Fen-Phen is an informal name of a combination of two drugs used as a combined obesity treatment in the 90s of the last century. Fen-Phen name consists of the first letters of anorectic drugs – Fenfluramine (Fen-) and Phentermine (-Phen).
Each of these drugs was approved as a short-term monotherapy of obesity. However, in many US diet centers and obesity clinics, physicians recommended their patients to use Fenfluramine in combination with Phentermine.
The combination of Phentermine and Fenfluramine (Fen-Phen) provided more rapid weight loss than the use of each of these drugs separately. Very rapid weight loss was achieved by the fact that Fen-Phen has burnt fat deposits even without significant physical loads (during night sleep as well).
Many US physicians have known that long-term studies of Fen-Phen safety were not conducted. Thus, writing a prescription for Fen-Phen, they could suppose that such combination therapy of obesity can create potential health risks for obese men and women.
Phentermine is no longer used in conjunction with Fenfluramine after it was proven that Fenfluramine causes serious heart problems. In 1997, Fenfluramine was withdrawn from the US market because of the safety problems, while Phentermine is still used as an obesity treatment.
For all history of Phentermine use together with Fenfluramine, about six millions of obese Americans could get a prescription for Fen-Phen. After Fenfluramine manufacturer recognized that this drug could cause adverse cardiac events, he agreed to pay monetary compensations the buyers of this drug.
The manufacturer of Fenfluramine pills was American Home Products Corporation. Subsequently, American Home Products was renamed in Wyeth. In 2009, Wyeth was acquired by Pfizer company.
In 1999, American Home Products agreed to pay $ 3.75 billion those, who used Fenfluramine as an obesity monotherapy or in combination with Phentermine. A fund was created for the payment of monetary compensations; it has remained open for 16 years (1999 to 2015).
The consumers of Fenfluramine (including Fen-Phen), who were able to prove that Fenfluramine caused heart valve defects, received of $ 1.5 million from the fund.
Fenfluramine consumers, who have not experienced serious cardiovascular side effects, could receive from $ 30 to $ 60 for each prescription obtained for the purchase of Fenfluramine.