Meridia (Sibutramine)

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What Is Meridia (Sibutramine)?

Sibutramine was pulled from the United States Market in 2010. It affects brain chemicals that impact body weight maintenance.

Sibutramine is used along with exercise and diet in order to treat obesity, sometimes as it is related to high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.

Sibutramine is sometimes used for purposes not listed here.

What Should I Know About Sibutramine?

Do not take sibutramine if you have taken any MAO inhibitor in the last two weeks. This includes tranylcypromine (brand name Parnate), selegiline (brand names Eldepryl and Emsam), rasagiline (brand name Azilect), phenelzine (brand name Nardil), isocarboxazid (brand name Marplan) or furazolidone (brand name Furoxone).

Serious and even life-threatening side effects may occur if you take sibutramine before all MAO inhibitor has left your body.

Do not take sibutramine if you know you have allergies to it, or if you have uncontrolled or severe high blood pressure. Likewise, it should not be taken if you have an eating disorder, if you are taking diet pills that are stimulants, or if heart disease, stroke or coronary artery disease are in your health history.

Before you take sibutramine, speak with your physician if you are younger than 16 years of age or older than 65 or if you have:

  • History of gallstones
  • Bleeding disorder
  • Seizures
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Depression
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • High blood pressure
  • glaucoma

Talk to your physician about all other prescriptions and over the counter medicines that you use. Especially be sure to mention medicines for migraine headaches, narcotic pain medications, allergy or cold medicines or antidepressants.

Speak to your physician if you don’t lose four pounds or more after you take the medication for a month, and have used a low calorie diet at the same time.

What Should I Know Before I Take Sibutramine?

Do not take sibutramine if you have taken any MAO inhibitor in the last two weeks. This includes tranylcypromine (brand name Parnate), selegiline (brand names Eldepryl and Emsam), rasagiline (brand name Azilect), phenelzine (brand name Nardil), isocarboxazid (brand name Marplan) or furazolidone (brand name Furoxone).

Do not take sibutramine if you have allergic reactions to it. Do not use if your current health conditions include:

  • an eating disorder (bulimia or anorexia)
  • uncontrolled, severe high blood pressure
  • history of heart rhythm disorder or congestive heart failure
  • history of coronary artery disease, also known as atherosclerosis
  • history of stroke or heart attack or
  • if you take stimulant diet pills

If you do have any of the conditions listed below, you may have adjustments to your doses of sibutramine, or special tests:

  • high blood pressure
  • glaucoma
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • underactive thyroid
  • depression
  • seizure disorder or epilepsy
  • history of gallstones
  • blood clotting or bleeding disorder
  • if you are younger than 16 or older than 65

Sibutramine is in FDA category C for pregnancy. It is unknown whether this medication will harm unborn babies. Let your doctor know if you’re pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.

It is also not known whether this medicine can pass into breast milk to harm nursing babies. Do not take it without informing your physician if you are breast-feeding.

This medication should not be given to anyone 16 years of age or younger.

What are the Side Effects of Sibutramine?

Seek emergency help if you experience these allergic reaction signs: swelling of throat, tongue, lips or face, difficulty in breathing or hives.

Discontinue your use of sibutramine and inform your physician immediately if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • sudden weakness or numbness, often on one side of your body
  • problems with balance, speech or vision
  • heavy feeling or chest pain
  • pain that spreads to the shoulder or arm
  • general feeling of being ill
  • seriously high blood pressure, causing seizure, anxiety, buzzing in your ears, blurred vision or severe headache
  • bleeding that will not stop
  • easy bleeding or bruising, including bleeding gums or nosebleeds
  • rigid or stiff muscles, feeling as though you may pass out
  • confusion, sweating, high fever
  • dilated pupils, loss of coordination
  • diarrhea, vomiting, nausea
  • overactive reflexes, tremor
  • hallucinations, agitation
  • shortness of breath that is new for you, or worse than usual
  • pounding, uneven or fast heartbeats

Other side effects which are not as serious include:

  • mild skin rash
  • trouble sleeping
  • tingling feeling, redness or warm skin
  • flu symptoms, including cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • feeling depressed, dizzy or nervous
  • joint pain, back pain, headache
  • stomach pain, constipation
  • changes in your regular appetite
  • upset stomach or dry mouth

This list is not complete. You may experience others. Call your physician for advice if you experience side effects. They may be reported to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What Drugs Can Affect Sibutramine?

Before you use sibutramine, inform your physician if you normally use other medications that may cause you to become sleepy. Some of these include medicines for anxiety, depression or seizures, sleeping pills, narcotic pain medications, sedatives or medicines for allergies or colds. They may add to the sleepiness that sibutramine causes.

Speak to your physician before you take any cough medicine, decongestants or other types of diet pills.

The drugs listed below may interact with your sibutramine. Inform your physician if you use any of them:

  • Narcotic pain medications like pentazocine (brand name Talwin), meperidine (brand name Demerol) or fentanyl (brand names Onsolis, Fentora, Duragesic and Actiq).
  • Migraine medications like zolmitriptan (brand name Zomig) or sumatriptan (brand name Imitrex)
  • Ergot medication including methylergonovine (brand name Methergine), ergotamine (brand name Ergomar), ergonovine (brand name Ergotrate) or dihydroergotamine (brand names Migranal Nasal Spray and DHE 45)
  • Anti-depressants like venlafaxine (brand name Effexor), sertraline (brand name Zoloft), paroxetine(brand name Paxil), fluoxetine (brand names Symbyax, Sarafem and Prozac), duloxetine (brand name Cymbalta), desvenlafaxine (brand name Pristiq) or citalopram (brand name Celexa).
  • Antibiotics like erythromycin (brand names Erythrocin, Ery-Tab, EryPed or E.E.S.)
  • Ketoconazole (brand name Nizoral)
  • Tryptophan
  • Lithium (brand names Eskalith, Lithobid and others)

This is not a complete list. Other drugs can interact with sibutramine. Inform your physician about any medicines you use, including prescriptions, over the counter medications, herbal products and vitamins. Do not begin the use of any new medicines without informing your physician.

Should I Avoid Anything while Taking Sibutramine?

Sibutramine can impair your reactions or thinking. Be very careful if you must drive or try to do anything else that requires alertness.

Do not take other prescribed or over the counter medicines for weight loss, unless your physician approves.

Avoid taking cold, allergy or cough medicines.

Avoid any drinking of alcohol while you take sibutramine.

How Is Sibutramine Taken?

Take sibutramine exactly as your physician prescribes it. Do not take more or less, or for a longer time period than you were directed. Follow all label directions.

Sibutramine is generally taken once a day. Follow the instructions of your physician. He or she may occasionally adjust your dosage, for best results.

You may take sibutramine with food or without it.

You need to lose four pounds or more in the first month of your taking of sibutramine. A low-calorie diet is important. Let your physician know if you don’t lose four pounds or more after taking this medication for one month.

Your pulse and blood pressure will be regularly checked, during office visits.

Do not take sibutramine for more than two years.

Store this medicine at room temperature and away from heat, light and moisture.

Do not allow others to take your medication. Keep it in a place inaccessible to others.

What if I Overdose on Sibutramine?

Seek medical attention immediately or call in to the Poison Control Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Symptoms of overdose may include fast heart rate, dizziness and headache.

What if I Miss a Sibutramine Dose?

Take that missed dose when you remember it. Skip the dose if it is close to time for your next dose. Never take extra medicine to make up for missed doses.


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