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he 1940s and 1950s are notoriously known within history for the production of experimental drugs in the hopes of developing modern medicine. Many of these experimental drugs produced in that era had been banned for good reasons. One such drug is phenpromethamine.

The use of phenpromethamine in pre-modern medicine

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

Phenpromethamine had been used in other types of medicine during the Second World War such as Pervitin, a stimulant that sort of acted like a present-day energy drink, but on steroids. Others named this drug the alternative to cocaine and a solution to the worldwide cocaine addiction that started in the 1920s.

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

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

This drug has been recently found in various weight loss products and supplements produced by companies pharmaceutical industry. Wath is more problematic is that the drug is part of a whole list of drugs that had not been tested on human beings yet have been used in pre-modern medicine.

Pharma selling untested drugs

The pharma industry has already built a negative reputation when it comes to selling untested drugs, some because they have “insignificant” side effects however these weight products containing phenpromethamine brought the attention of Harvard Medical School as well as the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

I have done so much research myself on some of these products which I cannot mention for legal reasons and to no surprise, the description does not mention the product containing phenpromethamine. At the end of the day even if it did, most consumers would not have a clue what the hell that was without doing some extensive research.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine provides a whole list of negative side effects from the administration of phenpromethamine, some of which can even have lethal consequences. Doctor Pieter A. Cohen from Harvard Medical School was conducting research on weight loss products in the look for another drug called deterenol when he stumbled upon phenpromethamine.

Deterenol was also never approved by the FDA to be used in such products and neither is it mentioned in the description of the products. This is because deterenol also has negative side effects that can be damaging to the human body.

Going back to Phenrpmethamine, there are no records of this drug ever being tested on people before being publicly sold as stated in an article by Doctor Pieter A. Cohen in Clinical Toxicology. The use of old, untested drugs or stimulants from the pre-modern medicine era is something quite common within the pharma industry.

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

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