Banned WWII experimental drug found in weight loss products

he 1940s and 1950s are notorious in history for the production of experimental drugs in hopes of developing modern medicine. Many of these experimental drugs produced at that time had been banned for good reasons. One of these drugs is phenpromethamine.

The drug was used to create an inhaler in the early 1940s called Vonedrine that would help with a stuffy nose. Vonedrine was discontinued in the 1950s and the use of phenpromethamine was discontinued in 1960 because some athletes were using it to boost their physical performance despite the negative effects.

Phenpromethamine had been used in other types of drugs during World War II, such as Pervitin, a stimulant that acted somewhat like an actual energy drink, but on steroids. Others have called the drug an alternative to cocaine and a solution to worldwide cocaine addiction that began in the 1920s.

Pervitin was nicknamed “panzerschokolade” or “tank chocolate”. Its creator imitated soda packaging to market the drug. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Many German soldiers, including Adolf Hitler, became addicted to pervitin. It seemed like the main act of replacing the cocaine addiction worked, but it wasn’t quite a solution if they replaced one addiction with another.

This drug has recently been found in various weight loss products and supplements produced by companies in the pharmaceutical industry. What is more problematic is that the drug is part of a whole List of drugs that have not been tested on humans still beings were used in pre-modern medicine.

The pharmaceutical industry has already built a negative reputation for selling untested drugs, some because they have “meaningless” side effects, but these weighty products containing phenpromethamine have caught the eye. from Harvard Medical School and the US National Library of Medicine.

I myself have done so much research on some of these products that I cannot mention for legal reasons and unsurprisingly the description does not mention the phenpromethamine product. At the end of the day, even if it was, most consumers wouldn’t have a clue what it was without doing extensive research.

The US National Library of Medicine offers a the whole list of negative side effects administration of phenpromethamine, some of which can even have fatal consequences. Dr. Pieter A. Cohen from Harvard Medical School was researching weight loss products looking for another drug called deterenol when he came across phenpromethamine.

Deterenol has also never been approved by the FDA for use in such products nor is it mentioned in the description of the products. Indeed, deterenol also has negative side effects that can damage the human body.

Going back to phenrmethamine, there is no record of this drug being tested on people before being sold publicly as noted in an article by Dr. Pieter A. Cohen in Clinical Toxicology. The use of old and untested drugs or stimulants from the era of pre-modern medicine is something quite common in the pharmaceutical industry.

The FDA has mentioned that this is a very common unethical and illegal practice practiced by large companies every year. The way they do it is once they’re caught they use their army of lawyers to get away with it and then implement a different, but very similar variant of this drug in their products which is not yet detected by the FDA, therefore not approved.

Comments are closed.