DOCTOR'S VIEW ARCHIVE
Beware of Herbal Phen-Fen!
Jacksonville, FLA. - Since the diet-drug combination
of fenfluramine and phenteramine, commonly known as fen-phen,
has been withdrawn from the market (see
MedicineNet's Doctor's View, ("September 19, 1997 Fen-Phen Combo Finished in FDA Finale"),
people with an interest in promoting weight loss may turn to Herbal
Herbal Phen-Fen is much easier to obtain than fen-phen
ever was. As a "dietary supplement," Herbal Phen-Fen
is available without prescription in drugstores, in health-food
stores and from Nutri/System, a diet-program company. It costs
about $10 a week.
The prescription combination consisted of fenfluramine,
which raised the level of the chemical serotonin in the brain
thereby making a consumer feel full and eat less, and phenteramine,
which increased the metabolic rate so that the person burned up
Although a promotional brochure states that Herbal
Phen-Fen is "just like" prescription fen-phen, this
is not true. The September, 1997 issue of Consumer
notes that Herbal Phen-Fen is a "combination of extracts
of Saint-John's-wort, a mood-boosting herb, and ma huang, a stimulant
also known as ephedra."