Fen-Phen (fenfluramine and phentermine) was a popular weight loss drug in the 1990’s. It was withdrawn from the U.S. market by its maker in 1997, upon request by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), after it was linked to heart valve damage and primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). It can take 10 to 20 years for Fen-Phen injuries to surface.

Fen-Phen Uses and how it Works

Fen-Phen was used to treat obesity. It was a combination of two appetite suppressants (anorectics), fenfluramine and phentermine. Fenfluramine is a serotonin releasing agent and phentermine is a serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine releasing agent.

Fen-Phen Heart Valve Damage

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in August, 1997, revealed 24 cases of heart valve disease in people taking Fen-Phen. Some of them were taking the drug for as little as one month before symptoms appeared.

That same year, the FDA received 75 additional reports of heart valve disease associated with the drug.

Fen-Phen heart valve injuries require dangerous heart surgery to correct.

Fen-Phen Primary Pulmonary Hypertension

Primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) is also known as pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). In PPH high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs forces the heart to work too hard to pump oxygen through the body. Eventually, the right side of the heart is enlarged.

There is no cure for PPH.

Drug Maker Still Responsible

Pfizer acquired Wyeth in 2009, and in the process it acquired the liability for Fen-Phen injury claims. Pfizer tried to have the lawsuits dismissed by claiming that there was no reliable evidence that Fen-Phen could cause PPH years after discontinuation of use of the drug, but in August, 2012, a U.S. District judge rejected Pfizer’s arguments.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by Fen-Phen you may still have a right to compensation. Please, contact a Fen-Phen injury attorney in your area right away to learn more about your case.