US journal finds lower risk from diet pills

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 22 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1327
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    An independent survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal (31 October) has found a lower prevalence of cardiac valve abnormalities in people who took the drugs phentermine and fenfluramine (“phen-fen”) than previously reported.

    These prescription diet pills were approved for short term treatment of obesity over 20 years ago. Twenty million Americans are obese, and excess weight is an independent risk factor for various illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer.

    Recently they have been prescribed for prolonged periods in patients who were only mildly overweight. Eighteen million prescriptions were written for the drugs …

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