They also asked her if she previously had high blood pressure. At that time, the lawsuits did not cover PPH. In a letter to Agnes dated August 2, 2002 from the drug company regarding diet drug litigation, it stated "your pulmonary artery pressure is elevated." Agnes did not understand the letter; she didn't know the severity of what it entailed; she had no idea what PPH meant—until now.
"My girlfriend and I started taking Fen-Phen in the early 1990s and we both lost a lot of weight," she says. "I was in my early 30s and I was really healthy except for my weight problem. I definitely didn't have high blood pressure.
"But now I have high blood pressure and huge problems breathing—and I'm only 55. Three years ago, I worked for the post office and I got bronchitis so I finally went to the doctor. Turns out, I had pneumonia. Ever since then my breathing has been really bad. If I get excited, I can hardly catch my breath. I've never smoked and there is no history of respiratory illness in my family.
How can this shortness of breath be explained? I am sure it is because of the PPH. Nobody can give me an explanation. My breathing will be erratic for three or four months then it will be OK. I have undergone several stress tests and the results are borderline.
I talked to my primary care physician about PPH in January and she sent me to a lung specialist and a cardiologist. I went through a bunch of tests including a few stress tests; MRI and ultrasounds. I have sleep apnea now and have to sleep with a machine—I woke up 21 times in my sleep one night and my breathing dropped 80 percent—the lowest is supposed to be 88 percent. I even have to put it on when I take a nap. I'm never in a deep sleep anyway. The machine pushes air into your lungs when you sleep—tubes go in my nose.
My legs also swell. First it was only on my right side and then both sides swelled up so my doctor put me in hospital. My legs were so swollen that I couldn't walk across the floor. I can't eat any salt because I retain so much fluid.
I have been told there is nothing that can be done about PPH and I just have to deal with it. I don't think I can ever work again and definitely have to make sure I don't get excited.
At the time, I thought Fen-Phen was a miracle drug but now I think it is the worst decision I ever made. When I called the American Home Society, they just told me I waited too long to get any compensation. What do they mean by too late? They had no record that I had taken the medication. I tried to tell them who gave me the prescription but they didn't listen. What is too late when it comes to your health?"
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
In 2006, a settlement agreement ruled that class members suffering from PPH could bring suit against Wyeth, the drug maker.
The settlement agreement also contained a provision that stated that Wyeth was not able to assert a statute of limitations claim against a class member who suffered from PPH "unless and until the condition of the class member met the definition of PPH under the settlement agreement".
You are still entitled to join a nationwide class action against pondimin, part of Fen-Phen, or Fen-Phen.