Several centers were able to note a relationship to an excessive activation of the serotonin receptor subtype 5-HT 2B. Those tiny differences in molecule shape are what the business of drug development has become. She takes heart medications that address her symptoms, including drugs that slow her heart rate and lower her blood pressure. But the people taking fenfluramine and dexfenfluramine at the five medical centers had an average age of 45, and valve damage becomes more common as people grow older. Search Required. Fenfluramine as a single drug was first introduced in the s, but was not popular because it only temporarily reduced weight. The rise and fall of the fen-phen craze is a morality tale for our times, said some medical experts. This made her uncomfortable—until, just weeks later, she put on a pair of shorts. Now she thought she looked good. Weintraub was taken aback by what his article had wrought.
Losing weight isn’t easy, especially without the dangerous, but actually effective weight-loss drug Fen-Phen, which the FDA pulled from shelves in due to concerns about damage the drug was doing to patients’ heart valves. But a small drug maker, Arena Pharmaceuticals, said today at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference that they have a compound that will work like Fen-Phen, but without the side effects. It’s called lorcaserin, and halfway through its final stage of clinical trials, so far, so safe. Patients taking a 20 mg dose lost eight pounds over a twelve week study, with only minor side effects. But what’s interesting for Wired readers, who, given the lack of popularity of my last story on obesity drugs, must all use diet and exercise to control their waistlines, is exactly why lorcaserin might work as well as Fen-Phen without the side effects. Each drug has a particular shape, which determines what receptors in your body it stimulates or blocks. In the case of Fen-Phen, the fen technically, fenfluramine was believed to stimulate the serotonin 2C receptor, causing people to feel full, and eat less. Unfortunately, according to Arena, fen-phen also ended up stimulating the serotonin 2B receptor, which eventually led to the problems with the heart. But, the new drug from Arena attaches to the 2C receptor at times the rate it attaches to the 2B receptor.
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IN , desperate for extra money, Dr. Israel Levavi, a Los Angeles internist, went to work for a brief period at a weight loss clinic that was run by a chiropractor and overseen by an infectious disease specialist. The clinic’s weight loss education program, Dr. Levavi added, ”consisted of a video loop in the waiting room. Levavi gave the patients what they wanted, prescriptions for the diet drugs known as fen-phen, with the fen referring to fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine, an appetite depressant, and the phen referring to phentermine, a type of amphetamine. When patients needed refills, the chiropractor would hand them prescriptions pre-signed by the infectious disease specialist who ran the clinic, Dr. Levavi said.