When it comes to weight reduction, two famous medications would surely be in subject. Fenfluramine and phentermine, also known as fen-phen, has been in the market since 1970 to address the problem of obesity.
Let’s take a closer look at fen-phen.
Fenfluramine is a medication that affects the sympathetic systems that control many aspects of your body. It also increases glucose utilization and serotonin. On the other hand, Phentermine is an appetite suppressant. It works like amphetamine. It stimulates the hypothalamus, which decreases appetite thus reducing the hunger and food intake of obese individuals.
Why should you avoid taking fen-phen before surgery?
Professional surgeons advise patients to refrain from taking fen-phen medication before surgery due to the following reasons:
Patients who take fen-phen are exposed to higher risk of prolonged hypotension or low blood pressure that is unresponsive to medications like ephedrine when put under general anesthesia. The patient can actually die.
Fen-phen can cause the stomach to empty too slowly. This can lead to aspiration during or after surgery.
Other systemic effects like arrhythmia can also happen. This is the beating of the heart in a very irregular way.
If you are diabetic, fenfluramine can increase the insulin effect by increasing the uptake of glucose and decreasing the liver production of glucose. This can cause problems when it comes to monitoring your blood sugar during surgery.
There are rare cases where the pulmonary artery blood pressure can increase. This can cause progressive shortness of breath, chest pain, and palpitations, among others.