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Sibutramine, formerly sold under the brand name Meridia among others, is an appetite suppressant which has been discontinued in many countries. Until 2010, it was widely marketed and prescribed as an adjunct in the treatment of obesity along with diet and exercise. It has been associated with increased cardiovascular events and strokes and has been withdrawn from the market in several countries and regions including Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, the drug remains available in some countries.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking sibutramine?
Do not use sibutramine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days. Serious, life threatening side effects can occur if you use sibutramine before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.
You should not take this medication if you are allergic to sibutramine, or if you have:
- severe or uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure);
- an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia);
- a history of coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis);
- a history of heart disease (congestive heart failure, heart rhythm disorder);
- a history of heart attack or stroke; or
- if you are taking stimulant diet pills.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests:
- high blood pressure;
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- underactive thyroid;
- epilepsy or seizure disorder;
- a bleeding or blood clotting disorder;
- a history of gallstones; or
- if you are older than 65 or younger than 16.
How should I take sibutramine?
Take exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
It is usually taken once daily. Follow your doctor’s instructions.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results.
It can be taken with or without food.
You should lose at least 4 pounds during the first 4 weeks of taking this medicine and eating a low calorie diet. Tell your doctor if you do not lose at least 4 pounds after taking the medication for 4 weeks.
Your blood pressure and pulse will need to be checked often. Visit your doctor regularly.
It should not be taken for longer than 2 years.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Do not share with another person. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.