugs
increases the risk of developing PPH from 1 to 28 cases (per million
persons treated in one year).
symptoms of primary pulmonary hypertension may be very minor, and
diagnosis can be delayed for several years until symptoms worsen.
Typical symptoms may include:
fainting, and weakness
lips and skin
is often difficult to detect primary pulmonary hypertension in a
routine medical examination. Even when the disease has progressed,
the signs and symptoms may be confused with other conditions that
affect the heart and the lungs. Primary pulmonary hypertension is
diagnosed only after several possible causes of pulmonary hypertension
are excluded. Typically, additional tests are needed to positively
diagnose primary pulmonary hypertension.
is the common name for the combination of the drugs pondimin
(fenfluramine), redux (dexfenfluramine) and phentermine
prognosis for patients with primary pulmonary hypertension can cover
a wide spectrum. Many patients report that lifestyle changes allow
them to perform many of their day-to-day affairs. The median period
of survival is three years after diagnosis, although the survival
rate is generally longer for those patients without heart failure
and for those patients diagnosed after 40.
condition is treated with a number of drugs that work to cure or
halt the progression of this disease, although they may only help
to relieve certain symptoms. Some patients take vasodilators, which
help to dilate the blood vessels in the lungs and help reduce the
blood pressure in them. In addition, anticoagulants may be used
to decrease the tendency of the blood to clot in the lungs. Although
medication helps certain patients, patients with severe primary
pulmonary hypertension may require and be candidates for a lung
or heart-lung transplant.
you have taken either fen-phen or redux for more than three months
and have any shortness of breath, chest pain or unusual fatigue,
the Federal Drug Administration and the American Board of Cardiology
recommend that individuals undergo an echocardiogram to detect for
the possibility of medical problems.
damage is difficult to determine because physicians are unable to
sample and analyze human brain cells. If there is serious concern
over neuropsychological damage for symptoms such as cognitive disturbance,
memory loss, mood swings, behavioral changes, psychotic breakdowns,
or depression, patients should consult a neuro-specialist.