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How Well Does It Work ?

Sibutramine (marketed under the brand name of Meridia) is a prescription weight loss medication reserved for severely overweight individuals, whose health is at risk because of their weight. It is generally recommended for persons with a BMI over 30, or for those with a BMI over 27 who also suffer from hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol.

You may use our BMI calculator to determine your BMI.

Mechanism of Action:

  • Sibutramine (the active ingredient in Meridia) is a powerful central nervous system stimulant similar to amphetamines, and chemically related to Phentermine ( the active ingredient in the weight loss drug Adipex).
  • Sibutramine works by increasing Serotonin and Norepinephrine levels in the brain, which leads to appetite suppression.
  • This drug was initially developed as an antidepressant, and later approved by the FDA for the treatment of obesity.

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Sibutramine is a potent weight control agent, with proven clinical effects as far as promoting weight loss. The downside is that it carries some risk of physical dependency, especially when taken over longer periods of time. As such, this drug must be administered under close medical supervision.

Side Effects:

In addition to the risk of dependency discussed above, other common side effects include:
  • dry mouth and throat
  • jitteriness, tremors, restlessness, agitation, anxiety
  • nervousness or irritability
  • insomnia
  • nausea or vomiting
  • change in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation)
  • excessive sweating

More serious side effects include:
  • tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • hypertension (increased blood pressure)
  • blurred vision
  • headaches
  • dizziness or fainting
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • leg swelling.

If experiencing any of these side effects, you should notify your physician immediately.

Dosage and Administration:

  • Sibutramine is usually recommended once a day, with or without food, in a dose of 10 mg.
  • A 5 mg dose can be tried if the 10 mg dose is poorly tolerated.
  • If needed, the dose can be later increased up to 15 mg per day to achieve the desired weight loss effects.
  • The pill should not be taken in the evening, as this may cause insomnia.

Important Warnings:

  1. Meridia (Sibutramine) should not be taken with monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, since this may cause life-threatening hypertension.
  2. Caution is advised when taking Sibutramine in combination with other medications acting on the central nervous system (e.g., antidepressants), as this may lead to potentially dangerous side effects.
  3. Women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not take Meridia.
  4. Since dry mouth is a potential side effect of Meridia, maintaining good oral hygiene is important in order to avoid gum disease.


Please note: Meridia is contraindicated in persons suffering from certain medical conditions such as severe high blood pressure, overactive thyroid, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, glaucoma, irregular or rapid heart rate, certain psychiatric conditions or a history of substance abuse. Only your doctor can determine if Meridia is right for you. A thorough medical checkup is advisable prior to starting this medication. At any time during treatment, should you experience any health problems perceived to be of a serious or urgent nature, please seek the services of an emergency medical provider.

Disclaimer: Although the information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, its accuracy and completion are not guaranteed. Prior to using this or any other weight loss medication, please discuss all your concerns with the physician prescribing the medication.

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