"I took Fen-Phen as prescribed by my doctor, from 1991 to 1995," Shannon said. "Now I have heart problems, the right side of my chest hurts, as well as my lungs and my back. I can't get my breath. I have a lot of problems..."
Shannon took herself off the diet drug because she couldn't sleep while she was taking it. "I'd work a double shift some days, but I couldn't get any rest--it kept me awake," she said.
Shannon lost a lot of weight while taking the Fen-Phen. "It killed my appetite, I was never hungry. I lost all the weight I needed to," she said. "I would walk to work, and home. I was always full of energy. I had no idea that the drug was harming me."
In 2000, Shannon went in to the hospital for a hysterectomy. "I came out of the hospital having been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, and Cushing's disease, in addition to having the hysterectomy," she said. "They tested my heart and found heart problems. One of the doctors said it was likely due to the Fen-Phen, but my cardiologist will not put anything in writing about this. So I took it upon myself to find out as much as I could on the internet.
One of the things I saw on the internet about Fen-Phen is that it can affect your teeth. My gums and my teeth are a mess. My parents always made sure my teeth were well taken care of, when I was a child, and I continued to take good care of them as an adult. But today I have no upper teeth left, and I'm sure this is connected with the Fen-Phen. I never did any recreational drugs; I took nothing except what my doctor prescribed for me. Fen-Phen was the only diet pill I've ever taken. "
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Shannon wants people to know what happened to her. She wants to warn people, and one person in particular. "I have a teenage daughter, and I have told her that she should never take diet drugs--just look what happened to me," she said. "I pray to God that she doesn't take any diet drugs. I wouldn't recommend that anyone take any diet pills, they can really damage you.
I had no health problems before I started taking this drug. Every doctor's record will show that I was in perfectly good health before 1991." But it's not just the physical toll, Shannon suffers from depression. "I used to work all the time, and now I can't work at all."