Appetite suppressants and valvular heart disease in a population-based sample: The HyperGEN study

Vittorio Palmieri, Donna K. Arnett, Mary J. Roman, Jennifer E. Liu, Jonathan N. Bella, Albert Oberman, Dalane W. Kitzman, Paul N. Hopkins, Derek Morgan, Giovanni De Simone, Richard B. Devereux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Previous studies of the association between the use of appetite suppressants and valvular heart disease have not accounted for the effects of valvular structure and aortic root diameter, which are associated with obesity. We assessed whether the use of the appetite suppressants fenfluramine/dexfenfluramine, either alone or with phentermine, was associated with aortic regurgitation while adjusting for these variables. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: The sample included 2524 adult participants in the population-based Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network study. Information regarding current drug use was assessed during a clinical examination. Medication use was continued at the time of echocardiographic study. Expert readers blinded to current therapy read echocardiograms centrally at Cornell Medical Center. Analyses of the associations between use of fenfluramine/dexfenfluramine (alone or with phentermine) and aortic regurgitation adjusted for potential confounders, including aortic root dilatation and valve fibrocalcification. RESULTS: Nineteen participants, all of whom had hypertension, were being treated with fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine (5 on these agents alone, 14 also with phentermine). Aortic regurgitation was present in 32% (n = 6) of those taking fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine versus 6% (162/2505) of remaining subjects (P = 0.001). In multivariate-adjusted analyses, treatment with fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine was associated with aortic regurgitation (odds ratio [OR] = 4.9; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.7 to 14) and aortic fibrocalcification (OR = 5.2; 95% CI: 1.9 to 15). CONCLUSION: In a population-based sample, use of fenfluramine or dexfenfluramine, alone or in combination with phentermine, was associated with aortic regurgitation independent of aortic dilatation or fibrocalcification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-715
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 15 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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