Prescrire Int. 2004 Feb;13(69):26-9.
(1) In 1999, all amphetamine derivatives still sold in France as appetite suppressants were withdrawn from the market because of serious cardiovascular adverse effects. Sibutramine, marketed in France since 2001, is closely related to this group of drugs. (2) The adverse effects shared by these drugs are mainly neuropsychiatric (due to a psychostimulant action) and cardiovascular (arterial hypertension and tachycardia). (3) More specific cardiovascular adverse effects, such as pulmonary hypertension and severe cardiac valve damage, emerged after several years of use. The first reports date back to the 1960s. (4) The pulmonary hypertension associated with appetite suppressants can be fatal or necessitate transplantation. (5) Cardiac valve damage due to appetite suppressants is generally irreversible and sometimes requires surgery.