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Sibutramine Weight Loss Drug
Meridia Weight Loss Pills Increase Serotonin Levels to Reduce Hunger
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Use of Meridia Drug to Reduce Hunger & Weight

Sibutramine Weight Loss Pills

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Sibutramine (trade name Meridia) is one of the latest generation of weight loss drugs and is designed to help people who are obese (body mass index [BMI] of 30 +) lose weight. In some circumstances, it may be prescribed for people with BMIs of 27-30 when they have other conditions (such as diabetes or sleep apnea) that are aggravated by being overweight. Like all weight loss pills, Sibutramine is designed to be used in combination with a sensible calorie-controlled weight-loss diet and a regular program of physical exercise.

How Does Sibutramine Work?

Sibutramine weight loss pills act on serotonin levels in the brain to reduce hunger and provide a feeling of fullness. Dexfenfluramine (Redux) and fenfluramine (part of fen-phen), the two medications that were taken off the market in 1997, also affected serotonin levels.

However, Sibutramine affects serotonin levels in a different way than these earlier weight loss drugs. Clinical trials of Sibutramine have not detected an increase in heart or lung problems (which were seen with dexphenfluramine and fenfluramine).

Are Sibutramine Weight Loss Pills Effective?

  • In one weight loss study, after 24 weeks, Sibutramine reduced weight by 11.6 lb (5.3 kg) compared to 1.9 lb (0.9 kg) in those taking no medication.
  • In two studies, after 12 months, Sibutramine reduced weight by 9.7 lb (4.4 kg) or 11.4 lb (5.2 kg) compared to 3.5 lb (1.6 kg) in those taking no medication.
  • In three studies, up to 25 percent of lost weight was regained within 1 to 6 weeks of stopping medication.
  • In one study, up to 80 percent of lost weight was regained within 3 months of stopping medication.
  • According to one study, obese people using Sibutramine lost about 17.2 lb (7.8 kg) in 48 weeks, compared to a loss of 8.3 lb (3.8 kg) in those not taking the medication.

Side Effects of Sibutramine Weight Loss Pills

Increased Blood Pressure
In most people, the increase is small enough not to be a cause for concern. In others, however, the increase may be large enough to reconsider use of the medication. Also, as you lose weight your blood pressure may come down.

Because sibutramine can raise blood pressure, people who take it should have regular blood pressure checks. People with uncontrolled high blood pressure should not take sibutramine. It is worth noting, however, that weight loss tends to lower blood pressure, so any increase in blood pressure caused by Sibutramine may be counter-balanced by a subsequent reduction.

Other Side Effects of Sibutramine Weight Loss Pills

  • Increased Pulse (heart rate)
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Sleep problems

Sibutramine Weight Loss Pills - Long Term Usage

Sibutramine is one of the few weight loss drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term use (12 months +). Despite this, Sibutramine's safety and effectiveness after 1 year of use are not known. It is currently under investigation in Europe for causing side effects such as high blood pressure and a rapid heart rate, and death.

Taking Sibutramine weight loss pills does not guarantee that you will lose weight. According to weight loss studies, about 10 percent of those who use Sibutramine do not lose weight while taking the medication.

If you have not lost about 4 lb (1.81 kg) within the first month of treatment, Sibutramine may not be an effective weight loss drug for you.

Sources include:

Arterburn D, Noel PH (2001). Obesity. Clinical Evidence, 6: 463–470.
Wirth A, Krause J (2001). Long-term weight loss with sibutramine. JAMA, 286(11): 1331–1339.
Lean MEJ (1997). Sibutramine: A review of clinical efficacy. International Journal of Obesity, 21: S30–S36.

 

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