Popular name for a combination of the diet drugs fenfluramine and phentermine. Created by a French pharmaceutical company in the early 1970s, fenfluramine–which entered the American market in 1973–languished for a decade as an occasionally effective diet drug that commonly induced sleep in its users.
Fen-phen was born in the late 1980s when Dr. Michael Weintraub of the University of Rochester added a mild amphetamine-like substance called phentermine to fenfluramine (or Pondimin), thus eliminating the energy drag. In 1992, Weintraub and several colleagues published a study that showed fen-phen to be far more effective than dieting or exercise in reducing the weight of the chronically obese, and fen-phen was soon on the market.
Unlike an earlier generation of speed-laden diet drugs, fen-phen seemed to be without immediate side effects. Along with Redux (or dexfenfluramine, a more refined compound that boasts fewer side effects and, like fen-phen affects seratonin levels), fen-phen–which… Continue reading
After-the-fact birth control, consisting of a strong (2x or 4x) dose of conventional birth control pills. The method, when used with 72 hours of unprotected sex, is judged to be 75 percent effective in preventing pregnancy–low on the list behind in-advance methods such as condoms, diaphragms, the IUD, and standard birth control pills.
Although the procedure has been medically accepted since the late ’70s, in February 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called on reticent drug makers to seek approval to market pills in America for “morning-after” use, largely to promote awareness of the less-known anti-pregnancy option. With a similar goal in October 1997, a number of family planning groups launched a toll free hotline (1-888-NOT-2-LATE) and a campaign of public service advertisements.
The Emergency Contraceptive Pill, or ECP, does not terminate pregnancy, it prevents it, by decreasing the likelihood that sperm will combine with the egg and… Continue reading
Screening for drug use is increasingly required for government and corporate workers and job applicants, amateur and pro athletes, and even–following River Phoenix’s death, which cost film insurers $5.7 million, big-budget movie stars. The most common test, the Emit d.a.u. (drug abuse urine), is also the least accurate, infamous for flagging Advil users as potheads’.
Follow-up Gas-Liquid Chromatography (GLC), Thin Layer Chromotagraphy (TLC), or Radioimmonoassay (RIA) tests are more accurate and costly, but they are often skipped. Drug testing has been a major growth business, with sales of more than $100 million in 1993.
Recent years have also seen a spate of controversial home tests marketed to parents as a way of checking up on children, including a DrugAlert kit (consisting of a moist pad that is wiped across a desk or counter and then sent to the maker’s New Jersey police lab for testing), a home urine test from… Continue reading
Brazenly morbid zine by and for people with AIDS (PWAs). Founded in 1991 by Silicon Valley computer freelancer Beowulf Thorne (b. 1964), the semi-regular publication paved the way for the literary Art and Understanding and glossier “positive” publications aimed at the one million infected Americans; these included the Chicago-based Plus Voice and the New York-based Poz.
The latter was financed when the founder, Sean Strube, used a viatical settlement to cash in his life insurance policy. DPN is still the cheekiest, with cover lines like “How to Tell If Your Loved One Is Dead” (“increased sleeping during the day,” “abrupt cessation of sarcasm,” “relatives looting apartment”) and essays such as “Get Your Fucking Red Ribbon out of My Face.” One motto has it, “We don’t care how you got HIV, as long as you’re not a whining and hateful virgin about it.”Number of View :747
Synthetic hormone injection which prevents pregnancy for three months at a time. Although the contraceptive method had been used around the world by some 15 million women since the late ’60s, FDA approval for the U.S. did not come until 1992.
At $30 per injection, DP is cheaper in up-front costs than the $600, five-year implant Norplant, and it lacks the latter’s telltale physical evidence. In March 1994 Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders accused DP’s maker Upjohn and Norplant’s maker Wyeth-Ayerst of profiteering at the expense of unwanted pregnancies: “the price of Norplant and Depo Provera is too high in this country for a large portion of working poor women to realize contraceptive equality.”
India and Mexico have been experimenting for years with once-a-month injections–Cyclofem and Mesigyna–that tend to be less disruptive to the menstrual cycle. Depo-Provera, which is closely related to progesterone (a female hormone that can lower the sex… Continue reading
Public health term for the “work hard, play hard” alcohol credo, defined as five drinks in a row (four for women). Despite a general decline in drinking among college students, a shift toward more safety- and health-conscious attitudes, and the virtual campus prohibition brought about by 21 minimum drinking age laws, a December 1994 Harvard School of Public Health survey of some 140 colleges found that many of those still drinking are hard-core practitioners.
Nearly half (44 percent) of undergraduates engage in binge drinking, and of those nearly half (19 percent of total) do it often.
The fraternity figures are even higher (86 percent of residents). A follow-up survey of 13 “party schools,” released in April 1995, found that nearly half of college frosh binge drink in their… Continue reading