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Nutrition & Weight Control


Sibutramine Hydrochloride Monohydrate

Brand Name: Meridia
Drug Class: Inhibitor of neurotransmitter reuptake
Available in: Capsules
Available Without a Prescription? No
Available As a Generic? No

Side Effects

Serious: No serious side effects have yet been reported. However, if you experience symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain that were not present before taking the medication, call your doctor.

Common: Dry mouth, constipation, insomnia.

Less common: Headache, increased sweating, increased blood pressure and
heart rate.

Principal Uses

To aid in the medical management of obesity in conjunction with a carefully supervised diet and exercise program. The drug is only recommended for overweight people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 or greater than 27 in people with other risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

How the Drug Works

Sibutramine affects the appetite control center in the brain by inhibiting the reuptake of neurotransmitters like serotonin. The resulting increase in their availability suppresses appetite.


To start, 10 mg once a day. Dose may be increased up to 15 mg once a day.

Onset of Effect

Significant weight changes may take several weeks or months to develop.

Duration of Action

When taking sibutramine regularly, most people lose weight within the first six months. Weight loss is maintained for the duration of therapy.

Dietary Advice

Can be taken with a meal or on an empty stomach.


Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat, moisture, and direct light.

If You Miss a Dose

If you miss a dose one day, do not double the dose the next day. Resume your regular dosage schedule.

Stopping the Drug

The decision to stop taking the drug should be made in consultation with your physician.

Prolonged Use

The safety and effectiveness of sibutramine have not been determined beyond 2 years of use.


Over 60: No specific studies have been done on older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work: Do not drive or engage in hazardous work until you determine how the medicine affects you.

Alcohol: Sibutramine may increase the sedative effects of alcohol. Consult you doctor for specific advice.

Pregnancy: Sibutramine should not be used by pregnant women. Before taking sibutramine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding: Sibutramine should not be used by nursing mothers.

Infants and Children: Children under the age of 16 should not use sibutramine.

Special Concerns: Although no serious adverse reactions have been reported with sibutramine (at the time of publication), other diet drugs have been associated with an increased risk of potentially grave cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary problems. If you experience any unusual or disturbing adverse effects, stop taking sibutramine and call your physician immediately.


Symptoms: No cases of overdose have been reported.

What to Do: If someone takes a much larger dose than prescribed or a child swallows the drug, call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions

You should not take sibutramine if you take MAO inhibitors, other weight loss medications, medications for depression, migraine medications, dihydroergotamine, meperidine, fentanyl, pentazocine, dextromethorphan (found in many cough medicines), lithium, or tryptophan. Sibutramine may interact with ketoconazole, erythromycin, over-the-counter cough and cold medications, allergy medicines, and decongestants. Consult your doctor for specific advice.

Food Interactions

No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions

You should not take sibutramine if you have coronary artery disease, angina, cardiac arrhythmia, history of heart attack, congestive heart failure, history of stroke, anorexia nervosa, history of seizures, or narrow angle glaucoma. Sibutramine can substantially raise blood pressure in some patients. Use of sibutramine may cause complications in patients with liver or kidney disease, since these organs work together to remove the medication from the body. Consult your doctor if you have a history of migraines, mental depression, Parkinson’s disease, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, gallbladder disease, a major eating disorder (anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa), or any other medical problem.

From The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs. You can order this book now on our secure server.


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