Fen Phen Recalls
The diet drug combination Fen Phen was recalled in September 1997 following the publication of several studies highlighting its link to an increased risk of heart valve disease.
In July of that year, a researcher with the Mayo Clinic uncovered a possible link between heart valve damage and phentermine and fenfluramine, the two components of Fen Phen. Over subsequent months, several additional studies emerged highlighting the link between Fen Phen and damage to the blood vessels (especially in the lungs) and to the heart valves.
One study found that 30% of patients taking Fen Phen had abnormal echocardiograms, even though many had no symptoms. After the manufacturers of Fen Phen issued a recall for fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine, the Food and Drug Administrations recommended that all patients who used these drugs undergo a medical examination in order to look for signs of potential injury.
FDA Bans Herbal Fen Phen Supplements
After signs of the link between Fen Phen and heart problems began to emerge, many patients began to switch to diet supplements that were designed to mimic the effects of these drugs. Marketed as “herbal Fen Phen,” many of these supplements combined the ingredients ma huang, a form of ephedra, and St. John’s wort, and were available without a prescription.
However, supplements containing ephedra were subsequently linked to thousands of cases of side effects, including at least 155 deaths. In November 1997, the FDA issued a warning about herbal Fen Phen, stating that supplements containing ephedrine had been associated with cases of high blood pressure, irregular heart beats, heart attack, stroke and death.
Following these reports and the deaths of two professional athletes who were taking ephedra supplements, the FDA banned herbal Fen Phen and other supplements containing ma huang or other forms of ephedra. The agency stated that in addition to safety concerns about the supplements, there was no indication that these products were effective at helping consumer to shed pounds.
The law firm of Hissey Kientz is now investigating claims involving consumers who experienced serious or fatal injuries after using products containing ephedra or ma huang. If you have used supplements with ephedra and suffered heart attack, stroke, primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), primary arterial hypertension (PAH) or other side effects, please contact us to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at (866) 275-4454, or by filling out a free case evaluation form to the right of this page.