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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Redux

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Redux [posted 1/13/99]
Question: Last year I was on the drug redux, and lost weight the first time in my life, without having to feel deprived. The drug worked miraculously. I was never hungry, and never thought about food, I had to tell myself to eat at times. Staying on a low fat diet, and low sugar consumption was so easy. It has taken a while, but I have gained the weight back. I was wondering if the drug is still available? I see that recent letters to you would indicate that people just quit using it in August 1998. Is it available, or is there a drug very similar to the way it worked that is on the market?

Answer: Not available. Meridia is the only one available, but it's not as good as Redux.

Concerns about Redux [posted 10/15/98]
Question: Is this a safe weight loss drug to take or is it going to be found that taking it will have results like Redux? I have recently had this prescribed for myself and also took Redux for a while before, so you can see why I am concerned before I begin this medication. Thank you.

Answer: Inital data showed no cardiac effects and this was looked at very closely. I still perform a baseline echocardiogram and follow serial cardiac exams. There is insufficient data to answer your question;but, appears safe at this point.

Redux and Depression [posted 8/4/98]
Question: Last spring I began taking Redux, I altered my diet, and began a vigorous exercise program. Over 6 months, I lost 22 pounds. I stopped taking Redux before it was taken off the market. I preferred to depend on diet and exercise to continue my weight-loss program. Several months later, I began suffering symptoms of depression and anxiety / panic disorder that has since been attributed to a chemical imbalance. I had previously suffered from these disorders 8 years ago, but controlled them with medication. Since Redux supposedly affects serotonin, could my usage or stoppage of the drug triggered the depression?

Answer: If it was to have this effect, I would have expected to see the effect on stopping/starting the drug and not several months later. Possible, but very unlikely.

Question: I am considering starting the use of Redux to lose weight. I definitely fit the profile, based on my body mass index, since I am 4'11" tall and weigh over 200 pounds. I also have high cholesterol. However, I'm still hearing a lot of controversy about Redux. In fact, one rumor I've heard is that it is being recalled by the FDA or the manufacturer. Can you verify whether or not this is true? All of these rumors make me nervous, but my doctor still thinks Redux is perfectly safe.

Answer: At this time, we really don't know the risks of Redux. There have been early studies which show a linkage between Redux and Primary Pulmonary Hypertension. This is a rare but usually fatal disease. Whether there is a link or not is not clear. One study done in Europe has shown an increased tendency which has led to concern. I have had over 75 patients on this drug or the Fen- Fen combination without any severe side effects. However, if the Primary Pulmonary Hypertension bears up, I doubt that these drugs will be allowed on the market. Current side effects are dry mouth, constipation, and occasional trouble sleeping. Most patients have no trouble with the usual side effects.

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