Phen-Fen, and Then?

by Machiel Kennedy, MD

I would like to address the new diet-drug craze -- Fenfluramine and Phentermine. These are two drugs put together for their side effects. One revs you up and one slows you down, and they supposedly even out each other's side effects. The long-term safety of these drugs is unknown.

In addition, let's look at their short-term success rate (as good as any diet): One third of patients lose 5-10% of their weight. Looking at the Weintraub study, which was the original study that ignited the interest in these particular medications, 26 of 121 people lost more than 10% of their body weight; 19% of the people dropped out because of side effects; and, what I think is the most significant statistic of all, none of the people maintained their weight loss after going off the drugs.

Some of the side effects include depression, mood disorders, concentration problems, sleep disturbances, fatigue, loss of sex drive, dry mouth, diarrhea, a false-positive drug screen (because they are related to amphetamines), brain damage, and death due to primary pulmonary hypertension.

Ricardo's December 1997 Note: As an addiction and weight loss specialist, I agree completely with Dr. Machiel Kennedy's article above because of the diet drugs' side effects and addiction potential. I have treated and consulted successfully with my clients who became addicted to these diet drugs and similar drugs with my "An Integrated Approach for Healing Obesity & Eating Disorders" applying Traditional Chinese Medicine with glutathione supplements.

Prepared by Ricardo B. Serrano, DAc, MH, ADS
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