En Español [FEN PHEN HPP]
Although Fen-Phen was first withdrawn from the market in 2004 (and again in 2006) due to its association with Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH), heart valve problems, and neurotoxicity of the brain, Fen-Phen diet pills containing ephedra are still sold over-the-counter, mainly in health food stores. Consequently, PPH and Fen-phen cases are increasing. As well, many people who took prescription Fen-Phen diet pills years ago have recently been diagnosed with PPH.
PPH, PAH and Fen-Phen
Since 1994, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received and investigated over 800 reports of adverse events associated with the use of products containing ephedra, namely Fen-phen. One report states that at least 150 deaths and numerous incidents of heart attacks, stroke, and dangerous spikes in high blood pressure have been associated with Fen-phen diet pills.
Reports included Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH)--now known as PAH (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension), an incurable and potentially life threatening lung disorder in which the blood pressure in the pulmonary artery of the heart rises far above normal levels for no apparent reason.
What is Ephedra and Ephedrine?
Appetite suppressants containing ephedra, including the popular Fen-phen, were used for weight loss and enhancing sports performance. Ephedra is found in desert regions in central Asia and other parts of the world where the dried greens of the plant are used medicinally. The active ingredient in ephedra is ephedrine, a chemical stimulant that's similar to amphetamine. Manufacturers contended that these medicines were safe when taken as directed.
Ephedra was sold and used in many nutritional supplements marketed for weight loss and sports performance, as well as Chinese medicines in the United States up until these supplements were finally banned in 2006 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ephedra, often referred to as "herbal fen-phen" is still on the market.
Primary Pulmonary Hypertension is an incurable condition that progresses over time—many people who took Fen-phen, in same cases more than a decade ago, have recently displayed symptoms of PPH.
Several years ago there was a nationwide class action against Wyeth [the company that bought American Home Products, the maker of Fen-phen] but it only encompassed mitral and aortic valve regurgitation. PPH claims were excluded from the class action but now people have brought about PPH claims independent of the class.
In September 2012, Pfizer lost a bid to have claims regarding Fen-phen dismissed. Those claims alleged Fen-phen caused persistent pulmonary hypertension more than 10 years after the drug was last used. This means patients could have developed PPH since the original Fen-phen settlement was announced and may be eligible to file a lawsuit.
Patients who previously filed lawsuits for Fen-Phen related heart valve damage are not precluded from filing a suit for PPH related to Fen-Phen use, nor are they barred by the same statute of limitations that applies to PPH related heart valve damage. With a PPH claim, generally your statute of limitations will start when you are first diagnosed; it is not necessarily time-sensitive due to Fen-phen's withdrawal from the market.
Along with possible lawsuits being investigated against the drug company Wyeth (that bought American Home Products), Interneuron Pharmaceuticals, and others, additional lawsuits may be brought against doctors and weight loss centers who prescribed Fen-Phen, Pondamin, Redux, Adipex, Ionamin and other diet drugs. These parties may face negligence and malpractice lawsuits since it is alleged that the drug makers did not fully test the drugs before marketing and the doctors prescribed the diet drugs with awareness of the dangerous side effects.
If you took a food supplement containing ephedra and have experienced symptoms such as excessive fatigue; difficulty in breathing; dizziness; fainting and weakness, ask your doctor to test for PPH. Many people who first experience PPH symptoms may not relate them to drug use.
PPH, PAH and Fen-Phen Legal HelpIf you or a loved one has been diagnosed with PPH or PAH after taking Fen-Phen please click the link below to submit your complaint to a lawyer for a free case evaluation.
Last updated on Mar-14-14