What is Meridia?
Meridia is a trade name used by Abbott Laboratories for Sibutramine, an appetite suppressant used in the treatment of obesity caused by overeating. The drug was originally marketed by Knoll Pharmaceuticals. Although successful in promoting weight loss in conjunction with a low-calorie diet and exercise, it has been associated with an increased risk of heart attack and cerebrovascular incident and was withdrawn in late 2010 from a number of major markets, including the US, the UK , the European Union, China, Australia, Canada and India.
How does Meridia work?
Meridia is a systemic serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) which is chemically related to amphetamines, although it has a different mode of action. It reaches peak blood level after one hour and has a short half life of about one hour. The main activity is caused by active metabolites with half lives of around 15 hours. Meridia works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in the synaptic gap to promote a sense of fullness, which signals the brain to stop eating. It does not suppress the signal to begin eating.
What does Meridia look like?
Meridia is sold in capsules with 10 or 15 mg strength. The 10 mg capsule is dark blue and white with the imprint “Meridia 10” and the 15 mg capsule is yellow and white with the imprint “15 Meridia”.
Meridia dosing and administration
The standard dose of Meridia for weight loss is 10 mg once daily. Your doctor may increase this to 15 mg once daily if there has been no appreciable weight loss after four weeks of Meridia therapy and calorie restricted diet. If the drug is not well tolerated, your doctor may reduce the dosage to 5 mg once daily. Meridia may be taken with or without food.
Common adverse effects from Meridia
In clinical studies, the most common side effects reported for Meridia included headaches, dry mouth, loss of appetite, constipation, insomnia, nasal congestion and sore throat. These side effects occurred in between 10 and 30 percent of subjects. Other side effects noted in between two and nine percent of people included back pain, fever, chills, muscle ache, weakness, abdominal pain, flushing, migraine, increased appetite, nausea, dyspepsia, joint pain, vertigo, agitation, sinus infections, coughing, sweating, taste changes and other unusual sensations, painful menstrual periods and urinary tract infections.
Rare but serious side effects of meridia include:
- serotonin syndrome,
- depression or anxiety
- allergic reactions.
If you experience any of these while taking Meridia you should seek urgent medical attention.
Meridia warnings and precautions
You should tell your doctor before taking Meridia if you suffer from hypertension or heart problems, if you have had a stroke, kidney or liver disease, glaucoma, epilepsy depression, anorexia nervosa or bulimia. You should also inform your doctor if you have any history of substance abuse including alcohol, if you are pregnant or may become pregnant or are breastfeeding or if you suffer from any allergies.
Interactions with Meridia
Meridia may interact with a wide range of other medications and you should tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications including herbal supplements.