What was it?
Actually, it was the simultaneous use of two separate drugs to effect weight loss.
The other drug, Fenfluramine, but going by the trade names, Pondimin and Redux, reduced appetite by releasing the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Serotonin makes most people feel relaxed, satisfied, even sleepy.
So, Phentermine and Fenfluramine complimented each other.
The problem was that excessive doses of Fenfluramine caused very high blood levels of serotonin which stimulated 5-HT2B receptors on heart valves and in the pulmonary arterial system. Fibrotic lesions of heart valves did result from excessive doses of Fenfluramine.
Fenfluramine also stimulated 5-HT2C receptors in the brain, resulting in the desired anorectic effect.
What weight loss doctors have discovered is that the combination of Phentermine and Belviq mirrors the beneficial weight loss effects of Fen-Phen, but without the problems of heart valve issues.
Many of you used Fen-Phen without any problems, but were scared away by the negative publicity.
They got better simply by discontinuing the Fenfluramine. Moreover, it was not widely reported that the patients having heart valve problems were typically taking 6 times the dose of Fenfluramine! Instead of taking 1 Pondimin pill, they were taking 6 of them!
Also, what is not stated in the press is the widely held attitude that people taking medication to lose weight are “cheating”, that it’s their fault that they are overweight. “If they would just diet and exercise and not give into their lusts, then they would be thin just like us moral people.”
If you have diabetes, it’s OK to take medication. If you have high blood pressure, you are not immoral taking medication. But, if you are overweight? You have to overcome your sin on your own.
And this attitude is hurtful. It shows a complete lack of understanding.
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I received my MD degree in June of 1970, so 49 years ago. At that time, all the excitement was about the human advent into space and NASA’s Apollo missions to the moon. My medical school, Baylor College of Medicine is in Houston, Texas, the site of NASA’s manned space flight mission control center. So, in my mind, I was going to be a “space doctor” and involved the first human activities in space and on other planets.
But, that’s not how events transpired. Instead of witnessing a long-term movement into space, we all saw a limited program come and go.
So, if not an astronaut, what was this young doctor to do with his career?
There were absolutely no plans anywhere for a continued manned space program.
I’ve always been interested in exercise, and nutrition, so, I pursued that as a personal choice; encouraging my patients to do the same during my sojourn as a general practitioner in the Los Angeles area. Then, after several years, I pursued the specialty of anesthesiology, thinking that having a specified schedule would give me access to a regular exercise routine. So, I became a “gym rat" and health nut.
Once I had progressed in age enough to go through Andropause and my wife began going through Menopause, it became harder and harder to keep the weight off and became more apparent to me that there was a problem with the health industry; people in their middle age have a harder time losing weight due to age-related hormone imbalances. So, in 1995, I began a practice in weight loss medicine and in 1997, I started learning bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, from the hormone guru, Neal Rouzier, MD, of Palm Springs. I never looked back. I felt that I had finally hit my professional stride, giving me the satisfaction of helping people improve their lives, just as I had improved the lives of me and my wife.
I love helping others attain their best possible health.
There are many chronic maladies which pop up over time, stealing our health. Heart attack, stroke, and cancer are those entities which finally get most of us. But, there are hormones and nutritional supplements which can allay the damage. So, not only can replenishing hormones make us feel better, but they have preventive benefit as well.
I can't wait to help you, too!