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  health > diet & fitness > story pageAIDSAgingAlternative MedicineCancerChildrenDiet & FitnessMenWomen

Redux linked to mild heart valve damage


November 23, 1999
Web posted at: 11:34 a.m. EST (1634 GMT)

From Medical Correspondent Linda Ciampa

(CNN) -- Doctors who suspected a connection between the once-popular diet drug Redux, or dexfenfluramine, and damaged heart valves were right; but in most cases the damage is mild to moderate and may be reversible over time, according to research funded by Interneuron Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of the drug.

"The study establishes conclusively that dexfenfluramine has an effect on the valves; however, the effect appears to be predominately and almost exclusively mild," said Dr. Bruce Shively of Oregon Health Sciences University.

Published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, the study compared a group of more than 220 people who took Redux for an average of seven months to a group that never took any diet drugs.

Researchers found that while heart valve damage did occur in Redux patients, the damage appeared to heal once the drug was discontinued.

"This is the first solid evidence that shows that this valve problem may regress with time," said Shively.

More than 4.5 million prescriptions were written for Redux before it was taken off the market in 1997 after reports linked it and the diet drug combination fen-phen to heart valve damage.

Redux, or dexfenfluramine, was part of the fen-phen combination. Another study is now under way to determine the link between fen-phen and heart valve disease, but experts say it is expected to have similar results to the Redux study.

For those who took Redux or fen-phen, doctors say if you've had an echocardiogram and things look good, you can put your mind at ease. But if you have not been checked and are experiencing shortness of breath, or chest pain, you should see a cardiologist.

Fen-phen maker agrees to $3.75 billion settlement
October 8, 1999
Fen-phen deal reached
October 7, 1999
Untested diet drug combination concerns researchers
May 19, 1999
Cardiologists issue guidelines for former diet drug users
November 12, 1998
Three studies show diet drug fen-phen caused minimal damage
September 9, 1998
Doctors: 'fen-phen' diet drug not a cause for public health panic
September 7, 1998
Diet drug risks may have been known years ago
December 11, 1997
2 popular diet drugs pulled from market
September 15, 1997
Doctors say Fen-Phen causes heart disease
July 8, 1997

Oregon Health Sciences University
Interneuron Pharmaceuticals
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