What is Herbal Fen-Phen?
In September 1997, the diet drug combination Fen Phen was taken off the market after it was linked to an increased risk of heart valve damage and primary pulmonary hypertension. Following the Fen Phen recall, some companies began marketing diet supplements to consumers under the name “herbal Fen Phen” as a natural alternative to the weight loss drugs.
Although herbal Fen Phen is sold in a variety of formulations, most versions of the supplement contain some combination of the ingredients ephedra (ma huang) and St. John’s wort. The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning to consumers in November 1997 that not only is there no guarantee that herbal Fen Phen is safe or effective at treating obesity, but that ingredients in these products may lead to injuries.
Ephedra, or ma huang, is a substance which contains the chemical ephedrine, a powerful stimulant with properties similar to amphetamines. In 2004, the FDA banned all products containing ephedra, including those made with ma huang, after receiving reports of side effects from these substances, including at least 100 deaths.
Some herbal Fen Phen products may also contain a compound known as 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which is closely related to the dietary supplement tryptophan. In 1990, tryptophan was recalled because of a link to more than 1,500 cases of a blood disorder called eosinophilia myalgia syndrome.
The law firm of Hissey Kientz is investigating cases involving consumers who suffered injury or illness after using herbal Fen Phen products, including those containing ephedra. If you or a loved one have used herbal Fen Phen and suffered stroke, heart attack, primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), primary arterial hypertension (PAH) or other injures 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.