Fen Phen Lawsuits
Yes, You Can Still File A Claim
Fen Phen was an anti-obesity combination drug therapy that was common in the 1990′s. The drugs were introduced by American Home Products Corp. and marketed by their subsidiary Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. Wythe was purchased by Pfizer in 2009. Phentermine (Adipex, Fastin and Lonamin) was approved by the FDA as a short term, single-drug therapy for obese patients in 1959. Fenfluramine (Pondimin was approved for short-term single-drug use in 1973. In 1996, the FDA approved Dexfenfluramine (Redux) for longer-term use (up to one year), single-drug usage for extremely obese patients. The drugs work by suppressing appetite and altering serotonin levels in the brain. Fen Phen and heart valve damage was first notice by physicians in the 1990’s as it became increasingly popular to prescribe both Phentermine in combination with the either Fenfluramine or Dexfenfluramine. Fen Phen derives its name from the two active drugs Fenfluramine and Phentermine.
In July 1997 the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation reported 24 cases of a rare heart valve disease among women who took Fen Phen. Subsequently, more and more cases of Fen Phen and heart valve damage were reported to the FDA. By September 30th the FDA had received 144 provider-initiated reports of Fen Phen and heart valve damage. The drugs are associated with valvular lesions and leakage on both sides of the heart, particularly the left valve. The valve damage connected to Fenfluramine in combination with Phentermine showed up at a rate of 79%. 98% of the cases occurred among women between the ages of 22-68. The median duration of drug use was 9 months. 27 of the case-patients required cardiac valve-replacement surgery and three of these patients died during surgery. Both Fenfluramine and Dexfenfluramine were voluntarily removed from the US market in 1997 after a request for removal from the FDA. However, this wasn’t before millions of prescriptions had been written and filled for these drugs. It is estimated that approximately 14 million prescriptions were written for Fenfluramine and Dexfenfluramine between 1995 and 1997 before the Fen Phen recalls.
These initial medical cases were followed by another five Fen Phen studies in Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania. The overall prevalence of valvular lesions among all five studies was 32.8% compared to about 5% normally seen in the general population.
Following the removal of Fen Phen from the market hundreds of Fen Phen lawsuits were filed against the manufacturers of Fen Phen including a nationwide class action lawsuit that was settled in January 2002. Wythe went on to appeal many of these Fen Phen lawsuits and suffered a severe blow in the 6th Circuit on October 15th 2010 when the federal appeals court refused to rehear a Fen Phen lawsuit. In addition, in 2011 the Supreme Court ruled against Wyeth in a case related to one of their other drugs and this ruling might potentially open up state litigation cases once again for Fen Phen. To date Wythe has paid out billions of dollars in Fen Phen lawsuits.
The most insidious part of Fen Phen and heart valve damage is that many people who took Fen Phen are just now experiencing symptoms indicating that they have heart problems. Often the early stages of valvular leakage are overlooked unless a patient has an electrocardiogram. If you or a loved one took Fen Phen for any duration longer than a few weeks in the 1990’s it is recommended that you have an electrocardiogram to assess the fitness of your heart. If the electrocardiogram shows valvular damage or leakage you should seek legal council to help you recover compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering.
Fen Phen Usage Has Been Known To Cause:
- Heart valve disease
- Valve lesions
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Excessive valve tightness (stenosis)
- Valve leakiness (regurgitation)
- Problems with heart function
Fen Phen Symptoms Include:
- Shortness of breath
- Excessive tiredness
- Coughing blood
- Blue lips, hands and feet
- Chest pain
- Swelling of the legs (edema)
Already Filed A Claim?
If you’ve already filed a claim and received a settlement but your condition has deteriorated overtime you may be eligible for further compensation.
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If you or a loved one are in need of legal assistance concerning Fen Phen you should consult a lawyer immediately. Most cases are handled on a contingency basis so you will pay no attorney fees unless you win your case.
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