Brand names of sibutramine

  • Meridia

Sibutramine is an oral medication that facilitates weight loss by way of changing neurotransmitters (chemicals that help the nerve cells in the brain to communicate with one another) inside the brain. Neurotransmitters that are released by the nerves may either bind to other nerves or may even be adopted by the nerves that have released them in a process known as reuptake. Sibutramine works by obstructing this process - preventing the reuptake of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. The action of this medication changes the balance of neurotransmitters inside the nerve cells and, thus, has an influence on the functioning as well as interaction of the nerves.

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Patients who are taking this medication are likely to attain a moderate (five per cent to 10 per cent) lessening in their standard weight. In addition, weight loss assisted by sibutramine has normally found to be occurring along with enhancement in blood lipids, for instance, cholesterol. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the sale and use of sibutramine for weight loss in 1997.

Please note: sibutramine is no longer available, as it was withdrawn from the market on October 8, 2010 owing to the risk of acute cardiovascular problems faced by patients taking this medication.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking sibutramine

As with starting treatment with any new medication, you ought to exercise a few precautions before you start taking the weight loss drug sibutramine. Prior to taking sibutramine for the first time, tell your physician or pharmacist if you have any allergic reaction to the medication or if you endure any other types of allergies. Sibutramine is likely to enclose a number of inactive ingredients that may result in allergic reactions or other health problems. So if you are not sure about the ingredients of this medication, ask your pharmacist to provide you with a list regarding this.

It is important to note that sibutramine should not be used by people who suffer from certain medical conditions. Therefore, prior to taking this medication, you ought to consult your physician or pharmacist if you endure unrestrained or inadequately controlled high blood pressure (hypertension), eating disorders (for instance anorexia nervosa or eating problems especially endured by young women owing the fear of becoming obese, and bulimia nervosa or a habitual eating disorder in young women with natural weight), ailments of the heart or blood vessels (such as any history of heart attack or angina, irregular heart rhythms, coronary artery disease, poor blood circulation to the limbs, congestive heart failure), stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Prior to using sibutramine, you should also tell your physician or pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, particularly if you have glaucoma (narrow angle type), high blood pressure (hypertension), liver or kidney ailment, seizure problems, depression, gallstones, thyroid problems, bleeding disorder or if you are a victim of drug abuse.

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Patients taking sibutramine should know that using this weight reduction medication is likely to have a drowsy impact on them. Hence, it is advisable that they should not undertake any activity that requires alertness, such as driving or operating a machine. They can only undertake such activities when they are sure of the medication's exact impact on them and are confident that they can accomplish such tasks safely. People taking this medication ought to restrict consumption of alcoholic beverages during treatment with sibutramine. While older people taking this medication are likely to be more susceptible to its side effects, children taking sibutramine may face the risk of mood swings - although rarely, but they may also have thought of committing suicide.

Women should never use sibutramine during pregnancy and women who are of child-bearing age taking this medication should always use an effect birth control or contraceptive device. It is advisable that such women consult their physician for further details regarding the benefits and risks of taking sibutramine before they actually start treatment with the medication. Although it is yet to be ascertained whether sibutramine passes onto the breast milk, this medication is not recommended for women who are breast feeding. New mothers taking sibutramine should consult their physician before they start breast feeding their infants.


Sibutramine was used to medically manage obesity along with exercise schedule and vigilantly administered diet. It is important to note that this weight loss medication has only been approved for use by obese people having a minimum body mass index (BMI) of 30. In addition, this medication may also be given to patients having a minimum BMI of 27 who also have other risk factors, including diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure).

How to use sibutramine

Before using the weight loss medication sibutramine for the first time as well as each time you get a prescription refill, carefully read the Medication Guide made available by your physician or pharmacist. In case you are unable to understand any part of the guidelines or have any queries, ask your pharmacist or physician to help you out in this regard.

Sibutramine is an oral medication and is generally taken once every day either with or without food or as prescribed by your physician. In order to obtain the utmost benefits of taking sibutramine, take this medication on a regular basis and in order to help you remember when to take the medication, take it around the same time every day. The dosage of sibutramine is generally dependent on the patient's medical condition as well as his/ her response to treatment. It is important to bear in mind that you should neither increase the dosage of the medication nor take it more often than what has been directed by your physician. In addition, never stop taking this medication all of a sudden. Prior to discontinuing the medication, you should always consult your physician and seek his approval. It is best to stop taking it under his supervision.

In case you have been taking sibutramine for a prolonged period, your doctor will suggest you to gradually reduce the dosage of the medication before stopping it for good. It is advisable that you consult your physician or pharmacist for further details in this regard before discontinuing the medication. People taking sibutramine should be aware that when this medication is taken for a long period of time, it may not be as effective as it ought to be and hence, you physician may prescribe a different dosage for you. If you find that sibutramine is no longer working as well, talk to your physician and seek his advice regarding what you should do next.

As sibutramine has the potential to elevate your blood pressure levels as well as augment the pulse (heart rate), it is essential to have check-ups at regular intervals with a view to keep an eye on the reading prior to starting treatment with sibutramine or while continuing treatment with the medicine. In addition, your physician will also keep a watch over your weight loss progress and also look for the side effect of the medication to make a decision on whether you should continue treatment with sibutramine and if the medication is safe as well as effectual for you. In normal course, the checking is done four weeks after starting treatment with sibutramine and subsequently three to six months of beginning the therapy or as directed by your physician.

It may be noted that you should not share sibutramine with anyone else, as this is illegal. In addition, ensure that you have your blood pressure and pulse (heart rate) examined at regular intervals while taking this weight loss medication. It is possible to monitor your own blood pressure as well as pulse. To learn more about this, talk to your doctor. To obtain the best results of using sibutramine, this medication ought to be used in conjunction with an exercise schedule and a diet having fewer calories that is approved by your physician. People taking sibutramine may also benefit by opting for counselling for behaviour changes. Nevertheless, it is advisable that you consult your physician for further details in this connection.

In case you happen to miss a dose of sibutramine, take it at the earliest when you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the subsequent dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your normal dosage schedule. Remember, you should never take an over dose (double dosage) of the medication with a view to catch up the missed dose for it may worsen the side effects of the medication.

How sibutramine works

The weight loss medication sibutramine works by influencing the appetite control center in the brain. This medication slows down or obstructs the reuptake, re-absorption of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, by the nerves in the brain. As this result in the increased availability of neurotransmitters in the brain, it helps to suppress hunger or appetite.

Side effects

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
Less common

Possible interactions

Like any other drug, sibutramine is also likely to interact with certain other medications, including herbal products and/ or minerals and, hence, they ought not to be taken concurrently. In addition, patients taking this weight loss medication should strictly follow the diet recommended by their physician and also restrict their amount of alcoholic beverage consumption.

It is not advisable for people taking sibutramine to also use St. John's wort as it may result in potential serotonin syndrome. As a portion of the way in which the herb ginseng works, possibly as an MAO inhibitor, never take the two simultaneously. It is also advisable that patients taking sibutramine should avoid taking herbs like ma huang, yohimbe and kola.

What is most important is that patients taking sibutramine should strictly follow the menu choices and dietary controls instructed by their doctor. In such cases, it is important to go in for dietary counselling or to a dietician and follow their instructions regarding diet controls. It may be noted that tryptophan (an essential amino acid) available in a number of food stores is known to enhance the risks of serotonin syndrome (a condition that is potentially life-threatening and is caused by high serotonin levels in the body). In addition, it should be noted that it is not advisable to consume too much of alcoholic beverages while taking sibutramine.

People who have high blood pressure and lipids and are also taking sibutramine are likely to require an adjustment in the dosage for the medications being used to treat hypertension as well as high lipids. It is actually very essential in such case.


Patients taking sibutramine should not discontinue the medication abruptly, but seek the help of their physician when they intend to stop taking this medication.

Storage instructions

The weight loss medication sibutramine ought to be always stored at room temperature at 77°F or 25°C, although it may be stored at temperatures ranging from 59°F to 86°C (15°C to 30°C) for a brief while. However, it is essential to store sibutramine in a place away from heat and dampness. Never store this medication in your bathroom, which is usually damp. At the same time, remember that you ought to keep all medications in such a place which is beyond the reach of children and pets.

Unless directed otherwise, never discard the medication that has passed its expiry date or is no longer required by flushing it down the toilet or pouring it into a drain. It is essential to dispose of the medication in a proper and safe manner. If required, talk to your pharmacist or the neighbourhood waste disposal company for the appropriate and safe manner of discarding the medication.


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