A judge in 2012 ruled there was sufficient scientific evidence to demonstrate that PPH can remain latent and unobserved for onwards of 10 years following a full stop to the drug. For Marty and likely thousands of other Fen-Phen consumers, they may still file a Fen-Phen claim. It is likely that thousands of people have recently been diagnosed with PPH.
Back in the early ’90s, doctors were writing Fen-Phen drug prescriptions like it was an over-the-counter drug; all you had to do was ask. Marty didn’t even have to ask - he sat on a hospital board and his cardiologist buddy suggested he take the weight loss med to shed 10 lbs.
“I told my fellow board member that I wanted to lose a few pounds and he told me this way I would lose weight fast,” says Marty. “In retrospect, I should never have taken the med and he shouldn’t have prescribed it.”
Marty, age 52, only took Fen-Phen for a few months, but he thinks that was long enough to cause damage. About a year after he stopped taking it, Marty noticed that his heart was racing and palpitations were frequent. One incident last year put him in the hospital.
“I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest,” he says.
The ER doctor told Marty that he was suffering from atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, which means the heart can beat too fast, too slow or with an irregular rhythm. Atrial fibrillation can damage the heart valve but the symptoms can often show up many years after taking the drug.
“The ER doctor wanted to reset my heart by defibrillation; he told me it was the only successful treatment,” says Marty, “but my blood pressure was too high so I was hooked up to IV to lower it. And I didn’t want my heart reset, even though I was in a lot of pain.”
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Marty has no history of blood pressure problems and there is no history of heart disease in his family. Marty says he was the “picture of health” in his 30s. But in the past few months, the symptoms have gotten worse. “It’s especially bad at night when I try to fall asleep, and just about every night,” he adds. “I could be sitting at my desk working and my heart will start beating really hard. I get anxious and it just feels like my heart is going to jump out of my chest again.
“In 2002, a mobile law firm came to town and I met them in a hotel room. Someone put me on an EKG machine and monitored me for a few minutes and I didn’t hear back. I am pretty sure I would hear back from a Fen-Phen attorney now.”