Fen-Phen is a prescription diet drug combo that was used for many years to control appetite. The two drugs that make up the combination are fenfluramine (Pondimin) and phentermine (Ionamin). In addition, a drug known as Redux (dexfenfluramine) was also used.
The side effects of Fen-Phen diet pills include heart valve damage and primary pulmonary hypertension which is a narrowing of the blood vessels in the lungs, which lead to higher blood pressure and possible heart failure.
Fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine are no longer sold after studies began to show the deadly health complications the diet drug causes. A 1997 study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found 30% of Fen Phen users in their study had developed heart valve problems that can lead to heart failure and death.
Fen Phen manufacturer American Home Products (now Wyeth) knew about the serious health complications but continued to make Fen Phen available to the public and failed to properly warn patients and their doctors. In response to the numerous lawsuits filed on behalf of people who were harmed by Fen-Phen, the manufacturers of the diet pill drug settled a nationwide lawsuit for $3.75 billion for individuals with valve damage.
Primary pulmonary hypertension / primary pulmonary hypertension cases were not included in this settlement and people who used fen phen and now develop PAH/PPH or pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) can still recover for their injuries.
Recently there was a $1 billion jury verdict for a single primary pulmonary hypertension case. The jury was so outraged at the company's conduct of selling the diet pills when they knew it would result in the death of many individuals that they awarded punitive damages against the company and gave a high verdict.